Cigarroa: Powers to resign effective June 2
Austin, TX — University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that UT-Austin President Bill Powers will resign effective June 2, 2015.
That timeline is in keeping with an exit strategy Powers had proposed in a July 4 letter to the chancellor.
On July 2, Cigarroa had asked Powers to agree to resign effective at the end of October, or else be fired at a UT System board of regents meeting on July 10. In offering what he considered a more "graceful" timeline, Powers rejected the first option and appeared to be risking the second. That was until Cigarroa's statement was released.
"This is a plan for me that makes sense for me personally, makes sense for my wife, Kim, and I think makes sense for the university," Powers said in an impromptu press conference held in a room where the university's faculty council — believing the president was one day from being fired — had gathered to pass a resolution supporting him.
"We came to this decision because everyone involved has the highest love and admiration for this university," Powers said. He also thanked Cigarroa and Paul Foster, the chairman of the UT System board, "for working very hard to get this worked out."
He noted that in his remaining months at the university, he intends to work on initiatives to improve student success and lay a strong foundation for a new medical school.
Powers said that he does not intend to leave the university. After resigning, he said he plans to take some time off, teach in the law school and write some books.
Here's Cigarroa'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.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Paul Foster is a major donor to the Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/09/cigarroa-powers-resignation-effective-june-2/.