GALVESTON (CN) – The Texas Faculty Association sued the University of Texas System over its Board of Regents decision to fire 3,800 employees of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. UTMB, one of the nation’s leading trauma centers and teaching hospitals, suffered more than $710 million in property damage and lost revenue when Hurricane Ike flattened Galveston Island in September. The hospital faces years of rebuilding.
The Faculty Association asked the Galveston County Court to declare the Regents’ decision invalid because it issued from a closed door executive meeting, a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Faculty Association attorney Joseph Jaworksi has publicly acknowledged that the lawsuit is not likely to save any jobs, as the Regents need only hold a public meeting to discuss the issue to satisfy the law. But Jaworski said he hopes the litigation will bring public attention to the firings.
Many Galveston officials and citizens fear the UT System is using the storm damage as an opportunity for a long-rumored move of the medical school to Austin.