Reports from UT System task force regarding student-employee relationships not expected until end of summer


Reports from two task forces regarding the relationships between students and employees and the relationships between UT System universities and affiliated foundations are not expected to be released until sometime this summer.

At the UT System Board of Regents meeting Thursday, Paul Foster, vice chairman of the board and chairman on the inappropriate employee and student relationships task force, said he hoped to have a report ready by the end of the summer. Regent Brenda Pejovich, who chairs the task force regarding university affiliated foundation relationships, said she hoped to have a report ready sometime in July.

The task forces were created following controversies at UT-Austin.

In February, board Chairman Gene Powell and Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa created a task force in response to two employee and student relationships coming to light in recent months. In January, former women’s track and field head coach Bev Kearney resigned after being notified she would be terminated for her relationship with a student athlete several years ago. In February, Major Applewhite, offensive coordinator for the football team, released a statement regarding a previously undisclosed “inappropriate, consensual behavior” one-time relationship that occurred with a student during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.

Foster said the task force is working hard to determine what the rules should be regarding student and faculty relationships. He said it is a complicated issue.

"It's not always black and white," Foster said. "A lot of times relationships start out very innocent, and then it changes."

Meanwhile, Pejovich said she hoped to have a report ready regarding the relationships between UT schools and affiliated foundations in July. Foundations serve many purposes for universities in the System, including fundraising.

Pejovich's task force was formed in November, following concerns from the UT System on the relationship between the UT School of Law and the UT Law School Foundation. In 2011, President William Powers Jr. asked Lawrence Sager, the former law school dean, to resign after receiving a forgivable $500,000 loan from the UT Law School Foundation. Sager is still teaching at the University.

Pejovich said her task force has examined 21 affiliated foundations in the system since November.