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TWU shies from frack involvement

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

Texas Woman’s University officials distanced themselves Wednesday from a paid political advertisement sent to Denton voters about the proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city.

Sue Bancroft, chairwoman and presiding officer of the TWU Board of Regents, sent an email to university employees Wednesday morning about the advertisement, which was a letter from Ann Stuart, the university’s former chancellor.

In the email, Bancroft said that the university cannot become involved in political issues.

“This letter expresses Dr. Stuart’s personal opinion only,” Bancroft wrote. “The university has no position on the issue, which will be decided by the citizens of Denton.”

TWU spokeswoman Amanda Simpson said the email served as the university’s media statement, too, and offered no additional comment on the matter.

The letter, dated October 2014 on letterhead “From the desk of Dr. Ann Stuart, Chancellor/President Emeritus Texas Woman’s University” began arriving in the mailboxes of Denton voters in the past week. It urged voters to defeat the ban.

Carine Feyten has been chancellor at TWU since July 1.

The bottom of the letter was stamped “Political ad paid by Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Economy.”

Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Economy did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

The sole gas well on TWU property, according to state records, did not produce and was plugged this summer.

It was drilled in 2003, after the university signed a gas and mineral lease with NationsGas.

The lease drew criticism because it was coordinated by Stuart’s husband, who worked for the university as an unpaid consultant and had ties to the oil and gas industry.

Stuart could not be reached for comment.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.