Texas state universities can withhold applicant recommendation letters from donors

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, talks with one of his attorneys during a pretrial motion hearing at the Collin County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News Via AP, Pool)

DALLAS (AP) - State universities won't have to release the letters they receive from top donors recommending applicants after an opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton's office.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas A&M University cited a Paxton opinion from September in denying a request for three letters sent to the university president. The opinion cites new law passed this year that prevents the release of information related to university applicants.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado, a Houston Democrat who helped write the change that was passed, said she didn't think recommendation letters should be exempt from public release as long as student information is redacted.

Dozens of donors, lawmakers, and high-profile alumni have written the University of Texas in recent years to recommend an applicant.

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