Red Raiders, Texans deserve explanation
Chancellor Robert Duncan, a former state senator and enthusiastic Texas Tech University Red Raider booster, suddenly retired last week after a vote of “no confidence” by the university system’s board of regents.
Why? No one yet knows. There has been radio silence from the regents. Locals have a concern in this as Texas Tech, of course, has a regional center right here in Fredericksburg, housed at the Hill Country University Center along with Central Texas College.
Some suspect it’s because our former Aggie Governor Rick Perry had appointed Aggies to the TTU system board of regents. As we noted in this space in early July, Texas Tech has plans to offer a veterinary school. And that doesn’t sit well with some Aggies, particularly A&M Chancellor John Sharp. All the five regents offering the no-confidence vote were appointed by Rick Perry, now the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
There are big plans for the Fredericksburg TTU site. Our recent look at the Hill Country University Center master plan showed expanded offerings for hospitality, wine and food training, arts, nursing, and much of that is seen to be under the Texas Tech banner.
And it could be said there was no bigger champion for the expansion of our regional site than Duncan. In a January 2016 interview, the chancellor talked of growing local programs and seeking out any opportunities west of Interstate 35.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal noted that he helped Tech raise more than $581 million in philanthropic funds. He has designs on opening a dental school in El Paso, as well as the veterinary school, which would focus on educating veterinarians to serve rural areas of the state. In January, the university received a distinction that helps it on its way to be a Tier One research institution.
And Duncan had just told the Avalanche-Journal last month he had no plans of going anywhere.
So, it is looking as if the regents forced this decision. The supporters of this taxpayer-supported state institution, indeed all Texans, deserve answers. If it is because of petty, turf politics, then those regents need to be questioned.
As of this writing (Monday) regents have yet to give a reason for ousting Duncan, but they have named an interim chancellor, Tedd Mitchell, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center since 2010.
As the Avalanche-Journal editorial board stated: “Leadership requires communication, and regents are failing to provide competent leadership by choosing to make a significant decision like removing a chancellor without any explanation. Texas Tech deserves better.”