Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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Statement from The Board of Regents on Vistasp Karbhari

Last week, we selected Vistasp Karbhari as the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas at Arlington.

As provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Karbhari is known as an extraordinary and innovative leader. Our initial impression based on the search committee's recommendation and our interviews with him is that he is extremely well suited to lead UT Arlington.  

Three years ago, a horrific and tragic event occurred at UAH when a professor opened fire during a faculty meeting, killing three people and wounding three others.

This incident was discussed during the interview process, and Dr. Karbhari was heralded by his university for his leadership during such a critical time. He was described as compassionate, committed to taking care of victims' families and was praised for his ability to steer the campus through one of the most terrible experiences imaginable.

Under Alabama state law, public universities have absolute immunity and cannot be sued. In light of that, attorneys for families of two of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming Dr. Karbhari, as the university's chief academic officer.

While all of the Regents were aware of the shooting incident on campus, not all were aware of the lawsuit at the time Dr. Karbhari was interviewed. As we continue to discuss the lawsuit with Dr. Karbhari and his attorneys, he remains our sole finalist for president at UTA.

We are profoundly grateful to the regents, administrators, faculty and others who served on our search committee and agree with them that Dr. Karbhari is the right person to lead UT Arlington, an innovative and unique academic environment that is a huge source of pride of our entire university system.

Under Texas law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency a minimum of  21 days before making an appointment. We will use this time to get to know Dr. Karbhari better and we hope the UT Arlington community will take the opportunity to do so as well. We welcome all feedback on this important decision.

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