U. of Texas System Board Chair Reproaches Factions

July 11, 2014

AUSTIN, Tex. -- The chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents said he was displeased with how some factions protested the attempted ouster of UT Austin President Bill Powers, whose job was saved this week, arguably by some of those very protests.

Board Chairman Paul Foster, during a regents' meeting Thursday here, said it was inappropriate to direct insults at system Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. The chancellor last week threatened to fire Powers if Powers did not resign by Thursday's meeting. Reports of the threat prompted faculty, alumni and students to rush to Powers's defense in recent days. The result was that Powers did tender his resignation Wednesday but as part of a deal that allows him to continue to lead the campus until next summer, long past the chancellor’s exit plan for the president.

Foster, a wealthy businessman, carefully but firmly reproached a host of factions: university leaders who would not respect the authority of the board; alumni and external groups who apparently sent “derogatory and threatening notes” aimed at the chancellor; and lawmakers who were trying to interfere with the system’s operations. “I sincerely hope we never revisit this unfortunate chapter in the history of our great state,”  Foster said.

Another board member, Alex Cranberg, agreed things had gotten quite heated over the past week. “I think it’s time for people to put their swords down and look to the future,” he said.

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