Perry Names Three to UT System Board of Regents

Friday, March 1, 2013

Appointments to Texas university boards are highly coveted and often are used by the governor to reward political supporters.

One of the consequences of a politically motivated appointment process is a lack geographical diversity on some of the boards.

The Rio Grande Valley, for example, one of the most economically deprived areas of the country, has not had a representative on the University of Texas board of regents for the last 18 years, although there are two UT System campuses in the region.

But last week, Gov. Rick Perry appointed McAllen lawyer and former judge Ernest Aliseda to a six-year term on the UT System Board of Regents, and that is progress.

The eyes of Texas will be on the Rio Grande Valley in the next few years as the UT System moves forward on plans to merge the University of Texas Pan American, UT-Brownsville and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio's regional campus in South Texas into one university.

South Texas has long needed and deserved a seat on the powerful university board, which sets policy for all the UT System schools.

Aliseda is one of two new appointees to the UT Board of Regents; the other is Jeff Hildebrand of Houston. The governor also reappointed Regent Paul Foster of El Paso.

While Hildebrand and Foster have contributed well into six figures to Perry's political campaigns, Aliseda has only given $2,250 between 2001 and 2010, the Brownsville Herald reported.

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