Texas A&M president resigns after 'woke' hiring controversy

 July 22, 2023

Katherine Banks has resigned, "immediately," from her position as president of Texas A&M University, according to the Associated Press

Banks submitted her resignation letter on Thursday.

In that letter, she explained that she is retiring because the "negative press" from her recent hiring controversy "has become a distraction" for Texas A&M.


The most recent controversy stemmed from Banks' attempted hiring of Kathleen McElroy to revive the school's journalism department.

Banks initially hired McElroy for a term of five years, but this contract was reduced to one year after McElroy's background finally came to light - only after McElroy was hired.

It was discovered that McElroy is a former New York Times editor who also supervised the journalism school of the more liberal University of Texas. And, it was discovered that, in these capacities, McElroy worked to improve diversity and inclusion in newsrooms.

McElroy, ultimately, decided not to take the job after the terms of the initial job offer were changed.

Now, a fact-finding committee has been created to investigate the hiring of McElroy.

"I must retire immediately"

In her resignation letter, Banks wrote:

The recent challenges regarding Dr. McElroy have made it clear to me that I must retire immediately. The negative press is a distraction from the wonderful work being done here.

Banks' retirement comes roughly two years after she became the universities president.

The Texas Tribune reports that Banks' "two-year tenure . . . was often met with pushback from faculty and students who consistently raised concerns with the direction she was taking the university and the way in which her administration was communicating its vision."

The outlet writes:

During that time, faculty leaders have passed resolutions calling for more involvement in university decisions, and research leaders on campus raised concerns with her administration’s decision-making. She was forced to walk back the decision to abruptly end the print publication of the university’s student newspaper, The Battalion, after students and alumni protested. Her administration also faced pushback from students after the school decided to cut funding and sponsorship of an annual campus drag show, known as Draggieland. Throughout all of that, [A&M System Chancellor John] Sharp has remained supportive of Banks’ leadership.

Looking forward

Now, Mark A. Welsh III, the dean of Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service, is serving as the acting president of the university.

It is unclear whether the university is currently looking for a new president.

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