Dear Commons Community,
The chancellor of the University of Texas System Francisco Cigarroa and William Powers came to an agreement that allows Powers to continue as president of UT – Austin for another year until June 2015. As reported in the New York Times:
“The University of Texas has been engulfed in recent days in a long-simmering clash over turf, personality and ideology that has roiled the state’s political establishment, highlighted questions about the direction of public universities and brought the president of the flagship campus here close to being fired.
The battle has spurred divisions within the state’s dominant Republican Party, with prominent figures taking sides against the university regents and Gov. Rick Perry, who appointed them to their posts. Mr. Perry’s office denied any involvement, but he was widely seen as wanting the president, William C. Powers Jr., out. The chancellor of the University of Texas system, who once backed Mr. Powers, switched sides, and gave Mr. Powers what amounted to an ultimatum last week: Resign effective in October or risk being fired at the board of regents meeting on Thursday.
Mr. Powers refused, and on Wednesday, the chancellor and the president came to an agreement that gave Mr. Powers and his supporters a victory, allowing him to stay on as president for another year and preventing the regents from possibly firing, publicly and abruptly, a nationally respected academic leader.
A campus meeting of the Faculty Council that had been intended to show support for Mr. Powers turned into a celebration, with professors cheering and applauding, when the announcement was made that Mr. Powers would remain president until he formally resigns next June.
“I’m delighted to continue on,” Mr. Powers said in an interview, adding, “I try not to focus on the political aspects.”