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October 2023 Issue [Readings]

Tenure Track Attrition


From a meeting in July at Texas A&M University. In May, Kathleen McElroy had accepted a tenured position as the head of the university’s journalism program. The Texas Tribune reported that the university subsequently changed the offer.

president Katherine banks: I believe that we have good processes, good procedures, and excellent rules at this time. 

senator rajesh miranda: Dr. Banks, I base my comments only on what I’ve read. It does not make sense to me that there was this series of events, of an offer of full tenure on arrival, followed by an offer of a one-year appointment. You have not done a good job communicating what happened. Frankly, it’s hard to ignore the racial animus in here. If you were being subjected to a lot of pressure, I think you’d owe it to the faculty to resign. But you have not resigned. So I’m assuming that there are other things in play. 

president banks: Absolutely. Based on what I understood, Dr. McElroy was joining us August first. Whether or not there were arrangements beyond that? I wasn’t involved in those conversations. I can’t tell you what happened. 

senator Adam haney: I’m still trying to get my head around the timeline. There was an offer extended, and then Dr. McElroy accepted that, and then something happened, and then another offer was made. Could someone please explain what happened to prompt the additional offers?

president banks: Vice President Anand probably has the closest connection with that. 

vice president n. k. anand: Usually when an offer is made it comes to our office for review. In this case we did not get that. And when the second offer was made? We don’t have that either. 

senator haney: You’re saying that you have no record of an offer being made? Who oversees this?

vice president anand: In this case, to our knowledge, the offer didn’t even go to the dean’s office.

senator haney: I’m just not understanding who actually signed off on it.

senator maría irene moyna: The final offer that Dr. McElroy claims to have received came to her on July 9. Who was it signed by? Where is a copy of it?

vice president anand: Yeah, I think it, uh, you know I don’t have copy in front of me. It might have the dean’s signature?

senator moyna: There was also an offer for five-years renewable. 

vice president anand: That’s not true. 

senator moyna: I’m citing the newspaper. 

president banks: If the newspaper stated that there was a five-year offer made, we cannot find any documentation.

senator moyna: Dr. McElroy did share these letters with the Tribune. So those letters exist somewhere, presumably on university letterhead. So the mystery deepens. 

president banks: Yes. 

senator raymundo arróyave: If this is true, we don’t exude a very good image of competence. No one knows who made the offer, no one knows how many offers were made, nobody knows who signed whose offer, right? 

vice president anand: There is a space for the dean to sign but there’s no dean signature.

president banks: So, I would just say that I am embarrassed.

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October 2023

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