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Texas A&M University’s president and a vice president on Wednesday claimed ignorance and a procedural breakdown regarding the institution’s mishandling of the hiring of a Black professor and journalist.

“I am embarrassed,” President M. Katherine Banks told a Faculty Senate meeting, “that we are in a situation where we have an offer [for employment] that was released without the proper approvals.”

“However, it’s important to note that we honored that letter, we honored all the letters because it was no fault of the candidate—who was very, very qualified—that our administrative structure broke down,” Banks said.

Kathleen McElroy, a former New York Times editor, has told The Texas Tribune that she turned down a position to direct A&M’s revived journalism program after the university changed its offer of a tenured position to a one-year, at-will contract.

N. K. Anand, vice president for faculty affairs, told the faculty senators that “usually, when an offer is made, it comes to our office for review. And, in this case, we did not get that for review … and when the second offer was made, we don’t have that, either.”

“It didn’t even go to the dean’s office, and it was executed at the department level,” Anand said. “And the second offer that was made … same thing happened, so by the time we got involved it was after the fact.”

The executive assistant to the head of the Department of Communication and Journalism declined comment Thursday. McElroy also declined to comment.

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