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Published On: Tue, Mar 3rd, 2015

Texas college accepted ‘unqualified students’ with political ties and destroys the evidence

An investigation of the University of Texas-Austin’s admissions practices revealed that several dozen undergraduates were “less qualified” but that political connections and “outisde influences” enabled students admission to higher level programs.

The report by corporate investigative firm Kroll is the epicenter of the controversy, especially after a report by College Fix highlighting the questionable practices.

Mike goes to college Monsters University“The investigation followed an internal admissions inquiry dating back to August 2013, which sought to determine if influential figures, particularly state politicians, had exerted “undue influence” to alter admissions results,” The Fix article explained.

The Kroll report notes the “widespread and longstanding practice” which resulted “significantly higher” admissions rates than others. “…some candidates were admitted as a result of outside influence and pressure on Dean Gilligan, including quid-pro-quo admission in exchange for a promised financial contribution” citing the Empower Texans as the group in question.

“There are instances in which applicants do not succeed in the standard admissions process and the President’s Office will request, and in some cases direct, that certain files be reviewed again,” the report said. “Efforts were also made to minimize paper trails and written lists during this end-of-cycle [admission] process.”

Summarized by College Fix:

Only 73 “arguably less-qualified” undergrads were admitted through the hold system from 2009 to 2014; political connections may have been involved in a “small number” of cases, while several others “suggested a demonstrated commitment to ethnic and racial diversity” or “other appropriate criteria.”

Kroll criticized President Bill Powers and his chief of staff for not disclosing the holds and “watch lists” during the internal review, calling those “material omissions” that “misled the inquiry.”

Lawrence Sager, who resigned as law school dean in late 2011 at President Powers’ request, admitted that the president’s interest in certain candidates may “have on occasion swayed [his] decision.”

The report was deemed questionable by Watchdog.org, an investigative project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity that had previously flagged “politically connected [UT-Austin law] graduates who have failed the bar repeatedly.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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