Transparency Committee Proceeding With Probe of Hall

By Evan Smith
Published July 27, 2013

The co-chairs of the Texas House’s Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations have formally asked the University of Texas System to preserve all documents related to Regent Wallace Hall, against whom articles of impeachment are being considered, and to avoid retaliation against employees who may be called to testify.

In a letter sent Thursday to Gene Powell, the chairman of the UT Board of Regents, and obtained Saturday by The Texas Tribune, state Reps. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, and Dan Flynn, R-Van, request “that any and all documents relating to Regent Hall, his application to be a regent and supporting documentation, his investigation of the University of Texas Law School Foundation, his open records requests of University of Texas Austin, and any other relevant documents, including electronic and personal correspondence, be preserved until the completion of the Legislature’s duties relating to this investigation.”

The letter also notifies Powell that because the committee plans to take testimony from individuals who work for the UT System or the University of Texas at Austin, no “adverse employee action” should be taken “against any proposed witness for the duration of the investigation absent compelling justification.”

The individuals cited as potential witnesses are Bill Powers, the embattled president of UT-Austin; Lawrence Sager, the former dean of the University of Texas Law School, and his successsor, Ward Farnsworth; Kedra Ishop, UT-Austin’s director of admissions; Samuel Riley, UT Law’s director for admission programs, and Rebecca Peppas, the law school’s admissions coordinator; John Massey of the UT Law Foundation; Barry Burgdorf, the former general counsel of the UT System; Francie Frederick, general counsel to the UT Board of Regents; and Randa Safady, the system’s vice chancellor for external relations.