New campaign targets removal of Texas Tech Regent Chair - FOX34 Lubbock

New campaign targets removal of Texas Tech Regent Chair

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Jerry Hodge Jerry Hodge
AMARILLO, Texas -

The chairman of the Texas Tech Board of Regents is the target of a new campaign to remove him.

Former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge suggests Rick Francis has been working to undermine the proposed vet school. Parts of the campaign are featured at Fire Francis.

The initiative will launch before the Board of Regents meeting set for October 4 according to SKP Creative, a marketing firm in Amarillo. Hodge believes Chancellor Duncan's removal "was done in poor taste and without cause." 

The release indicates regents have the authority to elect a new chair and Hodge encourages other regents to step up and ask Francis to step down.


The following statement can be found on the Fire Francis website and was released Thursday afternoon.

The chairman of the board of regents for the Texas Tech University System is the target of a new campaign that seeks to remove him from office for a wide range of issues including his lead role in forcing the departure of the system’s chancellor and his efforts to undermine a proposed Tech veterinary school in Amarillo.

The campaign focuses on Rick Francis of El Paso and is being led by one of Amarillo’s leading business figures, Jerry Hodge.

Elements of the campaign began rolling out this morning under a new website, “firefrancis.com”

The campaign will be directed through a committee formed as a 501(c)(4). It will include an aggressive social media initiative that will allow supporters of the former Chancellor, Robert Duncan, and proponents of the proposed vet school, to communicate directly with Governor Greg Abbott and the other eight Tech regents who could remove Francis as chair of that board. Other elements of the campaign will include paid advertising and other tactical initiatives.

The campaign is being launched in advance of a board of regents meeting scheduled for October 4 in Lubbock.

“Rick Francis needs to be fired,” said Hodge. “The committee feels strongly that the firing of Chancellor Robert Duncan, which was led by Chairman Francis, was done in poor taste, without cause, and has led to a mistrust of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents among our state’s leaders, Texas Tech supporters, and alumni. Francis’ actions have put the leadership of the entire board in question. The only way to correct this is with the removal of Francis and the appointment of a new chairperson. His removal will restore honor, integrity, and trust in the board of regents.”

A positive first step would be for the board to vote Francis out as chairman, an action Hodge believes would have wide-ranging support. “It would be greatly appreciated if the other regents stepped up and asked Francis to step down,” Hodge said. The regents have the authority to elect the chair.

Hodge questioned Francis’ actions that appear to undermine the university’s efforts to develop a vet school in Amarillo amid stiff opposition from Texas A&M which operates the state’s only other public veterinary school.

“Rick Francis must be held accountable,” Hodge said. “Francis has publicly supported the Texas Tech administration on certain projects while at the same time undermining their hard work in Austin. The proposed veterinary school in Amarillo is a key example. Serious questions have to be answered, not the least of which is did he have Texas Tech’s or Texas A&M’s best interests in mind when Bob Duncan was forced out as chancellor?”

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