Texas A&M President Elsa Murano resigns

Yesterday we learned that the president of my alma mater (Class of ’96) Elsa Murano resigned.  She had been in the lead role in Aggieland since January 2008.

Dr. Murano had received a poor review from A&M System Chancellor Mike McKinney for her work as leader of the university. Here is the Bryan-College Station Eagle’s recap of the appraisal.

On a scale of 1 to 5 — 1 being poor and 5 excellent — McKinney gives Murano a 1 for “team player,” 2 for “honesty/integrity” and a 3 for various personal attributes such as “acceptance of new ideas,” work ethic, judgment, loyalty and creativity. The review is broken up into five parts: leadership, management, constituent/customer relations, communication skills and personal attributes. Under the last two, she received no better than a 3, and nowhere in the review did she receive “excellent” marks.

The majority of the attributes — 23 — were ranked as average, and 13 were below average

This never seemed like a good match.  Not because Dr. Murano was the first Hispanic president (Dr. Murano was born in Havana) or because she was the first woman to lead the university.  And Murano had a long history with the school, first arriving on campus in 1995 which is always good in College Station.

But Murano was never embraced in a meaningful way by the university as a whole.  I’m not sure who the blame lies with, but obviously McKinney thought it lied with Murano.

I began following this one as soon as the news broke of McKinney’s review  a couple of weeks agoo.  I’m president-elect of the Texas A&M Black Former Students (2011-2013) and was deeply concerned about the way that Murano had been treated after The Eagle requested a copy of the review..

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Council of Principal Investigators and Texas A&M Hispanic Network all stood behind the embattled president.  But in the end, she decided to step back into a faculty position rather than face a public discourse of her job performance.

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