Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of the Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), will be stepping down at the end of the month, four months earlier than her expected resignation date on Jun. 1, The Texas Tribune reported.
The sudden change of plans appears to be due to a conflict about hiring powers with Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp during the rest of Simmons’ tenure. In a Feb. 10 letter to the campus community, Simmons said she was informed that she could only continue with limited presidential authority.
“My immediate response was that I could not and would not agree to being president in name only,” Simmons said. “No enduring good can arise from subservience to low standards and expectations.”
Sharp said in a statement that outgoing Texas A&M System presidents cannot hire senior staff or deans except on an interim basis so that incoming presidents can choose their own team. He told Simmons he would not make exceptions and she chose to resign, Sharp said.
“I am sorry she chose this path, but I am forever grateful for her service at Prairie View A&M University and look forward to even greater things in the future,” Sharp said in a statement.
Simmons had announced her resignation plans last March. The original plan was for her to remain in the role until the incoming president, Dr. Tomikia LeGrande, took on the role Jun. 1. Now, the system said it will appoint an interim president in the meantime before LeGrande begins her presidency.
“I will support the efforts of faculty, staff and students who seek the best for themselves and their university,” Simmons wrote. “We must not be held hostage to how others choose to see us or treat us, but, instead, continue to chart our own path demonstrating the pride, commitment and integrity that defines us.”