Regents removed chancellor Duncan by “not” acting, public record said

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Robert Duncan’s departure from Texas Tech did not come from a letter of resignation or even a notice of retirement.  It came from a “transition agreement” which Texas Tech released Friday afternoon as the result of an open records request.

Duncan’s retirement came suddenly and unexpectedly on August 13. Many sources and multiple media outlets said Duncan’s departure was under pressure.  Duncan’s departure has caused controversy including but not limited to a very public dispute between Governor Greg Abbott and political donor George McMahan of Lubbock. 

Sources for have said Duncan’s support for a proposed school of veterinary medicine did not sit well with everyone.  The chancellor of Texas A&M was publicly vocal about his opposition to Texas Tech having a vet school. 

A source for also said that during a closed-door meeting on August 10, the Texas Tech Board of Regents essentially voted without actually taking an official vote on Duncan’s future.  It was four in support of Duncan, and five not in support, according to sources. 

State Senator Charles Perry also said the vet school was an issue, and he was not happy to see Duncan leave Texas Tech.  

In the time since then, chairman L. Frederick “Rick” Francis wrote an op/ed article saying regents had a different vision than Duncan.  Among the concerns was that the chancellor’s office had too big of a budget.

The transition agreement says the board “has not acted” to extend the term of Duncan’s contract which started in July of 2014.  

“Chancellor Duncan has stated his intent to retire as of June 30, 2019,” the agreement said.  But he’s out as of August 31.  Tedd Mitchell was named as the interim chancellor as of September 1. 

Duncan keeps his salary through June 30, 2019, which is $686,397, according to a 2017 article by the Texas Tribune.  Duncan also gets moving expenses not to exceed $12,000.

The full text of the agreement is copied below. CLICK HERE to see a PDF of the agreement. 

Transition Agreement

lnasmuch as the Board of Regents has not acted to extend the term of the employment
contract of Chancellor Duncan, Chancellor Duncan has stated his intent to retire as of June 30, 2019.

There being a need, however, to facilitate a prompt transition of duties to an interim
chancellor, it is agreed that the Chancellor will cease his duties as of August 31, 2018. ln return for the Chancellor’s cooperation to facilitate this important transition, the Chancellor will receive payment of all sums which would have been paid under his contract as if he had retired as of June 30, 2019.

Further, in order to facilitate this transition, and in accordance with past policy, the
System will reimburse the Chancellor for reasonable moving expenses supported by
documentation as required by Texas Tech University policy, but not to exceed $12,000.

(Signed by Rick Francis and Robert L. Duncan) 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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