Powerful Aggie Alums Don’t Like Perry Higher Education Reforms
Governor Rick Perry's ideas for reforming higher education are drawing criticism from some powerful people at his own Alma Mater, Texas A&M.
Twenty-two "distinguished alumni" at Texas A&M University are criticizing Perry's higher education reforms, and an influential campaign contributor, as "naïve … proposals from inexperienced individuals."
In an "Open Letter to the Texas A&M University Community", the group criticizes proposals made by Jeff Sandefer, an Austin businessman and architect of the "Seven Breakthrough Solutions," which have been championed by Perry as a means of making higher education more cost-effective.
Sandefer, who has contributed nearly $450,000 to Perry's campaigns, sent his own mass email this week defending his ideas as a pathway to "a superior education at a far lower cost."
The A&M graduates say this kind of high level political intervention and influence could damage A&M's reputation, and would fundamentally change the ways research universities fulfill their educational responsibilities.
Most of the signatories are wealthy Texas businessmen who have contributed generously to A&M, and have served in leadership positions at the university. Perry graduated from A&M in 1972.