Following is the full text of a statement issued on Monday night by Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas system, regarding his request for the resignation of William C. Powers Jr. as president of the University of Texas at Austin.
The relationship between President Bill Powers, the Board of Regents and the Office of the Chancellor has been strained to the point of becoming fractured for several years. This was the case from my first day as chancellor and even preceded my arrival.
When I took office in 2009, I made it a priority to reach out to President Powers and to begin building a relationship based on cooperation and collaboration. Unfortunately, the relationship has continued to be difficult throughout my tenure as chancellor, with significant additional breakdowns in communication and trust in recent months and since my comments at the December 2013 Board of Regents meeting.
In conversations last fall that led to my December comments, President Powers conveyed his desire to remain in office at least until the conclusion of his capital campaign and fulfillment of his term as chair of the Association of American Universities in October 2014. In my effort to accommodate his request, I recommended to President Powers last week a timeline for his departure that would allow him to achieve and celebrate those two important milestones.
I respect all the good things Bill Powers has done for The University of Texas at Austin and his years of public service, and I want to come to an agreement that will allow for a graceful transition and a positive starting point for new leadership at UT Austin. I tried very hard to reach that agreement and am disappointed it has not happened.
At this point, the next step is for me to have a conversation with the Board of Regents and for them to deliberate on how to move forward. This will take place at Thursday’s Board meeting.
Everything I do is in the best interest of The University of Texas. In recent days I have been accused of acting at the direction of the governor or some members of the Board of Regents in this decision and of taking steps that will ultimately damage UT Austin. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have supported Bill Powers consistently for the last five years, but this latest decision originates with the UT System’s Office of Academic Affairs and my office and is based on a breakdown of communication, collegiality, trust and a willingness to work together for the good of the university.
The University of Texas is bigger than any one individual, whether it is a chancellor, president, regent, faculty member or anyone else. Every decision I make as chancellor is based on what is best for the university as a whole and its students and supporters, not for one individual. That will continue to be what guides me as I serve out my term.