A week after a rumor surfaced that UT president Bill Powers’ job was in danger, UT System chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has sat down for an interview denying that he’d been instructed or asked to fire the leader of the System’s flagship.
During more than seven minutes of tough, persistent questioning by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith, Cigarroa said that the report by Texas Monthly‘s well-connected Paul Burka that System regents wanted Powers fired was “absolutely” inaccurate.
After regents denied Powers’ request to raise tuition, Powers publicly expressed disappointment with their vote.
Cigarroa said he was “disappointed” by that. He stopped short of calling Powers insubordinate but added: “Like my mother says, ‘In conduct, maybe a little remediation there.'”
In terms of Powers’ long-term prospects, the chancellor left the future open, saying any UT official—including himself—must keep advancing the institution in order to keep his job.
“We’re all evaluated on a daily basis,” he said. “I know that if I plateau, or if I’m not advancing the university System as a whole, the board has the prerogative on any day to say, ‘Francisco, we’re not satisfied with your performance.’ … Same for presidents.”
The Coalition for Texas Excellence in Higher Education, which formed last year to address the state’s higher education controversy, said in a statement its members were pleased to see Cigarroa express support for Powers.
The statement added: “Both men are integral leaders for the University of Texas community, and with a UT Austin medical school that both have worked so hard for on the horizon, this positive affirmation comes at an exciting and important time for The University’s future.”
See the Texas Tribune‘s full report here.
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