The former University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism director, who’s also a veteran New York Times editor, turned down Texas A&M University’s offer to revive its journalism school after A&M changed its tenure offer to an at-will contract, The Texas Tribune reported Tuesday.
Kathleen McElroy, who remains a UT Austin professor, is a Black woman and A&M alumna.
A&M held a signing ceremony when it named her director last month, but then, the Tribune reported, “A&M employees told her an increasingly vocal network of constituents within the system were expressing issues with her experience at the Times and with her work on race and diversity in newsrooms, McElroy said.”
“According to McElroy, [José Luis] Bermúdez [interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences] told her that her hiring had ‘stirred up a hornet’s nest,’ that there were people against her and that, ‘even if he hired me, these people could make him fire me … that the president and the chancellor, no one can stop that from happening,’” the Tribune reported.
Bermúdez said in an emailed statement, “Texas A&M’s policy does not permit us to comment on personnel deliberations. However, we can confirm that Dr. McElroy has an offer in hand and that we have not been notified her plans have changed—we hope that’s not the case. We certainly regret any misunderstanding that may have taken place.”
A&M didn’t respond to Inside Higher Ed’s requests for comment Tuesday.