Meetings of the University of Texas System’s Board of Regents tend to be highly scripted, with the nine regents and the 15 campus presidents showing much deference to each other. Differences are usually resolved through informal, private conversations.
It didn’t go that way for Bill Powers, president of the Austin flagship, during Wednesday’s meeting of the board’s academic committee in downtown Austin. Three regents asked him pointed questions about fundraising operations, the size of the student body and other matters.
It was the latest flash point in what seems to be an increasingly tense relationship between Powers and a few members of the governing board.
Regent Wallace Hall insisted on questioning Powers even though Regent Steve Hicks, chairman of the academic committee, had said he wanted to move on to another agenda item. Among other things, Hall wanted to know why Powers hadn’t hired a vice president for development, or fundraising, after the board instructed him to do so.