UT President Bill Powers won't be fired, stepping down in 2015 - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

UT President Bill Powers won't be fired, stepping down in 2015

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The controversy surrounding the forcing out of UT President Bill Powers came to a dramatic resolution today in front of UT faculty and the press.

Powers will get to keep his job -- at least for another year.

Ever since it became apparent last week that Powers' days as UT's President were numbered, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support for him from faculty and students.

Wednesday afternoon, members of the Faculty Council met with the press to speak out in support of Powers.

Council Chair Hillary Hart says the Provost, Gregory Fenves was there -- but he wasn't on the list of speakers...that is until he briefly left the room.

"When he came back in, he tapped me on the shoulder and said 'Can I speak to the council for a few minutes?' So pretty dramatic," she said.

"President Bill Powers will continue as president at the University of Texas in Austin through the next academic year...including with the legislative session," Fenves said to an applauding crowd.

Obviously, there wasn't much point in continuing the meeting. So after much applause, the Faculty Council adjourned. Then Powers himself took to the podium to thank his supporters.

"I just want to begin by saying 'I think this is a great day for the University of Texas," Powers said to more applause.

Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa initially told Powers to resign or he might be fired. But Powers responded saying he would rather make a "graceful" exit in 2015 instead of an abrupt one.

Cigarroa accepted. Powers will stay on until June of next year.

"This is a plan for me that makes sense for me personally, makes sense for my wife Kim. I think makes sense for the university," he said.

In a statement following the announcement, the chancellor says he agrees this is the best course.

He called Powers an admired leader who has advanced the university in many ways.

"It is, however, time for an orderly change in leadership. While ultimately productive, the past years have not been without struggle and, at times, conflict and controversy. There was no single incident that prompted my decision to ask President Powers for his resignation last week, but a long history of issues with communication, responsiveness and a willingness to collaborate," Cigarroa said.

UT professor Martha Hilley says she didn't think anyone would win this but she says the winner is the university.

"In the state of Texas, you hear about the old saying that says 'He's all hat and no cattle.' Bill Powers has a great big hat. And it's a white hat. And his herd of Longhorns number in the thousands," Hilley said.

The Chancellor says next month, the board of regents will begin a national search process for the next president of UT.

In the meantime, President Powers says there's more to do -- including issues in the legislature.

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