Senate confirms UT System regent appointees


While some senators described their "aye" vote as "unethusaistic," the Senate confirmed Texas Gov. Rick Perry's appointees to the UT System Board of Regents Friday.

Newly appointed regents McAllen Judge Ernest Aliseda and Hilcorp Energy Company CEO Jeffrey Hildebrand will now begin serving on the board. Current UT Regent Paul Foster was also confirmed, and will continue serving on the board. Senator John Whitmire, D-Houston, was the sole senator to vote against the nominees. He said he would do so earlier in the week at a hearing on Monday.

Senators spent more than 30 minutes giving speeches about the appointees. Some senators, including Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, expressed support for the appointees. But the majority of the speeches were about the recent controversies that have surrounded the UT System Board of Regents and UT-Austin's President William Powers Jr. Senator Judith Zaffirni, D-Laredo, said she was voting yes "unethusiastically," but is hopeful the tone will change under the new regents. She and Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, also said the regents would be srcutinized going forward.

Powers released a brief statement following the confirmations.

"I look forward to working with Regent Foster, Aliseda and Hildebrand as we move forward and make UT Austin the best public research university in the nation," Powers said in an emailed statement through Gary Susswein, the director of UT's media relations.

The UT System Board of Regents are expected to meet in July. Aliseda, Hildebrand and Foster will serve on the board until 2019.

This article has been updated with a statement from Powers.