Janiece Longoria, Rad Weaver and Kevin Eltife at their Senate confirmation hearing. Photo by Jay Janner
When Robert Estrada’s six-year term on the University of Texas System Board of Regents wound up stretching to nine years, he declared that the experience reminded him of the film “The Long Goodbye,” adapted from a novel by Raymond Chandler.
Estrada served until February 2008, when his replacement, Janiece Longoria, was sworn in. She served the remaining three years of a six-year term and exited the board in 2011. On Wednesday morning, she returned to the board in what might be dubbed “The Short Hello.”
Longoria, a lawyer from Houston, along with former state Sen. Kevin Eltife of Tyler and San Antonio businessman Rad Weaver, enjoyed a swift process of nomination, confirmation hearing and Senate approval, the latter of which came Tuesday evening. The three were sworn in Wednesday morning by a UT System staffer who is also a notary in time for the start of a two-day board meeting.
Gov. Greg Abbott nominated the trio on Jan. 23, and their Senate confirmation came 15 days later. In contrast, Abbott’s three previous nominees, in 2015, weren’t approved by the Senate until a month and a half after he named them.
One of Wednesday’s outgoing UT regents, Wallace L. Hall Jr., had charged that the swift pace this time was an effort to short-circuit his legal case before the Texas Supreme Court concerning access to records from an investigation into admissions practices at the Austin flagship. Hall was concerned because he likely wouldn’t have any right to see confidential student records once he was replaced on the board.
Alas, the Supreme Court ruled against Hall’s bid for the confidential records before his replacement was confirmed. The swearing-in of Longoria, Eltife and Weaver to six-year terms also marked the departure of Alex Cranberg and Brenda Pejovich from the UT board.