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UT-Austin President Won't Be Fired, But Is Leaving In A Year

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BILL POWERS FRANCISCO
University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, left, waits to return to a UT Board of Regents meeting, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. After Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa backed Powers, the regent board declined to act against the Austin campus leader. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- After years of clashes with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the group that oversees the University of Texas System, University of Texas President Bill Powers will stay on the job until June 2015 in a negotiated exit agreed to Wednesday.

The resignation deal comes after University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa met with Powers last week and urged him to resign effective in October or risk being fired. Powers offered to quit in June, a deal that Cigarroa accepted after Powers' allies on campus and in the state Capitol rallied behind him.

Powers has led the 50,000-student Austin campus since 2006. He fought with governor-appointed regents over tuition and graduation rates and other higher education policies, and had survived previous attempts to fire him.

The University of Texas System announced the resignation deal in a statement Wednesday, as UT's provost told faculty during a meeting.

On Monday, Cigarroa had described his relationship with Powers as "fractured" and cited a lack of trust between Powers and the board.

In accepting the deal that keeps Powers on the job another year, Cigarroa called Powers "an admired leader who, as I've said before, has advanced the University in many ways."

Powers' office did not immediately release a statement. The Board of Regents is still scheduled to meet in Austin Thursday and the agenda includes a closed-door discussion on Powers employment.

Powers has had several high-profile clashes with Perry and the regents over higher education policies. Perry is not running for re-election and Powers' supporters had suggested the latest attempt to push him out was a last-ditch effort to fire him before Perry leaves office in January.

Cigarroa had denied any political motivations to get Powers out.

"It is, however, a time for an orderly change in leadership. While ultimately productive, the past years have not been without struggle and, at times, conflict and controversy,"Cigarroa said. "I truly believe that it is time for a fresh start.

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