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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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UTB/TSC Educational Partnership Agreement

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents issued the following statement today (Nov. 10) concerning its decision to terminate the partnership agreement with the Board of Trustees of the Texas Southmost College District. The 20-year-old agreement governs the management and operation of the partnership between The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and Texas Southmost College (TSC).

Statement:

The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted today (Nov. 10) to terminate the current Educational Partnership Agreement between the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees of the Texas Southmost College (TSC) District.

While we were hoping to forge a new relationship that would propel the UT System and TSC into the future as partners, we have come to the conclusion that the current working situation is untenable, and therefore, the UT System will concentrate on advancing higher education in South Texas and at The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) without a partnership with TSC. The students, faculty, and staff of UTB and its exceptional president, Juliet Garcia, have our full support as we reiterate our unwavering commitment to the mission of our four-year university. We are prepared to bring the best to UTB alone.

Since inception of the partnership, both UTB and TSC have experienced significant increases in student enrollment, course offerings, degrees offered, real property, and budget including sponsored research grants. The partnership has evolved and over the past two decades has increased in complexity exceeding the scope of the 1991 partnership agreement. It is now outdated.

For the last eighteen months, officials from the UT System have worked productively and collegially with representatives of the TSC Board to create a new relationship, building upon the strengths of the UTB/TSC partnership and addressing the complexities of a rapidly growing university. The trustees of the TSC Board acknowledge through their resolutions that the current agreement is outdated, but they have not offered any counterproposal.

We will not put our standards of excellence in higher education on hold. UT Brownsville’s leadership team needs the opportunity now to redirect its time and energies to the future aspirations of the university. We cannot live under the status quo of an outdated agreement at the expense of putting UTB’s principles of accountability and transparency at risk.

This action by the UT System Board of Regents should give UTB students and faculty great confidence in the future of the university. Their educational experiences will not change. Classes and university operations will continue.

Over the next four years as we engage in a phased-in approach to sunsetting the current agreement, we will work with the TSC board to address the separation aspects of the agreement. We will also look forward to communicating with the Brownsville community and other important stakeholders regarding our plans to enhance UTB’s important educational goals and support its unique mission.

The University of Texas at Brownsville will continue on an upward trajectory toward excellence. We will look at the past with pride and accomplishment, and we will look to the future as the TSC Board of Trustees and the UT System Board of Regents work to advance our respective institutional missions. We will always be grateful to the citizens of Brownsville for all they have done to support the UTB/TSC partnership over the years.

About the University of Texas System

The University of Texas System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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