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Ke it h Da n ne visited the bank’s trust department in December 1977 and were referred from there to Arthur Dilly, executive secre University Park 66 3311. N Inte ch rregional University Park Nvi on i o -416-y-412-851b pts University Presbyterian Chur . 2203 San A ntonio Ca Ca”2203 San Antonio – Nursery University Presbyt erian Church Nursery School 2203 San Antonio476-532. rsit Reirigeo q05 tqueces—. I .1 eadrne Co-OPWhitis– Valhalla Co-Op 210 lversity Ci ‘Texas Browning P1/41Y ‘Terminal-45 4-261 ‘Foundation Inc tary of the foundation and then executive assistant to the chancellor \(he now heads phone, Dilly confirmed that the foundation minutes, kept in his office at the university, were available for inspection. We then visited Dilly and were told that the minutes could be inspected, but only after we’d made a written request under the Open Records Act. So we did. Dilly responded by return mail that “The University of Texas Foundation, Inc., is not a part of The University of Texas System and requests for its minutes should be addressed to the appropriate corporate officer. Mr. Hayden Head . . . is the President of the Foundation.” The Observer then Wrote to Head, who replied that, as a private entity incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, the UT Foundation is not subject to the Open Records Act. Wrote Head: “Your request to inspect its official minutes is respectfully denied.” Dilly confirmed that his position had changed, and that he had been advised by legal counsel not to discuss the foundation further. After some research, the Obyrver wrote to E. D. Walker, then-president of the UT System \(and recently appointed quested records are officially maintained in the UT administrative offices and that the foundation directors are officially appointed by the Board of Regents which is to say that UTF and the UT system have more than a casual connection. The UTF officers agreed, at that point, to let the Observer inspect their minutes, but Walker made it clear the action was voluntary. He said: “We do not recognize that the records of the Foundation, a private foundation, are a part of The University System nor’are they sub ject to the provisions of the Texas Open Records Act. . . .” After reading the minutes, we wrote to Walker again, asking for detailed financial records and for a number of other specific items to follow up on foundation dealings hinted at in the minutes. The Observer also suggested that Walker comply with the provisions of the Open Records Act by seeking an attorney general’s opinion, were he to conclude the information we wanted is exempt. This request got nowhere, eliciting only a reiteration of Walker’s earlier position and a suggestion that we go ask Hayden Head for what we wanted. We tried again, explaining once more that we were requesting the records on the grounds that they are in the official possession of the university, this time citing a 1976 attorney general’s opinion concerning public access to the minutes of the Southwest Athletic Conference. The opinion says, in part: “We need not and do not deal with the issue of whether the Southwest Athletic Conference may be a governmental body. . . . The fact that the records were generated by another entity is irrelevant to the determination of whether they are public records when they are in the possession of the University of Texas or its official representative.” The AG concluded that the conference minutes are subject to disclosure under the Open Records Act. This letter also got nowhere fast. Walker differed with our opinion that Dilly is an official representative of the university, saying the foundation’s records are Dilly’s personal property and that “any employee is free to bring personal property and records onto System premises without making them System property.” This silly contention is belied by the factsDilly replaced the late W. D. Blunk as foundation secretary at the same time he replaced Blunk as chancellor’s assistant;* other foundation staff have also come and gone at the same time they came and went from university staff; and Dilly didn’t bring the records onto UT property since they were already there when he took the job. The foundation itself, which originally had offices in the Littlefield Home on the UT-Austin campus, now maintains the above-noted off-campus address at a private air terminal. None of these ploys amounts to any more than a fiction created to maintain the foundation’s secrecy. Since Walker won’t ask for the AG’s opinion that would settle this, the only recourse left under current law is for the Observer to sue the universityhardly a practical option, given our lack of funds for such an undertaking. Walker had us on technicalities, so our only resort is to print what we know. But the questions raised by what we’ve learned so far should not be left hanging. The Legislature should amend the Open Records Act to explicitly provide for public access to the doings of outfits like the University of Texas Foundation that operate in the public name; it should also repeal the exemption it granted such foundations from the financial disclosure requirements of the Non-Profit Corporation Act. Finally, the Legislature should consider seriously whether such entities serve any public purpose at all. To the extent that a state university has a legitimate need for funds, shouldn’t it be able to ask the Legislature for them or raise them openly from private sources that don’t need a secret foundation to hide behind? Roger Baker is an Austin-based freelance writer. * Besides the fact that UTF and UT have shared an airplane, offices, and stafffirst Blunk and now Dillythere are other little connections that show the “separation” of the two entities is a sham. Not only is UTF’s board handpicked by UT regents, but the two bodies have always shared a couple of board memberscurrently, UT regents Tom Law and Ed Clark sit on UTF’s board. Then there’s the Austin National Bank connectionANB is the depository of both UTF funds and UT system’s money, and the bank’s board members include UT regent Allan Shivers and UTF treasurer E. G. Morrison. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11