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Bill Powers to Remain UT President Through June 2015
Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 06:13 PM CDT
University of Texas President Bill Powers will stay on the job until June as part of a negotiated exit that will allow him to avoid being fired when the Board of Regents meets Thursday.
Powers had clashed for years with some board members. University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa met with Powers last week and urged him to resign effective in October or risk being fired.
Powers offered to quit in June, a deal Cigarroa accepted Wednesday.
Powers has led the 50,000-student Austin campus since 2006. He fought with governor-appointed regents over tuition and graduation rates and other higher education policies, and had survived previous attempts to fire him.
Cigarroa has described his relationship with Powers as "fractured" and cited a lack of trust between Powers and the board.
The UT System chancellor has accepted Powers' resignation, effective June 2, 2015. Chancellor's full statement:
Today UT Austin President Bill Powers submitted a letter of resignation, effective June 2, 2015, and I have accepted it.
President Powers, who has led great advancements for the University, has expressed a desire to remain in his position long enough to complete several important initiatives, lead the University through the upcoming legislative session, and allow for a smooth transition to new leadership. I honor his commitment to UT Austin and agree that this is the best course forward.
Next month, Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster plans to initiate an exhaustive national search process that will utilize a search advisory committee to assist in the selection of UT Austin’s next president. The committee will include representation of faculty, deans, students and community representatives of the University, as well as at least two current presidents from UT institutions and at least one member of the Board of Regents.
There is no doubt that UT Austin is the crown jewel of public higher education in Texas. As chancellor, I have done everything in my power to provide UT Austin with the resources it needs to reach even higher vistas, to ultimately achieve its goal to be recognized as the finest public research university in America. I believe that is a goal well within our sights.
President Powers is an admired leader who, as I’ve said before, has advanced the University in many ways. He is concluding a record-breaking $3 billion capital campaign, has worked with the UT System and the Board of Regents in the past year to establish the Dell Medical School and to launch construction of a $310 million Engineering Education and Research Center – which together will be a major catalyst for UT Austin to achieve the ranking and recognition it deserves – and he has earned the reputation as a national leader in higher education.
It is, however, time for an orderly change in leadership. While ultimately productive, the past years have not been without struggle and, at times, conflict and controversy. There was no single incident that prompted my decision to ask President Powers for his resignation last week, but a long history of issues with communication, responsiveness and a willingness to collaborate.
I truly believe that it is time for a fresh start and a chance to build a strong relationship. We will all be successful if we keep the future of UT in our hearts and minds. I sincerely thank the UT Austin faculty, students, staff and the UT System’s Faculty Advisory Council for their important input over the past week.
(AP Modified. Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)