AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M University reached a $1 million settlement Thursday with a Black journalism professor after botched attempts to hire her unraveled after pushback over her past work promoting diversity.
The nation’s largest public school agreed to pay Kathleen McElroy $1 million, and apologized to her while admitting “mistakes were made during the hiring process.”
Texas A&M had initially welcomed McElroy, a Texas A&M graduate, with great fanfare to revive the school’s journalism department in June. She is a former New York Times editor and had overseen the journalism school at the more liberal University of Texas at Austin.
But McElroy said soon after her hiring, which including a public signing ceremony, that she learned of emerging internal pushback from unidentified individuals over her past work to improve diversity and inclusion in newsrooms.
McElroy told the Texas Tribune the initial offer of a tenure-track position was first reduced to a five-year post and then reduced to a one-year job from which she could be fired at any time. The 1981 Texas A&M graduate rejected the offer and ultimately chose to stay at the University of Texas as a journalism professor.
Shortly after events around her hiring became public, Texas A&M University President Katherine Banks resigned.
“This matter has been resolved,” McElroy said in statement. “ I hope the resolution of my matter will reinforce A&M’s allegiance to excellence in higher education and its commitment to academic freedom and journalism.”