More bad news coming from Texas A&M University. It turns out that in the midst of all the Elsa Murano stuff that went down about a month ago, there was also a big fight over money (who’s surprised?). According to the Houston Chronicle,
The academic squabble that resulted in the ouster of Elsa Murano as president of the state’s second-biggest university last month centered, in part, over whether the university or the A&M system should control about $600 million in research funding, the Chronicle reported recently….Overlooked in the academic infighting is about $100 million worth of grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund, that big puddle of tax dollars the governor is supposed to use to seal corporate relocation deals.
Instead of serving its original purpose, however, this money has been going to A&M. Ousted President Elsa Murano wrote in February that the University was hemorrhaging money from this account, and having to add $2 million annually to keep it viable.
The kicker? This is all taxpayer money. To be clear, public universities receive public money to operate, but this money is in addition to the amount allotted by the legislature. Furthermore, the money is supposed to be used to help businesses relocate to Texas–something Perry touts every chance he gets. In this case, it appears the words and actions aren’t acting in concert.
The commentary wraps up the situation in clear and plain terms:
Perry and his buddies running the A&M system used what are supposed to be economic development funds as a backdoor appropriation.
The enterprise and tech funds have been plagued by shifting definitions of their use and a lack of accountability.
No matter how you define them, though, neither fund was supposed to finance universities already supported by our tax dollars.
The battle for control, and perhaps the soul, of A&M rages on. Somewhere, lost in the fight, is a huge pile of taxpayer money that isn’t supposed to be there.