was in partial compliance, but used as an incentive the threat of cutting approximately $295 million in federal financial assistance to Texas schools. She wanted a thorough, comprehensive plan by June 15. The 67th legislature thus inherited a confusing and frustrating legacy: 41 senior college and university campuses, some with construction funding, others with none, and 15 anxious governing boards, 135 influential regents, a demanding federal agency, and representatives eager to go to court unless a solution is reached. Popocatepetl How in silence on the great volcanic: cone snow has touched that would be heard as raindrops down below on the llano What Is PUF? Texas A&M was established in Brazos County in 1871 as a federal land grant college. Two years later the legislature established UT, setting aside 10% of the state’s lands in a Permanent University Fund. Substituting one million acres for the 10% figure in 1876, the legislature declared Texas A&M “a branch” of UT, thus allowing A&M a share of PUF. Seven years later another million acres were added to the endowment. From 1883 to 1925, with PUF lands generating an insignificant income, A&M disclaimed any “branch” relationship to UT and acquired funding from the general revenue. In 1923, though, the University struck oil on its Permian Basin land at Santa Rita No. 1, the first PUF oil well, prompting Texas A&M to again claim its share of PUF. Negotiations culminated in a 1931 deal, still binding today: A&M receives one third of the Available University Fund .\(AUF the two-thirds; cash from surface leases goes to UT. \(The “Aggie joke” about this goes, “Why does A&M get one-third of PUF? Because when they divided the As of May, 1981, the book value of the income and investments of PUF was $1.47 billion. The land, still carried on the books at its original price of $5 an acre, remains valued at $10 million, putting the total book value of the endowment at $1.48 billion. But using a recent study by Texas A&M researchers on the price of rural land, a crude estimate of the lowest value of the land sans oil puts it at $515 million or fifty times the book value, making the market value of PUF $1.8 billion. Since UT cannot borrow against the value of its land, its spokespersons claim such a figure is meaningless. The $1.47 billion includes income from leases on the now 2.1 million acres and the book value of investments of that in come. And not a cent of that money can be touched. Only the receipts, i.e., earnings from investments, can be spent by the universities. Even then, they can only sell bonds up to 20% of the value of the PUF. Many contend that without PUF Texas would have no nationally ranked public universities. “The University of Texas has been on the edge of excellence for decades. Part of the reason for that is the Texas commissioner of higher education. Sen. Lloyd Doggett of Austin whose district contains both UT-Austin and Southwest Texas State University, which is the university most in need of construction argues, “I think in a state like Texas, which has perhaps not always given education the funds it deserves, it is a political necessity to maintain the Permanent University Fund.” Because of PUF, UT was able to allocate $5 million for a federal institute of research in fusion energy, winning the facility in competition with NYU, Yale, MIT, and UCLA. Producing more doctoral graduates than any other university in the South, UT-Austin has the fourthlargest single campus student body in the nation and the ninth largest library system, with 4.5 million volumes. Yet, PUF money spent is not always spent wisely. Hobby believes most of it should be allocated for academic improvements: “I would like to see the Available University Fund used in different ways. . . . There is plenty of money there for academic excellence. . . . But it’s not academic excellence on one hand and bricks and mortar on the other.” Ashworth criticizes, “I see a great risk in leaving the delegation of a fund of that size to nine individuals responsible to nobody but their consciences . . . that money is on the stump.” But, as Delco, the chairperson of the House higher education committee, points out, “UT regents have tunnel vision. You may not agree with the concept of bricks-and-mortar, but you’ve got to admit that they’ve got the best bricks-and-mortar there is.” The late Frank Erwin defended PUF as the .provider for a “university of the first class” \(that catch-all phrase in the “If the Permanent Fund income is divided between all of the state colleges and universities in Texas, no one of them will have enough money to attain true excellence as a national graduate and research university, and the University of Texas at Austin will certainly not have enough money to do so.” But, grumbles Delco, “This garbage about the ‘university of the first class’ is thrown around to fund whatever they IUT regents] want to. . . . It is insulting to say we’re only going to fund one university of the first class.” By 1990 because of the deregulation of natural gas and oil and consequently more valuable mineral leases PUF is THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5 spatterings in las calles,fat explosions on banana leaves. On stone and ice hushed suffocant gray mist pronounces white as close as can be got to original world. R. G. VLIET
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