Saturday, December 12, 2015

The University of Texas' TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY BAD Week

“Here is the man who did not make God his strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
Psalm 52:7

A lesser organization might have stopped with one, or possibly two, nationally embarrassing headlines.  Of course, that would require an organizational culture capable of shame.  Let's review the University of Texas' week:
  • Fischer vs. University of Texas - Any time your week involves a trip to the United States' Supreme Court, as a DEFENDANT, it's off to a bad start.  That was UT's position on Wednesday.  The University had to defend it's admissions practices against the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It didn't go well for the University.  Obviously, anything involving the Roberts' court is a crap-shoot, but having this discussion in the first place is a loss for UT.
  • Hall vs. McRaven - Having to defend your admissions practices in one lawsuit is bad enough...but two?!?  On the same day Fischer was heard in D.C., here in Travis County a separate hearing was held in a separate case involving political favoritism in the University's admissions.  Regent Wallace Hall was forced to sue University Chancellor Bill McRaven after the latter stonewalled the release of documents from an outside investigation into the aforementioned political favoritism.  Once again, it didn't go well for the University.  However the judge rules, this case is headed to appeal, but a modest amount of transparency would have prevented this lawsuit in the first place.
  • Lt. Governor Patrick REBUKES the University Tuition Hike...AGAIN!!! - On Monday, University President Greg Fenves formally announced plans to ask the Board of Regents for a tuition hike.  Lt. Governor Patrick's response speaks for itself: "If universities across Texas continue to ignore the increasing financial burden on students and families, and do not look for ways to reduce costs and pass those savings on to students, I have no doubt the Legislature will,” Patrick said in a statement issued by his office. “Furthermore, I believe the Legislature, in a bipartisan effort, will take a serious look at regulating tuitions once again.”  This is the third time in as many months that the Lt. Governor has issued the University a dire warning over tuition policies.
  • The Offensive Coordinator search DEBACLE - Last, but certainly not least, is the national embarrassment to which Greg Fenves subjected an already reeling Football program. Following a 5-7 season, is was obvious to anyone watching that Charlie Strong needed to bring in a new offensive coordinator ASAP.   Over the past week, Strong has successfully recruited TWO top-flight offensive coordinator candidates, only to have Greg Fenves' dithering cause BOTH deals to fall apart.  This produced the disgraceful spectacle of the University President taking a last minute trip out of state to recruit an ASSISTANT coach.  While the Longhorns belatedly landed their second choice, Greg Fenves' ambivalence may have poisoned the well in what increasingly looks like Charlie Strong's final season at the Forty Acres.
Bottom Line: It takes a special combination of Arrogance, Incompetence, and Mendacity to find yourself defending against two major lawsuits, rebuked by your Lieutenant Governor, and the subject of national athletic ridicule all in the space of one week.  Somehow, the University of Texas managed that feat.  This situation is going to get worse before it gets better....

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