William Cunningham

Photo Credit: Crystal Marie Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

With UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa having turned in his resignation in February, the UT Board of Regents has begun its search for the next Chancellor of the UT system. Like many executive level administrative positions at universities, the qualifications for the position are somewhat ambiguous, with the only clear continuities between past chancellors at UT being their maleness, their business prudence and their masochistic desire to work in close proximity with the regents. 

One large responsibility of the chancellor is to outline a strategic vision for the system in the form of an “action plan.” Chancellor Cigarroa’s was entitled “Framework for Advancing Excellence” — following the common naming principle of picking a present participle and adjective out of a cowboy hat. The plan generally involves some nods to ensuring accessibility and maintaining rigor with a main focus on strategies to make the University more “efficient” and “productive.”

As part of his effort to increase four-year graduation rates, Cigarroa also oversaw the $10 million investment in MyEdu — a company with close ties to former System Chancellor William Cunningham — that students have hailed as a less complete, less useful version of Rate My Professor. 

To help appoint the new chancellor, the regents have contracted Wheless Partners, a consulting firm that locates and recommends individuals for leadership positions, to help with the selection. The regents have also invited students, faculty and staff to make nominations via an anonymous and private suggestion box provided to the public on the Regent’s website.

I, for one, have taken it upon myself to mull over potential candidates and to ultimately make my official recommendation to the regents by entering my candidate’s name into the inviting white abyss that is the aforementioned suggestion box. 

That candidate? Beyonce.

A native Texan and mother of aspiring Longhorn Blue Ivy Carter, Beyonce has what it takes to meet the challenges UT faces today. Voted No. 17 on Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world and sitting atop a net worth of over $350 million, it is clear that Beyonce has the political clout and business knowledge required to lead UT. She is so important to the Ivory Tower that Rutgers University offered up a course dedicated to the study of her and her work alone. Not only would Beyonce be an adequate prop in promoting the system’s core purposes of printing degrees and researching military weaponry in the legacy of her predecessor, but she would succeed in the places he fell short. 

During his tenure as chancellor, Cigarroa identified a major problem area for the UT system: Students just won’t leave, keeping the system’s four-year graduation rates alarmingly low. After all, it is widely recognized that four years is precisely the amount of time it takes for an undergraduate’s head to be filled with knowledge and that an additional period of sustained binge drinking beyond this time frame will cause irreparable damage to the central nervous system. But Beyonce would be able to fix this difficult problem through the power of song. 

First lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity, for example, has had success by remixing Beyonces “Get Me Bodied” and releasing it in 2011 under the new name “Move Your Body.” Some people, like myself, have suggested that it was the catalyst behind the 43 percent reduction in childhood obesity for kids aged 2-5. Wouldn’t Beyonce be able to apply the power of her voice to the problems facing the UT System today? 

Her 2007 hit single “Check On It” could easily be reworked as “Degree Progress, Check On It” — a college anthem with a sexy beat that would both remind us to keep on track with our required coursework and distract us from the regret we feel each time we run a degree audit for taking all of those enriching electives as underclassmen.

Cigarroa wanted to increase blended and online classes? Beyonce could sell these options to students with ease — just change “Independent Women” to “Independent Learning.” Double majors clogging up the System? “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” becomes “Single Major (Put a Cap on it).” Really, the possibilities of reworking Beyonce songs to motivate students are endless. Change “Bootylicious” to “UTlicious,” and no one will ever want to be an Aggie again. 

The handful of students that continue to act up and resist efforts to perfect the corporate university will ultimately be made quiet with the adaptation of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” to “Run the World (Administration).” 

And in the end, given that the UT Board of Regents seems to prioritize just about anything else over allowing students to enjoy a rich and diverse education, will Beyonce’s deficit of academic credentials be any worse than the likely lack of love for education in the chosen candidate? And wouldn’t her power as a marketing tool for just about anything, including the corporatization of education, be a benefit? With that in mind, I ask you to join me in making the UT System the coolest, most capitalist system around. #Beyonceforchancellor.

Griswold is a government senior from Indianapolis.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

Over a dinner at a loud, high-end seafood restaurant in chilly February, Roderick Hart, dean of the College of Communication, found himself in a conversation he didn’t expect to have that night.

Hart was speaking to Moody Foundation trustee Ross Moody about the college’s goals. Naming the college after a donor was the “big enchilada,” Hart said, which prompted Moody to ask how much it would cost to name UT’s College of Communication after his foundation. Leaning back in his chair with a glass of scotch, Hart disclosed the figure the UT System Board of Regents had set for all colleges.

“$50 million.”

As the University repeatedly recounts to alumni and donors that decreased state support means monetary gifts are needed more than ever before, fundraising still remains a discrete process. Stories behind donations, such as the Moody Foundation’s gift, offer rare insight into the fundraising process, the steps deans take in securing donations and their recent increased involvement in development.

The Moody Foundation’s $50 million donation to the University will be celebrated Thursday in a formal ceremony — more than two weeks after Hart told an upper-division communication class about the donation, forcing UT to announce it sooner than it hoped. The donation will help fund several endowments and the construction of a sky bridge connecting the Belo Center for New Media and the Jesse H. Jones Communications Building A. 

Even though the University has a central office dedicated to development and fundraising, individual University deans often play a crucial role in fundraising and raising money for their respective colleges — especially since fundraising has become a more essential element of the University’s budget. State support made up almost half of UT’s budget in 1984, while it makes up only 13 percent of UT’s $2.48 billion budget today. Meanwhile, gifts and endowments have gone up from 3 percent of UT’s budget in 1984 to 10 percent. 

“In the last couple of decades, I think fundraising at the public university domain has been elevated in importance quite significantly,” said former provost Steven Leslie, who oversaw the deans for more than six years before he stepped down from his position this fall.

Fundraising by deans occurs as they court donors, sometimes over an evening dinner and sometimes over a period of many months or even years. Hart called the dinner with the Moody Foundation a “stewardship” dinner — a thank-you for a prior $2 million gift and an effort to seek more support from the foundation.

Hart secured the Moody Foundation gift over a period of several months. After the February dinner, Hart had to seek approval from President William Powers Jr. to continue having official conversations with the foundation. The UT System Board of Regents also had to approve the agreement to attach the Moody name to the college, as the board has jurisdiction over the naming opportunities of buildings and colleges.

After Hart received approval to proceed, the Moody Foundation requested a proposal from him in May. He spent several weeks in the summer crafting a 50-page proposal that included a breakdown of what the college would do with the $50 million, letters of recommendation for the college from prominent donors and a photo of a sky bridge across Dean Keeton Street with the name Moody emblazoned across it. The Moody Foundation approved the request earlier this year.

Hart estimates he has spent a majority of his time in the past 10 years as dean on fundraising, because the college needed additional funds and raising money became the part of the job he enjoyed he most.

“In many ways, fundraising is helping people turn their beliefs into actions,” Hart said. “They say they love the University. They say they love the college. Here is a way of taking action in behalf of those beliefs that you’ve got.”

UT handles fundraising from multiple angles. While a call center works toward collecting small donations from the average alumni, a central development office works with the individual colleges to secure larger grants and donations throughout campus. Colleges have their own development teams that work with the dean. Many colleges have an associate dean who helps deans fundraise, especially when they want to expand a college’s programs or facilities. 

Former UT presidents William Cunningham and Larry Faulkner highlighted the importance of fundraising responsibilities and collaboration between the University’s president and deans. 

“Clearly, in my opinion, the deans and the presidents are the ones who raise the money,” Cunningham said. “If you didn’t enjoy fundraising, you wouldn’t enjoy the job.” 

While Hart said he is unaware if he’s ever been evaluated based on his fundraising capabilities, fundraising is an essential indication in evaluating and hiring deans, Faulkner said.

Postings announcing openings for deans commonly require candidates to have experience in fundraising and development. In a document outlining the expectations of the inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School, UT lists fundraising and developing relationships with the community and external stakeholders as a the dean’s responsibility.

The trend extends beyond UT. A job listing for an engineering dean at UT-San Antonio lists fundraising for endowments and other college activities as part of the dean’s responsibilities. Outside of Texas, job listings for colleges in California and Virginia, among others, indicate deans will be expected to implement a “strong fundraising strategy” and “play a leadership role in the college’s fundraising and external relationship-building.”

Cunningham, who was the dean of the McCombs School of Business before his promotion to president in 1985, said he believes it was his successful fundraising track record that led to his promotion.

“I was only dean for roughly two years, and we raised a million dollars a month for 24 months in a row,” Cunningham said. “Good deans do that. Good deans are out hitting the pavement, talking about the college and why they need external support. It’s just what good deans do.”

After relying on funding allocated from the System for many years, Cunningham said it was during his tenure as president that the University increased its use of using naming opportunities to entice donors.

Despite the importance UT places on development and obtaining large, philanthrophic gifts, the fundraising responsibilities of deans is still dependant on a college’s reputation and academic success. 

“Academic leadership is, in the end, the most important thing,” Faulkner said. “People give gifts because they believe in what is being done in the institution. They’re not just going to give gifts because someone is silver-tongued. So, in the end, it’s what is happening at the colleges. The dean needs to create that reality.”

Hart compares his role to a lobbyist and said asking donors to invest in academic efforts is similar to lobbyists seeking support for policies.

“I don’t have any policies to advance, but I do have a college to advance,” Hart said. “I would go and talk to the devil himself, if necessary, to explain what a wonderful place we are to invest [in].”

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series examining UT officials’ political donations. This installment examines contributions by administrators at UT-Austin. Subsequent stories will focus on contributions by UT System officials and UT-Austin professors.

Current UT deans, presidents, provosts, vice provosts and vice presidents have donated more than $27,000 since 1999 to both Republican and Democratic political campaigns and political action committees at both the state and federal level, according to filings compiled by The Daily Texan from the Texas Ethics Commission and the Federal Election Commission.

In the last 13 years, most political donations from administrators went to individual politicians, including members of the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, the U.S. Congress and gubernatorial races. Administrators have also donated to presidential nominees. Some of the donations were made before administrators were in their current positions.

William Cunningham, a current UT marketing professor and former UT System chancellor and university president, chairs the Friends of the University Political Action Committee. Friends of the University is a PAC that donates to politicians on both sides of the political aisle but mainly focuses on legislators involved in higher education policy.

Cunningham, a former administrator, donated more in the last 13 years than all the other UT administrators combined. His contributions total $42,050 and were mostly directed to individual state and U.S. politicians.

UT spokesperson Tara Doolittle said campaign contributions fall under an individual’s right to free speech.

“Generally on the subject of administrators and donations, the rule is the same whether it’s an administrative assistant or the president,” Doolittle said. “As long as University resources or official positions are not used to advocate or influence political activity, employees are free to participate in the political system.”

The University does not allow employees to participate in political activities in their official UT roles, according to UT’s Handbook of Operating Procedures.

Current administrators donated about 30 percent of all contributions made in the last 13 years to presidential or vice presidential campaigns.

Nine percent of contributions went to the Friends of the University. Communication Dean Roderick Hart has donated at least $100 every year since 2000 to Friends of the University, the most to the PAC among administrators, totaling $2,000.

The Friends of the University PAC contributed $3,500 to House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, and $5,000 to former Senate Higher Education Chairwoman Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, in 2011.

Zaffirini received $250 in direct contributions from Hart and $500 from Cockrell School of Engineering Dean Gregory Fenves.

Friends of the University PAC volunteer John Doner said the PAC’s goal is to donate to legislators and other state officials who support the University and higher education in general.

“We are entirely separate from the University and make independent decisions based on our own research,” Doner said.

Center for Responsive Politics spokeswoman Viveca Novak said the disclosure of campaign contribution records is important to deduce conflicts of interest or the potential impact an individual affiliated with a specific institution can have on powerful recipients. She said conflicts of interests are difficult to prove.

“Individuals make contributions for various reasons, but the reason disclosure of who’s giving the money is so important is precisely so that the public can keep track of who’s helping to fund a politician’s career and what actions the recipient takes that might benefit the donor,” Novak said.

Printed on Monday, October 29, 2012 as: UT officials fund PACs, campaigns

(Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Brace yourselves — the freshmen are coming.

University officials have spent the summer months preparing for what might be its largest incoming freshman class on record and what could be the second largest overall enrollment in UT history. By adding more sections, lecturers, advisors and First-Year Interest Group programs, or programs that place freshmen into small groups to support their academic performance, University officials said they are confident that the school is ready for the freshmen class.

Kedra Ishop, vice provost and director of admissions, said estimates for the incoming freshman class are currently around 8,000 students. This is an approximate 900-student increase from last year’s 7,149 students. Currently, the year 2002 holds the title for most first-time enrolled freshmen with 7,935 students enrolled as first-time freshmen and 8,419 students classified as freshmen. The University will not know if it broke its past records until the twelfth class day, when enrollment is officially counted.

“It’s too close to call,” Ishop said in an email, speculating whether this entering freshman class would be the University’s largest. “Our largest prior class was just over 7,900. So it could be.”

Although the University says it is ready for this incoming freshman class, the increased enrollment will place a strain on the University for years to come. Professor William Cunningham, who was president of the University from 1985 to 1992, faced similar issues because of enrollment growth in 1988 when enrollment reached an all-time high. Cunningham compared the problem to a bubble.

“If you have a problem in freshman courses this year, then next year you will have a problem in sophomore courses,” Cunningham said. “So you will have to put some more resources into sophomore courses, but UT officials know that. It’s not rocket science.”

David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, said the University will have to add sections and redirect resources for years to come. This means for returning students and for all students going forward, officials will continue to add sections and lecturers to various colleges and schools as this freshman class moves through the University.

“The reason you don’t make decisions right now about where to put them is because students generally tend to migrate in lots of general directions,” Laude said.

Laude said he has been involved in conversations with the deans across all of the schools, particularly in the professional schools like business, engineering and communication, about the possibility of expanding.

“As that happens and as they take on those additional students, it will be required that we take the money we have available associated with the increased enrollment and create additional sections in the majors they end up populating,” Laude said.

Among the incoming freshmen, certain colleges and schools have been more heavily impacted. Marc Musick, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said he noticed the largest increases in the School of Undergraduate Studies, the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Fine Arts.

“I handled orientation for the University, so I can see the numbers we’re experiencing across all the colleges,” Musick said. He was appointed to oversee New Student Services and the large changes made in the orientation program by UT President William Powers Jr. in April.

The School of Undergraduate Studies faces more than a 50 percent increase in enrollment — from 900 students last year to approximately 1,400 this year. Initial numbers in the beginning of the summer indicated 1,574 students were planning on attending UGS in the fall, but since then almost 200 students have decided to not attend.

Incoming UGS interim dean Larry Abraham said when the school first heard about the number of incoming students, their initial concern was actually not about the number of classes offered but whether the school had enough advisors. Assistant UGS dean David Spight said the school has hired three new advisors, who will start the second week of August, a few weeks before students arrive.

Abraham said the school was also concerned about whether there would be enough seats in classes.

“There was a panic mode where students were saying there won’t be enough seats. We’ve never had this many students try to take freshman courses, whether they are signature courses or introduction to biology or whatever,” Abraham said. “The University has responded to that.”

In order to respond to both its increased enrollment and the entire school’s increased enrollment, UGS has added more than a total of 1,300 seats in signature courses to the 2012-2013 school year, bringing the total to 11,300. Signature courses, introduced in 2008, are each assigned a unique topic and aim to introduce the student to the University and its resources. The 1,300 additional seats includes the fall, spring and summer semesters. Patricia Micks, UGS senior program coordinator, said about 8,000 of those seats are the fall semester, when UGS hopes a majority of freshmen will take their signature course.

Micks said UGS did a combination of adding new signature courses and increasing the class size of some already-existing signature courses.

“We were very careful. If we’re going to bump any class sizes, we were sure to strategically select professors who really shine in these large classes,” Micks said.

UGS also increased the number of academic FIGs offered within the school from 15 to 24.

In order to pay for this, Abraham said the provost’s office gave UGS approximately $300,000.

Thanks to the funding provided by the Provost’s office, Abraham said UGS has dealt with advising and seating concerns. Spight said the school is now focusing to ensure students can make a smooth transition to their desired school after UGS.

“Our job is to help them find all the options and set them up for success, but in the end the student has to be successful in their courses and the programs have to be willing to say they will take those students,” Spight said. “That concern is going to be a little bit bigger for us this year simply because there are more students that we are worrying about.”

Spight said there has been increased collaboration between UGS and other colleges. For example, of the nine additional FIGs added to UGS, Spight said a few Natural-Sciences-oriented FIGS were added because a large number of students in UGS had selected the College of Natural Sciences as their first choice.

“We tried to make sure the FIGs that we added addressed those areas of interests,” Spight said. “The courses that were associated with those FIGs, whether it be the signature course topics or the other courses in the FIG clusters, we made sure they were along those lines in the sciences.”

In the College of Natural Sciences, freshman enrollment is expected to rise by about 15 percent. Last year, the college had about 1,835 students enroll, and this year it is expecting 2,152 students. Sacha Kopp, associate professor and natural sciences assistant dean, said the college has seen an increase in freshman enrollment in the past three years and this will be the largest class the college has ever seen.

The College of Natural Sciences has added sections and additional seats to prepare for this class, but Kopp said he could not say how many sections and seats were added since the college is still watching the enrollment numbers and is adjusting accordingly. Kopp said the college is not adding these classes just for students in that college.

And in the College of Fine Arts, which houses many of the courses required to fulfill the visual and performing arts undergraduate degree requirements, enrollment is expected to increase by 400 students, or 20 percent. The college has responded by adding several hundred seats to these courses to accommodate non-majors, said Andrew Dell-Antonio, College of Fine Arts associate dean.

Officials from other colleges are on board to prepare the University for this large incoming freshman class, even if their college is not seeing an enrollment increase. For example, Musick said COLA was adding additional sections.

“We serve students in other colleges as well,” Musick said. “Even though it’s not technically liberal arts students, they are UT students and they do need our classes.”

Senior associate dean for academic affairs Richard Flores said the University added 16 new sections in the College of Liberal Arts. The college is in the process of hiring a combination of nine additional lecturers and assistant instructors. The provost’s office provided the College of Liberal Arts with $306,000 in funding for this increase.

The first day of class is Aug. 29. The official enrollment count will be conducted Sept. 14.

Updated 11:24 a.m.: 1,300 seats, not 13,000 seats, were added to the number of signature courses.
 

UT System officials were aware of a familial connection between a MyEdu Corp. executive and a former chancellor, according to emails obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act.

The system invested $10 million in the website MyEdu to increase graduation rates by helping students better understand how to navigate through their degree plans with online advising. The UT System publicly mentioned interest in MyEdu at the Aug. 25 Board of Regents meeting and formally announced the partnership on Oct. 18.

Randa Safady, UT System vice chancellor for external relations, sent an email to system officials, including Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, about a personal connection between MyEdu and the UT System on July 5. William Cunningham is a former system chancellor, former UT-Austin president and current faculty member at the McCombs School of Business. Cunningham has had a financial stake in MyEdu, which was co-founded by his son, John Cunningham.

“John Cunningham is Bill Cunningham’s son,” Safady said in the email. “He started this business some time ago, and it has really taken off. I believe Bill has supported it, too.”

Cigarroa, in a response to Safady’s email, did not directly acknowledge the connection but said he and two other UT regents were interested in the company.

UT System spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said in an email to The Daily Texan that the chancellor was aware of the familial connection but not of the financial stake the elder Cunningham has in the company. De Bruyn also said that even if knowledge of the financial stake had been known, the system was under no legal obligation to disclose it, as Texas Government Code only places procedural restrictions if a contract is within four years of the person being the executive head of the state agency. Bill Cunningham was chancellor until 2000.

Cigarroa presented the MyEdu partnership as a way to improve four-year graduation rates, which would allow for students to get through UT institutions more quickly and allow for a greater number of students to attend the institutions.

MyEdu officials plan to initially launch the new platform at UT-Austin, UT-Arlington and UT-Permian Basin before the next registration period in the spring.

MyEdu co-founder and CEO Michael Crosno sent an email to Cigarroa on Aug. 27 about his vision for MyEdu’s financial impact for students.

“Soon the UT System will set the bar for providing tools to families for lowering the cost of their education, and it won’t be through reducing tuition — there are better ways,” Crosno wrote.

Cigarroa expressed enthusiasm to sign the MyEdu agreement, which Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, echoed in an email on Sept. 12.

“I am good to go with the chancellor signing these documents,” Powell said. “Congratulations! Great work in record time.”

UT-Austin faculty have raised concerns about inaccurate information on the current MyEdu site, including classes listed under their names for courses never taught.

Frank Lyman, MyEdu senior vice president of marketing and business development, said data on MyEdu about students, faculty and classes comes from public information requests. Lyman said the new platform should be more reliable because data will come directly from the UT System. He said this benefits students and faculty because MyEdu can now go directly to the UT System to correct inaccuracies.

“When we don’t have accurate data, we’re not credible,” Lyman said.

MyEdu currently contains a comments and ratings section that allows users to evaluate individual faculty members and see class grade distributions. Some faculty worry that the feedback is unreliable and could be used in making University personnel decisions, including those made when awarding tenure. President William Powers Jr. said a few weeks ago that the information available on MyEdu will not be used to judge professors because the University has its own course evaluations.

Lyman said MyEdu will talk about the comments and ratings section with key University contacts, but it is difficult to say what decision will be made about the role of the section in the new platform. He said the information can help students choose which professor to take, but plans depend upon the answer to the question “is there a way to do this that faculty members support?”

Lyman said MyEdu wants to better understand faculty concerns and suggestions for tools so the company will talk to key contacts from the pilot institutions within the next month.

“We realize we need to deepen our relationship with faculty and advisers,” Lyman said. “We all have a common goal — get the students through the class and graduate.”

Lyman said the information sharing with the UT System will allow for new tools to be made. He said the most requested tool from students is to be able to see class availability as they register.

UT student regent John Davis Rutkauskas attended the July 13 meeting between some of the UT System regents and MyEdu via teleconference. Rutkauskas addressed the UT Senate of College Councils meeting a few weeks ago and said overall, there is a lot of uncertainty about the MyEdu partnership. Rutkauskas said most of the discussions with MyEdu are in regards to big-picture ideas and he agreed with Senate members that the UT System should not move forward until some of the major questions are answered.

“It’s easy to understand why a faculty member might be concerned about MyEdu,” Rutkauskas said.

However, Rutkauskas said, some faculty members “misunderstand the technology” because they cannot see all of the advising tools available to students if they do not create a MyEdu login. Rutkauskas championed the deal and said it was made for the benefit of the students to help them get through the University as quickly as they want.

The student regent said he wants to help further discussions when it’s pertinent to people in the UT System administration. Rutkauskas criticized negative feedback about the partnership and said he originally expected faculty and students at UT Austin to applaud the deal.

“If I’m totally off base with that, then let me know,” Rutkauskas said.

Printed on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 as: UT partners with MyEdu despite family ties

UT invests in MyEdu

The UT System Board of Regents recently invested $10 million from the Permanent University Fund in the Austin company MyEdu as part of an effort to improve four-year graduation rates at system institutions. The board’s decision was surrounded in secrecy, and the Austin American-Statesman revealed on Sunday that former UT System chancellor William Cunningham owns a $175,000 stake in the privately held company. Cunningham’s son John is MyEdu’s senior vice president for information architecture. The Board of Regents made the investment “unconditionally,” but MyEdu will develop UT system-specific tools for use at system schools. The following quotes are from the Statesman’s story.

“I have no knowledge of that, either. Nor was it pertinent to this agreement. We felt comfortable with exactly how this agreement went forward.”
— UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on whether he had knowledge of former UT System Chancellor William Cunningham’s $175,000 stake in MyEdu.

“It was not an issue we felt was controversial or required public input.”
— Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, on the lack of public disclosure and transparency surrounding the system’s investment in MyEdu.

“These things are often undertaken with positive purposes and good people, but when they’re not fully disclosed, it really hurts them. It’s much better to be transparent about it, and then you don’t run into conflict.”
— Aims McGuinness Jr., a senior associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, on the secrecy surrounding the system’s investment.

“I don’t think so. I’m not a major shareholder in the company. I have no administrative input. I don’t think that’s relevant, and obviously they didn’t think it was relevant.”
— Cunningham on whether his stake in MyEdu should have been disclosed by the regents prior to their investment.

“These things are often undertaken with positive purposes and good people, but when they’re not fully disclosed, it really hurts them. It’s much better to be transparent about it, and then you don’t run into conflict.”
— Aims McGuinness Jr., a senior associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, on the secrecy surrounding the system’s investment.


Longhorn Network lockout

The University’s iconoclastic, divisive and ESPN-backed Longhorn Network broadcast its first conference game on Saturday, as Texas took on Kansas at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. Because Verizon is currently the network’s largest carrier, many Longhorns fans were unable to watch the broadcast.

“It’s not our decision to play or not to play the LHN. Some people would say we just don’t want to pay the extra money, but I would have LHN playing here every day if I could.”
— Munson Stodder, general manager for Pluckers on Rio Grande, according to The Daily Texan. The popular West Campus destination has Time Warner Cable and DirecTV, but neither company has come to an agreement with ESPN on offering the network.

“We haven’t been as successful at explaining to the public that this is a slow-growing process, so unfortunately, you might not find it on your TV screen right away. It’s a start-up — we’ve only been on the air since August. The Big Ten Network started slow, the Yankees’ YES Network started slow. ... In the end, though, we know this is something really, really good. People will enjoy it.”
— DeLoss Dodds, UT men’s head athletic director, according to TexasSports.com.