You may have heard the name, but who is Wallace Hall, and how can his situation influence the future of Mack Brown? Here is his bio from the UT website, follwed by an article by Richard Whittaker of the Austin Chronicle to bring you up to speed on his current situation:
WALLACE L. HALL, JR., Dallas, Texas, was appointed to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Governor Rick Perry in February 2011. He previously served as a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on the Committee for Strategic Planning and Policy and as Chair of the Committee on Agency Operations. He resigned his position to accept appointment to the Board of Regents where he has served as Chairman of the Task Force on Blended and Online Learning, and was a member of the Advisory Task Force on Best Practices Regarding University-Affiliated Foundation Relationships. He is now Chairman of the Technology Transfer and Research Committee, and is a member of the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee and the Finance and Planning Committee. He is the Board’s Liaison to the Governor’s Office on Technology Transfer and Commercialization Issues.
Regent Hall is founder and President of Wetland Partners, LP, which established and operates the Trinity River Mitigation Bank, a wetlands bank created for the purpose of mitigating USACE approved environmental impacts to the aquatic system per the Clean Water Act. He is a current member of the National Mitigation Banking Association. Previous business endeavors include oil and gas investments and a 15-year career in the financial services industry acting in various capacities: securities analyst, financial futures trader, and as financial principal of a NASD broker dealer. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree. Additionally, Regent Hall currently serves on the Board of Trustees at St. Mark’s School of Texas, is former President of St. Mark’s School of Texas Alumni Association and is a recipient of the St. Mark’s Alumni Service Medal. He is also a current member of the Texas Business Leadership Council.
And now the article:
When in doubt, blame the refs: The impeachment battle against UT Regent Wallace Hall blazed this week as Hall’s attorney claimed impropriety by the legislators investigating his client.
The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations is examining allegations that Hall abused his office to mount a witch hunt against UT President Bill Powers. Hall runs the risk of being the first ever regent of a Texas university to undergo impeachment proceedings, and the first office holder impeached since Judge O.P. Carillo in 1975. Realizing these stakes, on Aug. 15 Hall’s attorney Stephen Ryan sent a letter to committee co-chairs Dan Flynn, R-Van, and Carol Alvarado, D-Houston. If Hall has committed any wrongdoing, Ryan wrote, it is in being “too diligent” in examining UT operations. All Hall was trying to do, he wrote, was be a financial guardian of the university. Ryan cited such issues as the 2012 resignation of Law School Dean Larry Sager over a $500,000 loan from the UT Law School Foundation, and alleged other anonymous complaints over the mishandling of the fund. Not coincidentally, Powers himself is a former dean of the UT law school.
In a far bolder move, Ryan flung dirt at both legislators and UT staff. First, he claimed two instances of lawmakers – a state rep and a senator, neither named – using their influence to get students accepted. He then claimed that UT staff had slow-walked information requests from the Board of Regents. In fact, UT has rejected several recent open records requests from Hall, and lawmakers are examining whether Hall used his office to launch wasteful fishing expeditions, trying to dredge up dirt on Powers. Ryan also requested that Hall be allowed to subpoena witnesses before the committee – a request bluntly dispatched by Flynn, who said, “We’re doing the investigating, not someone else.”
There’s clearly a proxy fight going on here involving Hall’s political sponsor, Gov. Rick Perry, who has long been criticized for treating Texas universities like his own private fiefdom. It’s been rumored that little happens at his alma mater, Texas A&M, without his say-so. Back in 2010, lawmakers and educators were shocked when he appointed outgoing Republican State Rep. Brian McCall as chancellor of Texas State, rather than the obvious choice of then-Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio (see “Wentworth Doesn’t Trust TSU Regents,” June 9, 2010.) While it’s Hall that lawmakers are investigating for harassing Powers, it’s no secret that Perry would not have lost much sleep if the UT president had been pushed out. Nor is it any surprise that one of Hall’s loudest defenders so far has been Jeff Sandefer – a major Perry donor and advisor on higher education.
So now you know the situation, you’ll remember Hall was the regent who led the contact with Nick Saban’s agent which was previously reported. You know Bill Powers is the key cog in the system of enablers keeping Mack Brown in his job, and many of you want that system to crumble.
So the question you’ve got to ask yourself…. Do you hope Hall stays around?