Minutes after University of Texas System regents rejected a proposed tuition increase at the Austin flagship last week, UT President Bill Powers criticized the vote. And soon after that, he expressed his disappointment with the regents' action on his blog, Tower Talk.
Is Powers on thin ice with his bosses? Some of his supporters think so, and they have rallied behind him by the thousands on Facebook and other social media.
The show of support by students, alumni and others followed a blog post Wednesday evening by Paul Burka, senior executive editor of Texas Monthly, who reported that an anonymous source told him Powers might be in danger of losing his job for opposing the freeze on in-state tuition for undergraduates. Gov. Rick Perry had urged public university governing boards, all of whose members he appointed, to hold the line on tuition.
Burka wrote that it was his understanding from the source that Gene Powell, chairman of the UT regents, had asked Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to recommend that Powers be fired and that Cigarroa had refused.