Ethan Pham, The Paisano

UTSA President Ricardo Romo has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately pending a review of allegations related to his conduct. University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven announced the action in an email on Tuesday afternoon.

The UT System also appointed Pedro Reyes PhD, a special assistant to the chancellor and education policy professor at UT Austin, to serve as UTSA’s active president.

Dr. Pedro Reyes will serve as UTSA’s interim president. Courtesy of the UT System

President Romo issued a statement through his attorney in response to the decision.

On Feb. 16, “UTSA has informed me that it is conducting an investigation on a complaint brought by an employee against the University and me personally. In accordance with University policy, I was requested to and I wholeheartedly agreed to be placed on administrative leave with pay pending this investigation.

“I have retained Ricardo Cedillo and the firm of Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza to coordinate my investigative efforts with those of the University and I look forward to a speedy resolution and the clearing of my name.

“The outpouring of community support has been humbling and overwhelming, and my family and I will be forever grateful for the prayers and love being sent our way.”

Jennifer LaCoste-Caputo, executive director of media relations and external communications at UT System, said Romo’s issued statement was made independently and that the UT System had no further comment other than the announcement Chancellor William McRaven made earlier in the week.

No details have been released on the allegations related to Romo’s conduct.

Joe Izbrand, UTSA associate vice president for communications & marketing, chief communications officer said, “we are not going to be able to provide any additional comment.”

“It’s important to remember, especially at times like these, that UTSA is more than any one individual,” SGA President Andrew Hubbard said. “We are a community of thousands of students and thousands more alumni and supporters. Together, we have made many achievements, and we will continue to move forward as Roadrunners.”

Dr. Reyes attended last Thursday’s SGA meeting and the general sentiment expressed was to keep the ship going in the right direction.

According to Hubbard who presided over the meeting, Reyes expressed that his role is to serve the university on an interim basis and will stay as long as he’s needed.

When SGA members asked Reyes about Tier One, he expressed that he would advance the university’s agenda— and Tier One is an objective.

Hubbard also said the presidential search process was, “smooth and moving according to plan.” The Romo news and the search committee to find his replacement are mutually exclusive events Hubbard said. Hubbard is the only student on the16 member committee.

According to Board of Regents rules on university presidents (Rule 20201): The president serves without fixed term, subject to the pleasure of the Chancellor, following an opportunity for input by the appropriate Executive Vice Chancellor and subject to the approval of the Board of Regents. When circumstances warrant or require such action, the Chancellor may take interim action involving a president, including but not limited to suspension or leave of absence, pending approval by the Board.

Romo announced his retirement plans in Sept. 2016, and his successor was slated to assume the position Sept. 1, 2017.  The search for UTSA’s next president is ongoing amid this investigation. According to Hubbard, the group met earlier this month.

The presidential search committee met for the first time Dec. 9, 2016 and is scheduled to meet again in February.

Romo has been the university’s longest serving and first Hispanic president.  Under his tenure, the university experienced massive growth, including a 68 percent increase in enrollment and the creation of a football team. More than half of UTSA’s alumni have received their degrees since he began as president in 1999.

“I have been blessed and grateful to be a student under his leadership. President Romo has led UTSA to new academic heights and will surely be missed,” said Adrian Guajardo, senior sports management major and Mr. UTSA in 2015.

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