University of Texas at Austin
McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

Interim Dean Lillian Mills’ Response to McCombs Employee Arrest

Dear McCombs Community,

We are shocked, devastated, and saddened by news of serious allegations that have led to the arrest of a McCombs employee. Today, I am reaching out to our community to be as transparent as possible about the ongoing situation.

The university recently issued this statement in response to news of the allegation:

The University of Texas at Austin learned Friday, October 2, 2020, that the Criminal Investigations Division in the Office of the Texas Attorney General arrested an adjunct faculty member, Mario Villarreal, on charges related to child pornography. A managing director at the Salem Center for Policy at the McCombs School of Business, Villareal was immediately placed on investigation leave and removed from all teaching and administrative duties.

The university performed a criminal background check when Villarreal was hired in 2019, which did not reveal any information related to prior criminal conduct or charges. The university is cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities as they investigate all matters related to the disturbing allegations raised in this case.

I understand this news is upsetting and may trigger strong emotions for some of you. With this in mind, please make sure to access resources available to you if needed:

At this time, I have no other information on this issue, which is being handled by law enforcement officials, but I will keep you informed if there is news I can share. Should any members of the media reach out to you, please refer them to our communications director, Catenya McHenry, at

These unfortunate circumstances do not change the core of who we are as a school. We have weathered many difficulties this year through our collaboration, innovation, and commitment to high-quality instruction, experiential learning, and groundbreaking research. We are a community that continues to be resilient in the face of tough times, and this time will be no different.

Lillian F. Mills signature

Lillian F. Mills
Lillian F. Mills
Interim Dean
Lois and Richard Folger Dean’s Leadership Chair
The Beverly H. and William P. O’Hara Endowed Chair in Business