|University of Texas Board of Regents|
|Years in position||6|
|Vice Chairman, Texas Board of Regents|
|Elections and appointments|
|Appointed by||Rick Perry|
|Bachelor's||University of Texas-Austin|
Hicks earned a Bachelor's degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. The Hicks family, starting with Steven's father John, has been prominent in the broadcasting industry for decades. Steven purchased his first radio station at the age of 29 and, over the course of 14 years, acquired stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and South Carolina. In 1996, he founded Capstar Broadcasting Corp., a leading consolidator of middle market radio stations across the country. In 1999, Capstar Broadcasting merged with Chancellor Media Corp., giving rise to AMFM Inc., which in turn was acquired by Clear Channel Communications in 2000 for $23 billion.
Wallace Hall impeachment
- 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. According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden. However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages. 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."
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. No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office. Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees. He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."
In July 2013, University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and 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. 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.
Francisco Cigarroa resignation
On February 10, 2014, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced he would resign from his position as Chancellor. He said he felt he had accomplished the goals he set out to do five years earlier, and was prepared to return to medical practice full-time. "Education saves lives on many levels and I thought I could bring value to the UT system with that perspective in mind. Now it’s time to return to saving one life at a time," he said. Cigarroa said his resignation had nothing to do with the turmoil and investigations within the University of Texas system. Cigarroa will continue to serve as chancellor until a replacement is found. Cigarroa's new position will be as head of pediatric surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Relationship between Cigarroa and Powers
The Dallas Morning News obtained an email in March 2013 related to Cigarroa's resignation. According to the newspaper, Wallace Hall sent a number of emails to Cigarroa in the weeks before his resignation. The email the newspaper obtained via open records request was sent from Regent chair Paul Foster to Cigarroa. In the email, Foster defended Cigarroa for his work while also praising Hall for his "tenacity as a regent and recommendations to better the university." Foster then implied that Hall had pressured Cigarroa to act, which Foster said he did not agree with. State representative Lyle Larson (R) renewed his call for Hall to resign and Trey Martinez Fischer (D) requested that the committee re-open investigations. Committee co-chair Dan Flynn (R) said no further hearings were planned at the time.
An April 22, 2014 article in the Austin American-Statesman detailed an email exchange between Hall and Foster, in which Hall alleged that University of Texas President Bill Powers threatened Cigarroa prior to his resignation. The three-page email was written on March 19, 2014 as a response to the prior email that Foster sent. In the email, Hall makes an array of accusations regarding the impeachment trial and events within the university system.
- Cigarroa first expressed concern to the Board of Regents about an "inability to work with President Powers" in 2010, which was one year prior to Hall's appointment.
- According to Hall, Cigarroa asked President Powers to resign in Fall 2013. Powers then reportedly offered a range of requirements to retire, which Hall said were "understandably" refused by Chairman Foster.
- Hall alleged that Powers "leveled a threat against the Chancellor," which compromised his ability to work. This threat was reportedly made in front of Pedro Reyes, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas System.
- Regent Hicks reportedly requested an "up or down vote" on Powers. Hall wrote that Foster has not allowed this vote to occur.
Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan pointed to the email as indication of a cover-up at the university, intended to deter an investigation into alleged clout scandals within the higher education system. Quinn Sullivan wrote:"it appears some legislators have been conspiring with UT Austin officials to get unqualified students admission to the state’s flagship university." A spokesman for Powers did not comment on the email.
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. 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.
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. Hall was present at the meeting but did not comment to media.
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.
Hicks serves on the following Board standing committees:
- Academic Affairs
- Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee
- Technology Transfer and Research Committee
Hicks is married to his wife, Donna. Hicks has three children, two stepchildren and 13 grandchildren.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Steven + Hicks + Texas"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- University of Texas System, "Steven Hicks Biography," accessed October 31, 2013
- Texas State Historical Association, "Hicks Family," accessed December 11, 2013
- Capstar Partners, "R. Steven Hicks," accessed December 11, 2013
- The University of Texas Investment Management Company, "Board of Directors," accessed December 11, 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
- Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
- Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
- News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "UT System Pushes Back Against Criticism of Regent Hall," July 16, 2013
- University of Texas System, "Letter from Eugene Powell to Jim Pitts," July 15, 2013
- American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
- Texas Tribune, "Second UT Regent Enters Fray Against Hall," June 11, 2013
- KXAN, "UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa resigning," February 10, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa: Political Upheaval Did Not Prompt Resignation," February 10, 2014
- Idaho Statesman, "UT chancellor Cigarroa says he'll resign" February 10, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "UT chancellor Cigarroa to resign, return to medical practice," February 10, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "UT regent’s email hints chancellor was under attack before resignation," March 13, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "Two Lawmakers Renew Calls for Action Against Hall," March 14, 2014
- Austin American-Statesman, "UT regent’s email points to deepening rancor on board," April 22, 2014
- Empower Texans, "Email from Wallace Hall to Paul Foster," March 19, 2014
- Empower Texans, "UT Cover-Up?" April 23, 2014
- Austin American-Statesman, "Chairman of UT board of regents calls for resignation of Wallace Hall," May 15, 2014
- Houston Chronicle, "Board chairman asks embattled UT regent to resign," May 15, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "UT Board Chairman Calls for Regent Hall to Resign," May 15, 2014
- The Alcalde, "Regents Chairman Calls on Wallace Hall to Resign," May 15, 2014
- KXAN, "Texas Regent Hall defies call for him to resign," May 19, 2014
- Houston Chronicle, "Wallace Hall to UT Chairman Foster: I won’t resign," May 19, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "Texas Admissions Rumble," February 12, 2015
- University of Texas System, "Board Committees," accessed October 31, 2013