Texas A&M will pursue settlement with Kathleen McElroy after botched recruitment
Texas A&M allegedly toned down McElroy's job contract in response to "outside" worries about her prior work at The New York Times and research in diversity and inclusion.
Texas A&M University is working to reach a settlement with esteemed Black journalist Kathleen McElroy following her decision not to join the university’s staff.
The university system regents reportedly decided Sunday to pursue a potential settlement with McElroy, whose failed hire sparked controversy over claims of conservative meddling in faculty affairs at the College Station flagship, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Texas A&M allegedly toned down McElroy’s contract in response to “outside” worries about her prior work at The New York Times and research in diversity and inclusion, prompting her decision to withdraw from discussions to head its revived journalism program.
“I’m deeply grateful for the groundswell of support I’ve received, especially from Aggies of all majors, and my former and current students,” McElroy told The Chronicle. “There’s much more I could say and will say about what has unfolded. But for now, I’ll reserve those statements for a future date.”
In the wake of McElroy’s unsuccessful hiring, former Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks resigned, a move that came days after she denied any involvement in any alterations to the prestigious journalist’s contract.
A&M officials first expressed their joy at choosing to employ McElroy, a 1981 Texas A&M University graduate who formerly served as dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a tenured professor there.
Within weeks, the agreement fell through. As universities try to figure out how to deal with a statewide prohibition on diversity, equity and inclusion offices, McElroy’s possible job became mired in what she described as “DEI hysteria.”
McElroy reportedly initially thought her position would have little to do with diversity and equity, she maintained. However, outside concerns led her to receive a five-year nontenured job over the tenured job she had been offered. The university made a third offer for a one-year nontenured professorship and a three-year appointment to act as the journalism school’s at-will director.
She instead rejected the position, despite the fanfare.
During the same meeting Sunday to discuss McElroy’s settlement, Mark A. Welsh III was named interim president of Texas A&M. Welsh, the dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, was serving as acting president until the regents could elect an interim.
The Texas A&M System Office of General Counsel is investigating what went wrong during McElroy’s hiring procedure and will reportedly publicize their findings once complete.
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