Hectic day on Texas Tech ends with new Board of Regents Chair - FOX34 Lubbock

Hectic day on Texas Tech ends with new Board of Regents Chair

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

After a frenzied day on the Texas Tech campus, the university will have a new chancellor and a new chairman of the Board of Regents.

"It has been an honor to serve as the chairman of the board of regents," said Rick Francis, former Chair of the Board of Regents. "It is time for a change in leadership and a nominating committee will be formed to put forth a slate of candidates for consideration of chairman and vice chairman for election at our next meeting."

With those words, Tim Lancaster takes over leadership of the regents.

"I can't speak for regent Francis but I would think he thought he had become a distraction to some of the other activity that is going on and for the betterment of Texas Tech he chose to, like he said in his words, he wanted to step aside and have new leadership," Lancaster said.

Those distractions come in the form of a recent campaign to fire Francis. 

His job came into question after what is considered to be the forced retirement of former chancellor Robert Duncan due to his support of the proposed veterinary school in Amarillo.

"Chancellor Duncan submitted his resignation, he said he wanted to retire," he said. " I've talked to Duncan several times since then he's very much enjoying his retirement. I think he's looking for something else that he wants to do that he can give back in some way."

Questions are still swirling over Duncan's retirement and if there was a vote to expel him.

"You can't take a vote in executive session. What we do much of the time is go around the room, we express our opinions, we ask questions, things that we want clarification on but there's never a vote."

He also denied the presence of an outside influence on the regents.

"All of our discussions that happen, happen among the regents and so there's not ever anybody else that's involved in legislature that's involved in our discussions. That's our responsibility to make those important decisions that we need to make."

Lancaster also explicitly stated his, and the boards, support for the vet school.

"The Board has reaffirmed its commitment to seek state funding for a veterinary school in Amarillo which we believe is much, much needed."

To his knowledge Francis will server the remainder of his term as a regent. It ends Jan. 31st.

Also included in the regent's meeting, Dr. Tedd Mitchell is named the sole finalist to be the next chancellor of the Tech system. He has been serving as interim since Duncan's retirement.

"It's a natural. He's already worked with the presidents of Angelo State and Dr. Schovanec and Dr. Lang in El Paso so he already has those relationships with the other presidents. It just seemed that we couldn't find anybody else that would do a better job."

Mitchell will have to wait 21 days before the interim tag is officially removed. He will continue to serve as the Health Science Center in addition to serving as Chancellor.

The board is expected to meet again soon to designate a new vice chair.

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