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Statement from Chairman Foster on AG’s Law School Foundation report
The Board of Regents appreciates the hard work and attention of the Office of the Attorney General in its review of the issues related to the relationship between the UT Austin Law School and the Law School Foundation. The report identifies areas for improvement related to transparency, alignment of university and foundation missions, and compliance with records production. The problems highlighted in the Attorney General’s report have been or will be addressed.
The Law School Foundation stopped issuing “forgivable loans” in 2010. All compensation for Law School faculty is now determined and funded by UT Austin with the involvement of the Office of the Provost. The Law School Foundation continues to provide generous and much appreciated support for the benefit of students, faculty and staff at the Law School.
Ongoing efforts to ensure strict compliance with laws and policies governing public information will be enhanced to include additional education for all university employees about the retention and production of state records. If any individuals are found to have violated records laws or policies, they may be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Work to strengthen the alignment between all UT System universities and university-affiliated foundations has also been ongoing for several years. In 2013, an advisory task force composed of regents, UT presidents, and UT System officers, with input from the Attorney General’s office and national philanthropic experts, issued a report on Best Practices Regarding University-Affiliated Foundation Relationships to the Board of Regents. The report made recommendations to ensure that relationships between The University of Texas System, UT institutions and their respective affiliated foundations are appropriately structured and have the potential to serve as national models for best management, compliance and oversight practices.
The UT System recognizes and greatly respects the vital contributions made by more than 20 existing UT-affiliated foundations, which work to advance the missions of our universities. We support and appreciate their critical roles. Clearly, mistakes were made, but we have aggressively moved to rectify those past errors and are working with the Law School Foundation as well as the other university-affiliated foundations to ensure we maintain the public’s trust by conducting all operations consistent with the highest levels of transparency, management, compliance, and oversight practices.