Senate bill to merge SFA with UT discussed in committee hearing

Senate bill to merge SFA with UT discussed in committee hearing
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:08 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:09 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Senate Committee on Education held a hearing Thursday morning on a bill that would merge Stephen F. Austin University with the University of Texas system.

Senate Bill 1055 abolishes SFA and recreates it within the UT system. SFA would retain its name but with the notation “A member of the University of Texas System.” All students, faculty and tenured faculty will be offered a spot and SFA and all contracts and assets from SFA will transfer to the UT System. SFA would become the 14th member of the UT System.

Tyler native and University of Texas Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife and Stephen F. Austin University President Steve Westbrook spoke at the hearing.

“Our future is going to be very bright indeed,” Westbrook said after recounting the process the university went through to set up and approve the merger.

Eltife called the process “open and transparent.”

“We are honored and enthusiastic about taking the next steps with SFA in this process, with confidence that this union will make each of us stronger,” he said.

Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) said the decision to merge the universities “was not taken lightly.”

“I’ve never seen something so thoroughly researched in a decision like this,” he said.