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UNIVERSITIES FREQUENTLY serve as brokerages for industrial and political interests. MIT and Harvard brokered the Route 128 complex, the defense electronics shuck of the 1960s. Columbia trustees used their board room to hatch regressive realty schemes for the upper west side of Manhattan. The University of Chicago is Daley’s political club for the south side. But the University of Texas is slightly different. It not only is the trough for every enterprising Austin businessman, but more importantly acts as a funnel for the political and business interests of the Texas State Democratic Party, whose personnel float in and out of the University administration buildings and board rooms. For many years, the man who ran the University for the Party was Frank Erwin, who served as Chairman of the Board of Regents. Erwin, still a Regent, is an intimate of Johnson, Connally, and the current governor, Preston Smith. He was Democratic National Committeeman from 1964 through 1968, and when the Daily Texan, the student newspaper, accused him of having a conflict of interest, he responded, “the University of Texas is Lyndon Johnson’s university.” When the newspaper opposed Johnson’s decision to bomb North Vietnam, Erwin claimed it had cost the University a million dollar gift and threatened to abolish its editorial page. Over the past summer Erwin tried unsuccessfully to abolish the student paper altogether and re-establish it under regential control. His other efforts to guide the University’s development have been more successful. Under his influence, the Regents recently redefined paid members of the student government as state employees, making it impossible for the student attorney to bring student cases against the University. They also have prohibited University administrators from negotiation with student demonstrators rather than immediately bringing in the police; in 1970 the University passed a ruling that no more than three nonresident members might attend a campus meeting. Erwin was the sole witness to testify before the state legislature against a bill placing three nonvoting students on UT’s Board of Regents, and the bill failed. In the summer of 1970 he summarily fired the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who had occasionally differed from him on campus issues. Several faculty members resigned in protest over this, but when a state senator demanded an investigation of the affair Governor Preston Smith said he was reluctant to enter into a confrontation with Erwin, a friend of Smith’s who contributed to his 1968 campaign. 0 N A MORE HOMELY LEVEL, the University is tied to widespread political and business interests. University enrollment rose from 20,000 in 1967 to about 42,000 this year. Under Erwin’s enthusiastic leadership, there was feverish construction of University buildings dur ing that five-year span. Almost all the architecture contracts went to Brooks, Barr, Graeber, and White, who are the University’s architectural consultants on a regular basis: Max Brooks is an old friend of LBJ’s. Construction contracts routinely go to Odum Construction Company, headed by the brother of LBJ’s close friend Will Odum, who was chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission from 1963 to 1968. In 1964 the Regents let a contract to an El Paso architectural firm to design a college building at Texas Western College in El Paso. The architect turned out to be a former Republican State Committeeman. Under a rider to the Texas appropriations bill, the governor must approve architectural fees for state colleges, universities and special schools; Connally did not approve the contract, and the hegents were forced to award it elsewhere. One Regent resigned over the controversy, making public a letter he had received from Connally’s friend, Frank Erwin. Erwin wrote, “The present governor . . . approved the inclusion of the rider in question in the appropriations bill and intends to exercise the power given him therein. . . . It is his view that since architecture contracts are not let on competitive bid basis, they simply constitute valuable gifts that are awarded by the state government. . . . He is opposed to awarding contracts to competent architects who have not been friendly to him and his administration.” At Erwin’s farewell dinner, upon his retirement as Regents’ chairman, Lyndon Johnson said, “When all the angry voices fall silent, people of this state will recognize that the University of Texas has never had an advocate equal to Frank Erwin.” LBJ might well feel grateful toward the man who has granted him so many favors. In addition to everything else, Erwin helped locate the LBJ Library on the site Johnson persohally selecteda site where a number of homes had been located. The library is huge and elaborate, with floors devoted to multimedia representations of the Johnson family’s life and hopes. This building and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, which adjoins it, officially cost the University $18 million; private esti We try to cover Texas too . . . The LBJification of U.T. here is a reprint of an article from our December 1971 issue