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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

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UPDATE: Watson responds to removal

Karan+Watson%2C+former+provost+and+executive+vice+president.
Photo by Texas A&M University

Karan Watson, former provost and executive vice president.

Provost and Executive Vice President of Texas A&M Karan Watson was removed from her position Tuesday night by President Michael K. Young due to a conflict of interest. The conflict was business dealings her spouse, Nancy Watson, conducting with the university, found via an internal audit, according to The Bryan-College Station Eagle.

The provost failed to follow the code of conduct and violated the ethics policy in five areas of the A&M System in business dealings with her spouse, who provided training services to the university. Nancy Watson was paid $438,733 through her conflict resolution company in Bryan-College Station for her services. The audit did not find information in regards to whether or not Nancy Watson directed staff members to use this company, and the claim of misuse of university funds was unsubstantiated, university officials told KBTX.

Karan Watson announced her retirement last August and planned to remain in her position until her replacement, Carol A. Fierke, the dean of the Rackham Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs in graduate studies at the University of Michigan, began. Douglas Palmer, Interim Chief Operations Officer at Texas A&M University at Galveston will serve as the Interim Vice President until Fierke begins on Sept. 1, according to a mass email sent by the Office of the President.

Karan Waston responded to these actions, stating through a press release that she was not granted due process and was denied a “meaningful opportunity” to respond. She also said that there is no evidence to support that either Karan or Nancy Watson choose to subvert bidding processes or required any department to use the center. 

Karan Watson said the evidence clearly shows that she recused herself from matters involving Nancy Watson and the Center and that all who were interviewed for the Internal Audit report were aware of their relationship. 

Additionally, she said that the allegation of misuse of funds was misleading, as these funds were consistent with market rates and did not have direct correlation to Karan Watson, as they pre-dated her time as the Director in the Office of Diversity. 

Overall, Karan Watson finds herself to not be in violation of the Texas A&M University System ethics policy or other policies pertaining to this issue. She said she disagrees with the audit report and can only speculate to any motives of the persons involved in prompting this action.

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