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Robert Stillwell

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Robert Stillwell
Robert Stillwell.jpg
University of Texas Board of Regents
In office
February 2009-Present
Term ends
February 2015
Years in position 6
Elections and appointments
AppointedFebruary 2009
Appointed byRick Perry
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Texas-Austin
J.D.University of Texas-Austin
Office website
Robert Stillwell is a member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents. Stillwell was appointed to a six-year term in February 2009 by Rick Perry (R).[1]

Wallace Hall impeachment

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University of Texas Investigations

Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
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.[2] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[3] According to some opponents, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[4][5] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[6][7] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[8]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment on the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[9][10] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[11] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[12] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[13]

In July 2013, University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Regent Eugene Powell responded to the ongoing investigation and negative remarks against Hall from some elected officials and University of Texas staff. Cigarroa said Hall was not allowed to access anything that was not reviewed by University lawyers to ensure they met federal privacy standards. In a July 15, 2013 letter to state representative Jim Pitts, Powell wrote: "Regent Hall's efforts extend to bringing the U.T. System into a competitive position nationally; especially related to offering blended and online learning opportunities to U.T. students. I would point out Regent Hall's excellent service to the Board in terms of time and energy. I appreciate his Board service and his dedication and hard work designed to fulfill his fiduciary obligations.[14][15] He added: "I am aware of no instance of Regent Hall inappropriately sharing information that is confidential by law with others outside U.T. System and encourage you to identify any specific concerns you have in this area," Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program, admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[16]

Regents Steven Hicks and Stillwell sent letters in June 2013 to chair Eugene Powell, asking that he put an end to Hall's requests.[17]

In late March 2014, more than 2,000 email documents were released by the University of Texas to news outlets. In correspondence included among these documents, Stillwell contacted Cigarroa and Foster to object to Hall's request that all regents' statements to the Attorney General be delivered to him. Stillwell maintained that these statements were confidential. "We have gotten in the bad habit of reacting instantly to every frequent demand by Mr. Hall, with little or no analysis or discussion by the Board. That needs to be examined," Stillwell wrote.[18]

Call for Hall to resign

At a May 15, 2014 Board of Regents meeting, Board Chair Paul Foster said he believed Hall should resign from his position as Regent. "I implore you to deal with the results of the actions that now have the potential for significant consequence for the UT system," Foster said.[19] Regents Alex Cranberg and Eugene Powell defended Hall's actions while Jeffery Hildebrand, Robert Stillwell and Steven Hicks supported Foster in his call for resignation. No formal vote on Hall was taken by the board.[20]

Foster implied that Hall's resignation would be the best course of action in order to end the distraction that was caused by the impeachment trial.[21] Hall was present at the meeting but did not comment to media.[22]

Hall's attorney Allan Van Fleet sent a letter to Foster indicating that Hall would not resign.[23][24]

Kroll Associates report

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.[25]

Regents committees

Stillwell serves on the following Board standing committees:[26]

  • Academic Affairs
  • Audit, Compliance, and Management Review
  • Facilities Planning and Construction
  • Health Affairs

See also

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External links


  1. University of Texas System, "Robert Stillwell Biography," accessed October 31, 2013
  2. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  3. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  4. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  5. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  6. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  7. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  8. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  9. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  10. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  11. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  12. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  13. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  14. Texas Tribune, "UT System Pushes Back Against Criticism of Regent Hall," July 16, 2013
  15. University of Texas System, "Letter from Eugene Powell to Jim Pitts," July 15, 2013
  16. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  17. Texas Tribune, "Second UT Regent Enters Fray Against Hall," June 11, 2013
  18. The Texas Tribune, "As UT Inquiries Mount, So Have Frustrations," March 26, 2014
  19. Austin American-Statesman, "Chairman of UT board of regents calls for resignation of Wallace Hall," May 15, 2014
  20. Houston Chronicle, "Board chairman asks embattled UT regent to resign," May 15, 2014
  21. Texas Tribune, "UT Board Chairman Calls for Regent Hall to Resign," May 15, 2014
  22. The Alcalde, "Regents Chairman Calls on Wallace Hall to Resign," May 15, 2014
  23. KXAN, "Texas Regent Hall defies call for him to resign," May 19, 2014
  24. Houston Chronicle, "Wallace Hall to UT Chairman Foster: I won’t resign," May 19, 2014
  25. Wall Street Journal, "Texas Admissions Rumble," February 12, 2015
  26. University of Texas System, "Board Committees," accessed October 31, 2013