Quotes to Note: Best of Tribfest

Editor’s note: The following quotes are from The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday and Sunday. The festival featured speakers from around the country on topics including energy and environment, public and higher education, race and immigration and health and human services.

“Mr. Cranberg is a very committed and hard-working member of the board. He accepted the festival’s invitation in June in good faith and was eager to participate. However, the board’s Aug. 25 unanimous vote designating Chancellor Cigarroa as the sole individual designated to handle the new initiatives must be respected by each and every board member.”
— Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, explaining in an e-mail to The Texas Tribune on decision to withdraw regent Alex Cranberg from speaking at the Tribune’s Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Cranberg was scheduled to speak in an event called, “A Conversation About Higher Education Reform” with President William Powers Jr. and moderated by Tribune editor-in-chief Evan Smith.

“We don’t have a beef with A&M. They knew about this and knew there would be a second [football] game on [the Longhorn Network]. I think at this time in June a year ago, there were people in our fan base, people in the A&M and OU fan bases who were disappointed that there wasn’t a move to the PAC-12 or the SEC, and what I see is that very legitimate interests at those schools reasserting themselves. Those schools have every right to be where they are. I’m glad OU is staying with us.”
— President William Powers Jr. addressing the tenuous issues surrounding A&M’s departure in relation to the creation of the Longhorn Network. University athletic events are separated into three tiers, and Powers explained that the creation of the network was simply handing over the University’s third-tier rights to ESPN, similar to some universities charging pay-per-view for some of their games.

“K-12 education …”
— Powers when asked by Smith to identify the biggest issue affecting higher education that he does not have the power to fix.

“If I were to invest our resources to that goal, I could increase my graduation rate fastest by not admitting any at-risk students.”
— UT-El Paso president Diana Natalacio on the effort to judge institutions by their graduation rates. UTEP has a four-year graduation rate of 10 percent, but it accepts almost 97 percent of applicants, among whom about 48 percent are Pell Grant recipients and only about 66 percent are full-time students, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Almanac.