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|University of Texas, Austin|
|Former General Counsel|
University of Texas investigations
Forgivable loans program
On December 8, 2011, University of Texas, Austin Law School Dean Larry Sager resigned from his position. Bill Powers, University of Texas, Austin, President, demanded Sager's resignation regarding a forgivable loan scandal. The primary issue was the law school's salary stipends and "forgivable loans" that were meant as incentives to recruit and keep faculty. "The fact of the matter is, and there's no two ways about this fact, that I resigned now because I was asked to by the president of the university," Sager said.
A total of 22 professors, including Sager, received six-figure forgivable loans or other payments. At the time of Sager's resignation, 19 members of the law school faculty were paid more than $300,000 per year. From 2006-2011, the University of Texas Law School Foundation -- an entity that is legally separate from the law school -- gave out more than $4.6 million in forgivable loans. Sager himself received a $500,000 loan from the foundation.
Burgdorf issued a report in November 2012 after investigating the forgivable loans program. In that report, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall called the report "insufficient" and said that it did not provide the full story. In a July 2013 letter to State Representative Jim Pitts, University of Texas Regent Eugene Powell detailed a previously unrevealed letter regarding the forgivable loans program that was not included in Burgdorf's report. The letter, which was addressed to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, was written by several female faculty members of the law school requesting an investigation into "two hidden salary systems that our dean has used during the last five years to hide salary raises and to discriminate against women and minorities in our institution." The letter was reportedly forwarded to Burgdorf.
- See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial
After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program, admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals. Hall, as an individual citizen, filed FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed. Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden. Hall has been accused of overstepping his authority in making demands on the University of Texas, Austin staff. Specifically, the allegations surround possible mishandling of private student information and providing inadequate information on his application to be a regent.
In February 2015, an independent report by Kroll Associates, commissioned by the Regents Board, confirmed a "pattern of special treatment for well-connected applicants to UT." While the report did not show evidence of any quid pro quo, it did show that "extra acceptances were extended every year to accommodate special cases" and that the "President’s Office ordered applicants admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office." It added that "efforts were made to minimize paper trails and written lists" during the process." The Wall Street Journal wrote that the report should "should put an end" to the concerns over Hall's clout investigations.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Barry + Burgdorf + Texas"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Texas Tribune, "UT System General Counsel Resigns," March 7, 2013
- Austin American Statesman, "Pay soaring for some UT System executives, records show," September 20, 2012
- New York Times, "University of Texas President Ends Tough Year With Yet Another Battle," December 15, 2011
- Texas Tribune, "UT President Asks Law School Dean to Resign Immediately," December 8, 2011
- National Jurist, "UTexas dean resignation raises questions about compensation practices," December 19, 2011
- Austin American Statesman, "UT law dean forced to step down," December 8, 2011
- Texas Tribune, "UT Law's Forgivable Loans to Faculty "Not Appropriate,"" November 13, 2012
- Texas Monthly, "Gene Powell’s Letter to Jim Pitts," July 16, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Wallace Hall: The TT Interview," June 25, 2013
- American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
- Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
- Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
- Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Pitts: Enough Evidence to Impeach UT Regent Hall," October 22, 2013
- Houston Chronicle, "Messing with (University of) Texas can get you impeached," October 27, 2013
- Sun Herald, "Former UT System lawyer says job fears 'epidemic'," October 23, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Burgdorf: UT Regents' "Clear Intent" Was to Oust Powers," October 23, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, "Texas Admissions Rumble," February 12, 2015