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UT Chancellor Orders Review of Law School Foundation Funds in Wake of Dean’s Resignation

Posted Dec 12, 2011 5:08 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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The chancellor of the University of Texas Systems has ordered tighter controls over the flow of funds from a charitable foundation that has directed millions of dollars to the UT law school over the past several decades.

Friday's directive from Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa came a day after law school Dean Larry Sager was asked to resign following the release of records showing that some law professors, including Sager, have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in forgivable loans from the UT Law School Foundation, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Sager himself received a $500,000 forgivable loan in 2009. Daniel Rodriguez, who becomes dean of the Northwestern University School of Law next month, received $300,000 in forgivable loans, the Austin American-Statesman reported, citing records obtained under the Texas Public Information Act

The records also show that 19 members of the law school faculty are making $300,000 a year or more, while other professors earn far less, the newspaper reported.

Cigarroa ordered Barry Burgdorf, the UT System's vice chancellor and general counsel, to work with UT-Austin to review and improve the decision-making process for spending foundation money.

"Findings from this review will enable us to be sure that clear and transparent guidelines are in place across all UT institutions that have affiliated foundations working to support their important missions, and we look forward to making those guidelines available publicly," Cigarroa said in a statement.

The Law School Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization established in 1952, has been highly effective in amassing donations, with assets totaling $167 million, according to its website.

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