Texas A&M president resigns amid scandal over college withdrawing job offer to Black professor

Katherine Banks, president of Texas A&M, is herself out of a job after the college backed off its job offer to a prominent Black professor. Kathleen McElroy, a former New York Times editor, was invited to reboot Texas A&M's moribund journalism program, but conservatives complained she was took woke and the offer was effectively rescinded, triggering a media scandal and threats of legal action.

Her exit comes as Republican lawmakers across the U.S. are targeting diversity, equity and inclusion programs on college campus. That includes Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill in June that dismantles program offices at public colleges.The A&M System said in a statement that Banks told faculty leaders this week that she took responsibility for the "flawed hiring process" of Kathleen McElroy, a former New York Times editor who had been selected to revive the school's journalism department. The statement said "a wave of national publicity" suggested that McElroy "was a victim of 'anti-woke' hysteria and outside interference in the faculty hiring process."

My first thought is that political pressure on the college made Banks' job impossible and she reasonably and rationally decided to get out ASAP, but there are reports she forged a colleague's signature to cover amendments to the job offer. I'm sure it'll all come out in the wash, like your tears if you got your degree at this place in the Before Time.

"The unusual level of scrutiny being given to the hiring of Dr. McElroy was acknowledged by one administrator to have been based, at least in part, on race," Blanton said. "Regardless of the source of any such pressure,  I understand it to be illegal for any employer — much less a public university — to subject a job candidate to stricter scrutiny due to her race or color.

The subsequent, diminished offer made to McElroy, which Banks stated during the Faculty Senate meeting that the administration was unaware of, was made without Blanton's approval, Blanton said. The offer included terms for a one-year contract as director and professor of practice without tenure upon arrival. Despite this, the offer still contained his signature.

"I was shocked to learn an earlier draft of a job offer letter for Dr. McElroy was altered and sent to her without my advance knowledge," Blanton said. "The altered draft retained my electronic signature, but reduced the appointment from an earlier-discussed multiyear term to one."