Texas Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, is on point with his call to Gov. Rick Perry.
The governor needs to use the bully pulpit of his office to calm the rising tensions between the Legislature and the University of Texas System, according to Seliger.
“When things turn out to be bad for an institution or bad for the state, the person who can resolve this quickest is the governor,” Seliger told the Texas Tribune on Monday. “He ought to do what’s best for the state of Texas. Turmoil in an institution for no good reason is something we certainly ought to be wary of. It’s not productive.”
And the UT System isn’t just any old government “institution.” It is a top-tier university system that carries the state’s name in its title.
The dispute involves the UT regents’ relationship with Bill Powers, president of the UT-Austin campus and legislators’ desire to examine emails and other correspondence generated by the university. The regents are trying to keep some of that information from public view.
Perry to date has been relatively quiet, which is odd given the governor’s occasional fits of loquaciousness. Indeed, Perry has a big stake in this fight, given that he has appointed so many of the regents to their position. Thus, his own reputation is on the line if regents cannot settle this matter.