Board to decide UT president’s fate Thursday

Part 22 of 22 in the series Trouble in Texas

POWERS-LESS: University of Texas President Bill Powers faces dismissal Thursday.

By Jon Cassidy |

It’s official.

The firing of University of Texas President Bill Powers is on the just-posted agenda for the Board of Regents meeting, to be held Thursday.

The decision follows three major reports on corruption in UT admissions decisions — two by and one by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s office — as well as some “additional information” on the subject Cigarroa has received.

Wednesday, Cigarroa and Vice Chancellor Pedro Reyes met with Powers and gave him an ultimatum: submit your resignation by the end of the week or face termination at the next week’s board meeting.

Cigarroa tired of Powers’ “abusive” and “dismissive” act years ago. In February 2010, he thought the relationship was “unsustainable,” and by August 2013 he asked for Powers’ resignation. In December 2013 he was again ready to push Powers out, but he relented. One reason is that there weren’t five votes on the nine-member board in favor of termination, but it was a close enough call to merit an all-day discussion in executive session.

In May, the chancellor’s office released a preliminary report on admissions favoritism, which was initially ignored by major media outlets, despite its compelling evidence of widespread favoritism. That week and the following week, published reports showing children of lawmakers, lobbyists, donors and other well-connected people were getting into UT’s law school despite abysmal academic performance reflected in low scores on the Law School Admissions Test and repeated failure of the bar exam.

The board will also discuss the hundreds of thousands of dollars the university spends annually on giving away football tickets to legislators and donors, an issue reported on last October.

Contact Jon Cassidy at or @jpcassidy000.