Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst came close to tears in the state Senate on Monday as he delivered an emotional defense of the president of the University of Texas at Austin, who is embroiled in an apparent power struggle with several of the UT System's board of regents.
"This is about the reputation of this university, this is about the reputation of this fine man and this great state," Dewhurst, the Senate's presiding officer, said as he accused regents of trying to undercut UT-Austin President Bill Powers.
He said Powers' critics on the nine-member board are "trying to micromanage the system" and engage in "character assassination, which is unacceptable to members of this body."
"This man deserves better than what he's getting," Dewhurst said. "I am really upset about this."
Powers came under sharp criticism at a a regents meeting last week as regents Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich and Alex Cranberg questioned the UT president on issues such as fundraising operations, graduate rates and other matters, according to the Austin American Statesman.
The Senate approved a resolution praising Power's tenure at the flagship campus as senators took turns commending the UT-Austin president. The resolution was authored by Sen. Kevin P. Eltife, R-Tyler, and was planned in advance of last week's regent meeting, according to Eltife.
-- Dave Montgomery