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HomeNewsTexas A&M President M. Katherine Banks Resigns Amid Fallout Over Journalism Program

Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks Resigns Amid Fallout Over Journalism Program

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Texas A&M College mentioned on Friday that its president was resigning “instantly” following a battle over the college’s shifting provides to a candidate who appeared set to steer its journalism college however in the end declined the place after dealing with pushback over her work selling range.

The president, M. Katherine Banks, submitted a letter of retirement late on Thursday, during which she mentioned that the adverse consideration over the journalism director, Kathleen McElroy, was a distraction for Texas A&M, one of many largest universities within the nation.

Ms. Banks’s resignation got here days after the resignation of the dean overseeing the college’s School of Arts and Sciences and in addition adopted a tense assembly between Ms. Banks and the college’s school senate on Wednesday. Throughout that assembly, Ms. Banks mentioned she was sorry that Ms. McElroy wouldn’t be becoming a member of the college and mentioned she was embarrassed by how the scenario had been dealt with. However she additionally instructed that she knew little in regards to the particulars of what had led to the shifting provides made to Ms. McElroy, a former New York Occasions editor and professor of journalism on the College of Texas.

Ms. McElroy had mentioned that Texas A&M had promised her a five-year contract however that she was in the end given a one-year deal after complaints from an alumni group and a conservative publication over her work selling range, together with an opinion column she wrote during which Ms. McElroy, who’s Black, mentioned it was essential to rent extra nonwhite school members.

Ms. McElroy in the end turned down the one-year contract, she mentioned, and the episode turned a full-blown disaster for Texas A&M after The Texas Tribune first reported on the controversy. Ms. McElroy described a collection of conversations during which the Arts and Sciences dean advised her that there was political pushback to her appointment.

“I mentioned, ‘What’s unsuitable?’” Ms. McElroy recalled of her dialog with the dean, José Luis Bermúdez. “He mentioned, ‘You’re a Black girl who was at The New York Occasions and, to those people, that’s like working for Pravda.’” Ms. McElroy, who left The Occasions in 2011, didn’t instantly return a name searching for touch upon Friday.

On the school senate assembly on Wednesday, Ms. Banks described a breakdown of communication within the strategy of attempting to rent Ms. McElroy however mentioned the college had stood by the provides it had made to her.

“Primarily based on what I understood, in any respect factors on this course of, she was coming right here,” Ms. Banks mentioned, including that the supply was nonetheless open.

However Ms. Banks confronted robust questions from school members, who criticized what they mentioned was political meddling within the college’s hiring course of and an embarrassing sequence of occasions.

“Apparently, nobody is aware of who made the supply, nobody is aware of what number of provides have been made, no person is aware of who signed which supply, and no person is aware of who learn or wrote these provides,” mentioned Raymundo Arróyave, an engineering professor. “Frankly, we glance incompetent.”

The school senate handed a decision to create a fact-finding committee to look into how Ms. McElroy’s hiring was dealt with.

In a press release on Friday, Chancellor John Sharp mentioned that Mark A. Welsh III, dean of the college’s authorities and public service college, would take over as president on an interim foundation.

Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.

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