UTB/TSC split leads to threats to trustee member

In the fall of 2010, the University of Texas system informed Texas Southmost College that they would end their contract with the junior college, sometime between August 2014 and August 2015.

Trey Mendez, Brownsville attorney and TSC Trustee Place Four said a few months later they received two proposals on ways they could continue operations.

On February 17, Mendez said, the board of trustees voted to keep a partnership with the university system, but as an independent entity.

"Majority of the trustees felt that it was a better model because we would still be able to allow open admissions into TSC," Mendez said.

"Judging by the projections and the budgets, we'd still be able to have affordable junior college tuitions which is our goal."

Mendez said, if TSC had voted to continue as part of the university, they would've lost millions of dollars in assets and TSC taxpayers would've been forced to pay for a $102 million dollar bond debt, over the next 23 years.

However, not everyone is happy with the trustee's vote.

"A lot of people felt that I was the deciding vote in this entire matter," Mendez said.

It was a close four to three votes however, Mendez said, he's just doing what's best for students.

Mendez told Action 4 News, that he received a threatening email from a UTB e-mail account.

Action 4 News obtained a copy of the email.

It states in part: "If you do not rescind your vote, I will spend every last ounce of my energy organizing this community against you and your career as a lawyer in Brownsville.

This is not a threat, trey.

It is simply an honest statement of what I intend to do.

For me it's a matter of fidelity to the lord and to the gospel and a matter of justice for our students."

Mendez said the e-mail was inappropriate.

"It's just completely out of line," Mendez said. "It's an employee at UTB threatening a TSC trustee when there's a lot of controversy already going.

My political career as I see it is fair game, but my professional and personal life is something that's not a part of this and should not in any way threatened or affected by this."

Mendez said there is a lot of misinformation going around about the split, but added that he is willing to explain it to anyone wanting the accurate information.