The dean of the University of Texas Law School, Larry Sager, has announced that he will resign from his post effective immediately, according to The Texas Tribune.
“The fact of the matter is, and there’s no two ways about this fact, that I resigned now because I was asked to by the president of the university,” he said.
The president of the University of Texas, Bill Powers, said that there has been growing concern over Sager’s management of the law school at the university. “There are some deep divisions among the faculty,” Powers said. “That’s an atmosphere that’s not conducive to the productivity of a faculty. I was hopeful that when the faculty knew that, after a dean search, there would be new leadership that some of the concerns of the faculty would abate. That has not been the case.”
Sager originally announced back in August that he would be stepping down as the law school dean at the end of the academic year but no reason was given.
Powers said that a search committee has been searching for a new dean for the law school and that there would be no change to it with the sudden resignation of Sager. The interim dean for the law school will be associate dean for academic affairs Stefanie Lindquist.
“She’s very able and has been involved in the day-to-day running of the law school, so the law school will be in good hands,” Powers said.
There have been complaints lodged against Sager, one of which involved the manner in which Sager handed out compensation to the faculty of the law school. This involves a $500,000 forgivable loan from the University of Texas Law School Foundation received by Sager. The Foundation provides mortgage loan assistance, financial support, and salary supplements to faculty members. Sager claimed that there was nothing wrong with that transaction, and Powers agreed with him.
“There’s absolutely no allegation by anyone of misappropriation of funds or anything of that sort,” the UT president said. “We’ll address that as we go forward.”
Sager claims that the $500,000 loan was given to him in 2009 and approved by the president of the foundation and its executive committee even though other employees and administrators at the university were under a salary freeze.
“Every member of the faculty with a named professorship or chair gets summer support and/or a salary supplement from the foundation,” Powers said. “Sometimes we help people with mortgage loans and things of that sort. The way that it’s been deployed has been a concern to some faculty. What’s of concern to me is the faculty has been very divided.”
Records from the university show that there were multiple complaints filed against Sager for discrimination or for being underpaid because of ethnicity, age, or gender. Some of the cases resulted in large settlements, such as that of Linda Mullenix. Mullenix is a law professor, who filed a complaint involving pay discrimination. She received a $20,000 raise and a forgivable loan worth $250,000.