Sources: Powers Being Pressured To Step Down

Texas president Bill Powers, who has survived roughly a half dozen attempts to have him ousted by a faction of University of Texas regents loyal to Gov. Rick Perry, may be facing the most serious threat to his presidency right now, two sources close to the situation said Friday.

UT chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has told Powers to step down or face a vote at the Texas regents meeting July 10 that could end his tenure, the sources said.

Sources said Powers is willing to negotiate with the regents about a departure that would be mutually agreeable. One source told on Friday that Powers would agree to step down at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Some have speculated that the latest threat to Powers' presidency from the regents came as a result of some policy stance by Powers regarding the university. But sources told it appears to be pure politics - Perry's last chance to appoint a more conservative-leaning president of UT before Perry leaves the Governor's Mansion at the end of the year.

Powers, whose one-year chairmanship of the American Association of Universities (the top research institutions in the country) ends in October, survived a coup by the Perry regents in 2012. He survived another one in early 2013 and then again in December of 2013. Powers survived because he's long had the support of the faculty, students, the Legislature and big-money UT donors.

But the conflicts between Perry and Powers over everything from how higher education should be structured at the state's flagship university to battles over tuition freezes imposed by Perry to simple conservative vs liberal politics may have finally led up to this moment.

The agenda for the July 10 board of regents meeting will be posted on Monday. And Powers' future will be at the top, sources said.

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