Fenves will not consult Powers during start of presidency

Julia Brouillette

UT President Gregory Fenves has not communicated with former UT President William Powers Jr. since taking office, and the pair will likely not speak during the initial stages of Fenves’ presidency, Fenves said in an interview Wednesday.

Fenves, who started his term June 3, was the executive vice president and provost under Powers. Despite their close working relationship during Powers’ tenure, Fenves said they mutually agreed to keep their distance.

“I have a great relationship with Bill Powers, as I said I worked closely with him for seven years during actually most of his tenure as president,” Fenves said. “Once I became president June 3, we both decided that we did not need to communicate … I think he needed time to decompress from his nine years as president. He’s got other things he’s working on; he needs to spend time on that. I think Bill also recognized that I needed space to begin my presidency.”

Powers offered his letter of resignation last year to the UT System chancellor at the time, Francisco Cigarroa, after Regent Wallace Hall made allegations regarding Powers’ involvement with student admissions.

Cigarroa abruptly rescinded his public support of Powers following the allegations, asking that Powers step down or be fired. Powers initially refused, but then requested a “graceful rather than abrupt departure” after the spring semester.

Earlier this year, a report by Kroll Associates, Inc. revealed that Powers had helped secure admission for certain students despite objections by the admissions office.

Following Powers’ resignation, Fenves emerged as the front-runner for the position, edging out Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford in England, and UT-Dallas President David Daniel.

Fenves said he has seen Powers once since taking office, at last week’s football game against Notre Dame. Despite their limited communication, Fenves said the pair will likely remain friends. Powers did not return a request for comment.

“I have no doubt we’re going to continue to be friends, but we’re very different people, and we just made this mutual decision,” Fenves said.