Texas A&M Chancellor Mike McKinney wrote an open letter released Monday to address growing concerns in the Aggie community and throughout Texas about the presidency of Elsa Murano. The university’s first Hispanic and woman president resigned last Sunday following a scathing performance review by McKinney.
In the letter, the chancellor addresses two main topics: the evaluation of Elsa Murano and Gov. Rick Perry’s maneuvering to become Texas A&M’s president. On the first issue, he writes:
My cover letter to each of the CEOs requesting his/her self evaluation clearly states, “I see this process as a collaborative opportunity to review past achievements, evaluate the challenges that you face, set new goals and objectives, and develop new ideas on how we can continue progress toward excellence in education, research, and service for the state of Texas.”
Unfortunately for McKinney, it was a “collaborative opportunity” that prompted Murano’s resignation. She stepped down the day before a meeting of the board of regents was to take place. The topic of the meeting: Elsa Murano’s performance review. According to the regents, Murano need not attend this “collaborative opportunity.”
The second topic discussed by McKinney is a quirky one. The paragraph begins, “Now some are laying claim to a gubernatorial conspiracy.” I suppose by some, he means the Texas media, blogs and Aggie alumni? It continues:
To be clear, Gov. Rick Perry is a devoted Aggie and my friend. But any idea that he is involved in the day-to-day operations of Texas A&M is flat wrong. In the 25 years that I have known Rick Perry, he has never once mentioned even a thought about being president or chancellor of A&M. He likes serving as governor of Texas, and he fully intends to be elected for another term. Neither Gov. Perry nor I have a desire to run Texas A&M University. I do have a desire and a commitment to provide the kind of oversight a chancellor and a university system are supposed to offer as envisioned by the legislature.
McKinney had to throw himself in the mix at the end, to clear up the stories that state McKinney intends to combine the chancellor’s position with that of the president of TAMU. He faces strong opposition in doing so by students and faculty.
It will be interesting to see if this holds. If Rick Perry loses his bid to a fourth term as governor, this letter may come back to haunt both McKinney and Perry.