Ruth Simmons will leave the presidency of Prairie View A&M University this month, four months earlier than she had previously announced.
“No one is more surprised than I by this premature end to my tenure,” Simmons wrote to the campus. “Indeed, I had counted on working assiduously to assure the success of my successor by completing in full and as ably as I can my responsibilities as president. However, I was informed recently that I could only continue as president with limited presidential authority. My immediate response was that I could not and would not agree to being president in name only.”
She added, “When I agreed almost 6 years ago to become president of Prairie View, I promised that I would be all-in from the moment I commenced my role until the moment I stepped down. I believe that promise to be inviolable. I cannot now become a leader accepting lowered expectations.”
Texas A&M system chancellor John Sharp told The Texas Tribune that presidents in the Texas A&M system who are leaving cannot hire senior staff or deans except on an interim basis so the new president can choose their team. Sharp said he informed Simmons he would not make exceptions.
“I am sorry she chose this path, but I am forever grateful for her service at Prairie View A&M University and look forward to even greater things in the future,” Sharp said in a statement.