Regents Endorse Review of Records Compliance

Regents have ordered a review of UT’s compliance with the Texas Public Information Act as a records controversy continues to make headlines.

Regents Endorse Review of Records Compliance

Update: 5:10 p.m.: State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) is asking the UT System comply with records requests his office made in March and May this year, according to a letter obtained by the Houston Chronicle Tuesday.

Martinez Fischer serves on the Texas House committee investigating Regent Hall, whose multiple records requests of UT-Austin have been the source of tension between regents and the University, as well as legislators like Martinez Fischer.

Original: How sensitive records are handled continues to be a hot topic for the University of Texas System, and its governing board isn’t backing away from it. Wednesday morning, the first day of their two-day meeting, the UT System Board of Regents ordered a review of UT-Austin’s compliance with the Texas Public Information Act, along with other System institutions.

Recommended by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, the review includes procedures for processing, handling, and maintaining public information requests. It also addresses personnel requirements, and whether samples previously given to the state Attorney General’s office for review (which are done regularly when there’s a question as to what needs to be disclosed or withheld) are a fair representation of the records requested.

Vice Chairman Paul Foster, who may become the board’s next chairman, recommended that regents, along with System officials, be trained on proper compliance practices. Cigarroa agreed to carry out the training once the review is complete.

Records requests, counter-records requests, and questions about how best to fulfill records requests have dominated the ongoing tensions between the UT System Board of Regents and UT-Austin administrators, to say nothing of the legislators now investigating the validity of Regent Wallace Hall’s repeated investigations of the System flagship.

Earlier this month, at the instruction of the committee investigating Hall, Kevin Hegarty, the chief financial officer and custodian of records for UT-Austin, notified the System that Hall’s pending records requests would not be completed, essentially canceling the regent’s request.

Hall has since defended his requests for data, which by some estimates stretch into the hundreds of thousands of documents. Through letters from his lawyers to the Texas House committee investigating his role, Hall claims that his combing through records is in order to uncover influence-peddling in admissions by state legislators, favoritism in faculty pay, and inflation of fundraising statistics.

The compliance review will be completed by October 31. The next scheduled regents’ meeting is November 14-15.

Photo courtesy Matt Valentine.


Tags: , , , ,


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment