Texas A&M President M.  Catherine Banks resigns amid fallout from journalism program

Texas A&M University said Friday it is resigning as its president, following a conflict over the school’s transfer offers to a candidate who was poised to lead its journalism school but ultimately turned down the position after he faced a task to promote diversity.

Chairman, M. Katherine Banks submitted a letter of resignation late Thursday in which she said negative attention to press director Kathleen McElroy was a distraction for Texas A&M, one of the nation’s largest universities.

Ms. Banks’ resignation came days after the dean overseeing the university’s College of Arts and Sciences resigned, and on Wednesday Ms. A tense meeting followed between Banks and the university’s faculty senate. During that meeting, Ms. Banks said she was sorry McElroy would not attend the university and was embarrassed by how the situation was handled. But Ms., a former editor of the New York Times and a professor of journalism at the University of Texas. He also suggested he didn’t know much about the details that led to the changes McElroy was given.

Ms. McIlroy said Texas A&M had promised her a five-year contract, but was given a one-year deal after complaints from an alumni group. A conservative publication His work promoting diversity, including An opinion piece written by him Ms. McElroy, who is black, said it was important to hire more non-white teachers.

Ms. McElroy ultimately rejected the one-year contract, and the episode turned into a full-blown crisis for Texas A&M, according to the Texas Tribune. First reported On the controversy. Ms McIlroy described a series of conversations in which the Dean of Arts and Sciences told her there was a political push for her appointment.

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“I said, ‘What’s wrong?'” Ms. McElroy recalls his conversation with Dean Jose Luis Bermudez. She said, ‘You’re a black woman at The New York Times, and to these people, it’s like working for Pravda.

At the Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday, Ms. Banks described a communication breakdown in trying to hire McElroy, but said the university stood by its offers.

“From what I understand, at all points in the process, he’s coming here,” Ms. Banks said, adding that the offer is still open.

But Ms. Banks faced tough questions from faculty members who criticized what they said was political interference in the university’s hiring process and a series of embarrassing incidents.

“Obviously, nobody knows who made the offer, nobody knows how many offers were made, nobody knows who signed it, and nobody knows who read or wrote those offers,” said Raymundo Arróyave, an engineering professor. “Frankly, we look incompetent.”

The Faculty Senate passed a resolution to create a fact-finding committee to investigate how Ms. McIlroy’s hiring was handled.

In a statement released Friday, Chancellor John Sharp, dean of the university’s School of Government and Public Service Mark A. Welsh III will take over as president on an interim basis, he said.

Stephanie Saul Contributed report.

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