The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

The No. 3 Texas A&M baseball team took on No. 1 Tennessee Thursday at 1 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. Despite its...

Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Department head says Banks misled faculty and public, claims forged signature on McElroy offer

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Hart Blanton, Ph.D., head of the Department of Communication and Journalism at McElroy’s initial contract signing ceremony outside the Academic Building on June 13, 2023.

In a July 21 document emailed to select Texas A&M faculty, Hart Blanton, Ph.D., head of the Department of Communication and Journalism, stated former university President M. Katherine Banks was dishonest about Kathleen McElroy’s botched hiring during the July 19 emergency Faculty Senate meeting and claimed his signature was forged on the second written offer sent to McElroy by the university.
Blanton said contrary to Banks’ claims, the administration was unusually present during the hiring of McElroy.
“Then-President M. Katherine Banks misled the Faculty Senate,” Blanton wrote. “She represented that the decisionmaking that led to the crisis was at the department level. To the contrary, President Banks injected herself into the process atypically and early on.”
Blanton said at least one administrator attributed the scrutiny McElroy’s candidacy received from the university to her race. 
“The unusual level of scrutiny being given to the hiring of Dr. McElroy was acknowledged by one administrator to have been based, at least in part, on race,” Blanton said. “Regardless of the source of any such pressure,  I understand it to be illegal for any employer — much less a public university — to subject a job candidate to stricter scrutiny due to her race or color.
The subsequent, diminished offer made to McElroy, which Banks stated during the Faculty Senate meeting that the administration was unaware of, was made without Blanton’s approval, Blanton said. The offer included terms for a one-year contract as director and professor of practice without tenure upon arrival. Despite this, the offer still contained his signature.
“I was shocked to learn an earlier draft of a job offer letter for Dr. McElroy was altered and sent to her without my advance knowledge,” Blanton said. “The altered draft retained my electronic signature, but reduced the appointment from an earlier-discussed multiyear term to one.”
Blanton did not offer any speculation on where the one-year offer originated beyond the above statement, but said he was “pleased” by Banks’ departure.
“I was pleased to see that the President resigned,” Blanton wrote. “Texas A&M cannot have leaders misleading the faculty, public, or policymakers about how we conduct business.”
The document concluded with a call for a comprehensive investigation on the failed McElroy hire.
“I request a full and independent investigation of these incidents to be conducted,” Blanton wrote. “Lest they be repeated.”
Blanton’s legal representation, David Schleicher, said the statement was made in Blanton’s personal capacity and that Blanton does not plan on making further public comment.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *