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Thursday, May 14, 2009

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UT System Regents Adopt Resolution Regarding Legislative Matters

AUSTIN – A resolution regarding policy matters and legislation pending before the 81st Regular Session of the Texas Legislature was unanimously adopted today (May 14) by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The resolution states the Board’s positions on the Top 10 Percent automatic admissions law; authority of university governing boards to set tuition; the creation of more national research universities in the state; and state appropriations for the 2010-2011 biennium, including funding for The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

The action comes with fewer than three weeks remaining in the current legislative session. The adopted resolution reads as follows: (click here for a PDF of the resolution)

Whereas, the Regular Session of the 81st Texas Legislature is entering its last three weeks, with several issues before it of great significance to higher education in the State of Texas and more specifically to The University of Texas System, its institutions and institutional administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni; 

Whereas, The University of Texas System greatly values the work of the members of the Texas Legislature and the opportunity accorded by legislators to the UT System to provide information and engage in dialogue on issues of importance to higher education and the UT System; and 

Whereas, the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, as the duly appointed individuals responsible for oversight of the UT System, wishes to express its views on certain of these issues.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, That

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System encourages the Texas Legislature to appropriate adequate funding for UT System academic and health institutions through the instruction and operations, infrastructure, research and mission-specific formulas, as well as the formula for graduate medical education, along with funding for specific UT System institutions through such mechanisms as the Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund and for specific areas such as nursing and the Joint Admissions Medical Program;

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System gratefully accepted the authority vested in it by the Texas Legislature in 2003 to set the rates of designated tuition for students, which flexibility has allowed innovations designed to encourage students to graduate in a more timely manner, such as flat rate tuition, fixed tuition for four years, tuition rebates for timely graduation, and tuition discounts for classes taken at off-peak hours, and which has been judiciously exercised by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, and encourages the Legislature to allow boards of regents to retain this authority, with the commitment of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System to continue to ensure that student tuition and state appropriations are spent wisely and effectively;

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System continues to encourage modification of the State’s Top 10% automatic admissions law to cap the percentage of the entering freshman class of each institution that must be admitted under that law and to allow the balance of the freshman class at each institution to be selected in a holistic manner, taking into account to the fullest extent allowed under the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger the factors of race and ethnicity, as is permitted by UT System institutions under the policy previously adopted by the Board of Regents for The University of Texas System, noting that the Board has repeatedly stated its commitment to establishing diversity; 

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System applauds the work done by the Texas Legislature to date to advance the creation from among the State’s seven emerging research universities, which include The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas at El Paso and The University of Texas at San Antonio, of one or more national research universities through State assistance in the form of matching funds for philanthropy and research and a fund to sustain these new national research universities as they meet certain criteria established by the Legislature, and encourages the Texas Legislature to complete these efforts by adopting legislation that provides for both the short-term matching funding and long-term sustaining fund and by appropriating money for the short-term matching funding, while continuing to provide the funding needed for continued development of our State’s two public flagship national research universities at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University at College Station; and 

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System reiterates its views on the critical need for State assistance for the reconstruction of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, for recovery of the losses suffered by UTMB in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, and for additional support from the State for the ongoing operations of the John Sealy Hospital and the uncompensated and trauma care provided by UTMB, consistent with the conditions outlined in the resolution of the Board of Regents for The University of Texas System adopted on March 10, 2009.

Background Materials

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