In a letter to UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on Wednesday, 17 student leaders at the University asked him to work with President William Powers Jr. on developing a timetable for Powers’ exit at the end of the 2015 legislative session.
Cigarroa, who asked Powers to resign on July 2, said he wanted to Powers to leave by October – coinciding with the end of Powers’ $3 billion fundraising campaign and his chairmanship of the Association of American Universities – in a statement released on Monday. In a July 4 letter to Cigarroa, Powers said he wanted to remain in his position until the conclusion of next year’s legislative session.
In their letter to Cigarroa, the student leaders said Powers’ leadership will be needed during that time.
“There is no doubt that the legislative session will be a critical time for our university and will require the guidance of an experienced leader who is knowledgeable about UT-Austin,” the student leaders said in the letter. “At this time, his removal would not only harm the students, faculty, and staff, but also harm the legacy and integrity of this great university.”
The letters authors include Student Government President Kori Rady, SG assembly Speaker Braydon Jones and Geetika Jerath, Senate of College Councils president. A separate letter asking that Powers not be immediately removed and signed by current and former SG presidents and vice presidents was sent to Cigarroa and the Board of Regents on Tuesday.
A petition in support of Powers has garnered 13,000 signatures.
In his statement, Cigarroa said his decision to ask Powers to resign was because of “a breakdown of communication, collegiality, trust and a willingness to work together for the good of the university.” Cigarroa also said since he was unable to reach a mutual agreement with Powers and will discuss his employment with the regents at a meeting on Thursday.
Student leaders are planning a march from Republic Square to the meeting on Thursday morning at 8:15 a.m.