Powers to UT Chancellor: I won’t resign on your schedule

Bill Powers speaks after announcing he will resign as UT president. (Paul Shelton/KXAN)
Texas president Bill Powers during a news conference Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s still more work to do, University of Texas at Austin President William Powers, Jr. said in a letter to the UT Chancellor in which he countered an instruction to resign or be fired.

In the letter to Francisco Cigarroa, Powers confirms that he was asked to resign, and says he will do so on his own timetable at the end of the legislative session.

Friday, the Texas Exes, the official alumni group of the University of Texas at Austin, emailed supporters saying Powers was asked to resign prior to the Board of Regents meeting this week.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Powers’ work

  • Since 2006, the Campaign For Texas, which Powers championed, has raised $2.92 billion. That’s just shy of the overall goal of $3 billion.
  • That money could help fund research projects and schools, including the Dell Medical School. Powers, along with a host of other officials, pushed for the medical school in Austin.
  • And in the last few years, he led UT’s defense of its diversity system. Part of that is the ’10 percent rule’, and the use of race among admission factors. The U.S Supreme Court kicked the Fisher v. University of Texas case back to the lower courts. The court said affirmative action programs need to be strictly reviewed, but did not outlaw the programs.

Powers’ letter, dated July 4, argues delaying the timetable would be in the best interest of the university.

“…an abrupt change now would seriously disrupt the progress of UT Austin. A more constructive course of action would be for me to step down as President at the conclusion of the legislative session,” Powers said.

“I understand that this response is different from your request I resign this year. I do think my proposal to resign at the end of the legislative session is a constructive one and in the best long-term interest of UT Austin.

Powers concluded his letter to Chancellor Cigarroa saying, “Both of us will be leaving our roles shortly. It is incumbent on us to do so in a way that builds up rather than destabilizes the public treasure that is The University of Texas and all those whose lives are touched by it.”

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