FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2012
AUSTIN — Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) today called on the University of Texas System Board of Regents to reject secret government at the University of Texas at Austin and called on the board to adopt a new regents rule to require open meetings on tuition at all University of Texas System Campuses.
“During the tuition deregulation debate in 2003, University of Texas administrators promised to consult widely with students, but most of that so-called consultation is merely an orchestrated charade designed to encourage gullible student government officials to back huge spending and tuition increases,” said Tony McDonald, YCT Senior Vice Chairman. “UT–Austin administrators are holding closed tuition advisory committee meetings because they want to shield student government leaders from accountability when they carry water for administrators, rather than work for the students they are pledged to represent.”
The Daily Texan has repeatedly sought access to closed Tuition Policy Advisory Committee meetings, where administrators and students make recommendations on the tax dollars in the university budget and future tuition
increases. These requests have been denied by UT-Austin Provost Steven Leslie and Vice President Kevin Hegarty.
During the 2011 Legislative session, YCT worked with Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and passed an amendment that required student fee advisory committee meetings be public. But UT is evading the Hughes amendment by stating that the advisory committee discusses tuition rather than fees.
“The Texas Legislature shouldn’t have to tell a state agency to do the public’s business in public,” said YCT State Chairman Jeff Morris. “And it’s absolutely outrageous that UT administrators are using legal loopholes and trickery to hold closed meetings. We call on all regents to put a stop to this misbehavior immediately and make UT-Austin administrators honor both the spirit and letter of the Hughes amendment.”
YCT sent a letter to University of Texas Regents Chairman Gene Powell proposing a new regents rule that would require that all tuition advisory committees at UT–System schools obey the Hughes amendment and hold their meetings in public. YCT will also be raising this issue with the relevant legislative committees.
YCT also called on the UT Regents to reject any recommendation that resulted from closed meetings and require that the process start over. This is the usual remedy prescribed in Texas law for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.
“The tuition advisory process has been tainted by secrecy,” said YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Jenna White. “The regents need to make UT start over, and this time, hold the meetings in public.”
Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) has been promoting conservatism at universities across the Lone Star State for over three decades. The state’s most active political youth organization, YCT is composed of hundreds of members and alumni who participate in the full spectrum of politics. YCT issues the most respected ratings of the Texas legislature and is the only conservative group to have done so without interruption over the past 19 legislative sessions. To learn more about YCT, their ratings, or for information on joining, please visit www.YCT.org.