Wednesday, March 1, 2017

McRaven cries UNCLE over Houston Land Grab!!!


"There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death."
Proverbs 14:12

Confession: We really, REALLY enjoyed this one....
Chancellor McRaven ends plan for UT project in Houston

AUSTIN – University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven announced today that he is ceasing any additional efforts to launch a UT project on land it purchased in Houston last year. McRaven’s decision was based on his concerns that the project was overshadowing the extraordinary work under way on the 14 campuses of the UT System and he did not wish to do anything that could detract from the advancement of UT institutions and their presidents’ visions. Consequently he advised the Board of Regents that any further efforts on the Houston project would be stopped immediately.

“I accept full responsibility for the lack of progress on this initiative. I am grateful to the Regents, my System staff and the university presidents for their engagement over the last year,” McRaven said in a memo to Regents’ Chairman Paul Foster.

“I also offer my deepest apology to those members of the Houston Task Force who selflessly dedicated countless hours to develop a bold vision for the future of UT’s investment in Houston. I am incredibly appreciative for their support and friendship throughout this process. While we will not implement this plan in Houston, I am confident that some of the great ideas that emerged from the Task Force will be worth considering on other UT campuses,” McRaven added.

McRaven also recommended to the Board of Regents that the UT System real estate office develop a plan to divest the System of the land. Noting that it will take time, McRaven emphasized that the plan will be executed in a manner that protects the System’s investment in the property.

McRaven thanked the regents for their support and expressed his enthusiasm for working with them on many opportunities ahead.
 We attended the media availability this afternoon and got audio:



Highlights:

  • "Divesting" Houston property in "thoughtful, methodical process."
    • "Protecting our investment."
  • Goal was to produce an "Institute for data science."
  • Don't expect to lose money on property.
  • No timeline on selling the property: "The main approach will be to protect our investment."
  • "I was not able to develop a shared vision."
  • Threw in the towel the past couple days.
  • "I certainly think so" re: continued Board of Regents support.
    • Author's Note: We spoke to a source following the event who pointed out that McRaven signed a three year contract when he was originally hired...in which he is now in year three...which means there's a face saving way for them to get rid of him in a year.
    • Author's Note II: Just to be clear, the source to which we refer in the previous note never served on the Board of Regents...so it's not who you think.
  • "We are through with our expansion into Houston."
  • "I wasn't able to get the stakeholders necessary."
  • "Minor environmental issues."
  • "We've closed on most of the acreage."
  • "We're going to develop a plan and I'll submit it to the Board of Regents." re: selling the property.
  • They've spent somewhere in the mid-$20 million range so far.
  • Houston task force report being presented to the board later this week.

Following the media availability, we caught Senator Whitmire at another event who told us "I'm very pleased" about today's news.

Finally, this report in yesterday's Statesman couldn't have helped.

Bottom Line: OUCH...............................................

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