University of Texas forces out law school dean Larry Sager
December 9, 2011
The dean of the University of Texas School of Law was forced to step down Thursday amid criticism by some faculty members about his allocation of donated funds to professors.
Larry Sager had planned to conclude his deanship at the end of the 2011-12 academic year. But UT President William Powers Jr., a former law dean who named Sager his successor in 2006, told the American-Statesman that the faculty had become so divided over Sager's leadership that an immediate change was needed.
One of the issues apparently is Sager's receipt of a $500,000 forgivable loan from the UT Law School Foundation, a private group that provides salary supplements, mortgage loan assistance and other financial support to faculty members. Sager said there was nothing improper about that, and Powers agreed.
"There's absolutely no allegation by anyone of misappropriation of funds or anything of that sort," the UT president said. Asked whether more oversight of foundation money is needed, he replied, "We'll address that as we go forward."
Sager, who remains a tenured member of the law faculty, said his dealings with Powers had been rocky.
"Our relationship was blemished by a deep personality conflict," Sager said, adding that he was proud of recruiting and retaining "a first-rate faculty."
The $500,000 loan, which was awarded in 2009 at a time when deans, vice presidents and other top university officials were under a salary freeze, was extended by the then-president of the foundation and approved by its executive committee, Sager said.