SFA Board of Regents votes to join UT System pending approval of state legislature

Sowmya Sridhar, General News Reporter

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Board of Regents decided to join the UT System on Tuesday in a 8-1 vote. 

The vote was based on a recommendation by a subcommittee formed at SFA regarding system affiliation. Graham Garner, chief marketing communications officer at SFA, said SFA considered proposals from four systems: the Texas A&M University System, the Texas Tech University System, the Texas State University System and the UT System. 

Now that a decision has been made, Garner said SFA officials will work with leadership from the UT System to create an agreement between the two entities. SFA will officially be able to join the UT System once legislation that allows the change is passed by the Texas legislature in January.

Despite its new affiliation, SFA officials say it will keep its name, mascot and traditions. 

Garner said the SFA Board of Regents has considered the idea of system affiliation since August. The decision came after a faculty report found the UT System had a substantially stronger pitch for SFA to join compared to the other four systems. The report found UT excelled in staff and faculty salaries, financial aid and financial strength, among other factors.

Garner said a key point that led to the decision was the UT system offered an investment of over $120 million dollars in SFA over the next four years.

“Stephen F. Austin has a rich tradition and successful history that our regents and leadership deeply admire and respect,” Kevin P. Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, said in a statement. “We are honored and enthusiastic about taking the next steps together in this process with confidence that this union will make each of us stronger.”