Might it be that a former Amarillo mayor, Jerry Hodge, managed to exert enough pressure on the chairman of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents to surrender his chairmanship?
Hodge is angry at the Tech board over the way it handled the ouster — and let’s call it what it was — of former Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan. Frankly, I’m angry, too. So are a lot of Tech partisans throughout the state and beyond.
Hodge launched an effort to get rid of former Tech Regents Chairman Rick Francis, on whose watch the board conducted what it called an “informal vote” in executive, or secret, session. The informal vote said regents no longer had confidence in Duncan’s leadership as chancellor.
Duncan then announced his retirement … and was gone!
To their credit, regents have approved more money for an upcoming college of veterinary medicine that Tech wants to build in Amarillo.
Francis remains on the Tech board. He’s just no longer the chairman. I hope Gov. Greg Abbott chooses not to reappoint him. I believe — and this is just my view only, as someone who didn’t attend Tech, but who got to know Duncan over the years — that Francis and four of the nine regents disserved the university with their no-confidence vote.
What’s more, they well might have acted illegally. That issue needs examination, too. Regents said they had their informal vote in closed session. I’ve always understood that the Texas Open Meetings Law prohibits secret votes. Regents or any governing body aren’t allowed to vote in executive session; they’re supposed to cast those votes in the open.
I don’t know what the appropriate sanction ought to be. Perhaps a public letter of reprimand from the governor’s office might suffice.
At least the chairmanship has been handed over to someone else. If the former Amarillo mayor had a hand in that happening, then I applaud him.