When administrators send Mike McKinney an e-mail, they often begin with “Howdy.” It may seem an informal introduction, but the Texas A&M University chancellor invites that sort of thing. Such is the way in Texas, where major deals can be brokered over football games – and handshakes are expected to be honored like contracts, McKinney says.
“This is Texas,” says McKinney, who runs the 11-campus system. “This is not some other places. Don’t give your word until you’re ready to keep it, and once you give your word you have to keep your word.”
When Robert Zimmer separated from his wife and disclosed to trustees that he was romantically involved with a faculty member, the University of Chicago president gave rise to a host of thorny issues. How will conflicts of interest be resolved? How long will Zimmer’s estranged wife remain in the presidential residence, where official university functions are still taking place? And, more broadly, how might Zimmer’s own credibility be affected by his decision to date a professor on the campus?