UT Regent Impeachment Investigation Officially Begins

Tom Pennington

The battle between members of the legislature and the UT Board of Regents moves to the State Capital as the impeachment investigation of Regent Wallace Hall enters the hearings stage.

Testimony regarding the possible impeachment of UT regent Wallace Hall begins this week with the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations with two days of hearings to see if Wallace Hall is the first non-elected official in state history to be impeached.

Hall has been accused of misrepresenting his record on his application to be a regent, as well as mishandling private information about students. He has also been accused of overstepping his authority by making massive information requests on UT-Austin staff as well as several legislators while targeting UT-Austin President Bill Powers for removal.

The committee meetings this Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be the first of three such hearings between now and December.

You can follow the hearings here:

House Transparency Committee Hearing

COMMITTEE: Transparency in State Agency Operations, Select

TIME & DATE: 10:00 AM, Tuesday, October 22, 2013

PLACE: E2.010

CHAIR: Rep. Alvarado and Rep. Flynn

Representative Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, is expected to be among those testifying before the committee Tuesday. Rep. Pitts filed the resolution to begin the impeachment proceedings against regent Hall.

Others expected to testify this week include Barry Burgdorf, the former vide chancellor and general counsel for the UT System as well as Teresa Spears, who was Gov. Rick Perry's former director of appointments.

Again, these hearings are to decide if articles of impeachment should be drawn up against Hall. The process is a long way from being over and it will drag on well into 2014.

Still, Rusty Hardin, the special counsel for the house committee hopes these hearings will not only decide if the impeachment process should proceed, but also how the role of a regent should be defined.

"It will be a step toward public disclosure as to what happened and description from live witnesses, as opposed to people announcing their own side of the issue," Hardin said. "The committee's name is ‘transparency,' and I think the public will get a chance to look and see what happened and judge for themselves, as will the committee."

While this week's hearings will focus on what has occurred during Hall's two-plus years as a regent, Hardin added, "In the next session or two, we will start looking at what standard a regent ought to be judged by."

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