An email circulated to University of Texas at San Antonio staff Tuesday said that President Ricardo Romo had been placed on administrative leave “pending a review of allegations related to his conduct.”
The email from UT System Chancellor William McRaven did not specify the nature of the allegations. It further stated that Pedro Reyes, former executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at The University of Texas System and currently special assistant to the chancellor and professor of education policy at UT Austin, will assume the role of president during that review.
Following several honors and recognitions in spring of 2016, Romo announced last September that he would retire in August of this year. The UT System’s search for his successor is continuing, and McRaven’s letter said a new president was scheduled to begin work by Sept. 1.
UTSA did not return The Rivard Report’s requests for comment.
Romo became UTSA’s fifth president in 1999 and the first Hispanic to lead the institution. During his leadership, he presented “The UTSA Plan: A Roadmap to Excellence,” which took the school from being primarily a commuter campus to a research institution with greatly expanded degree offerings. The university also added a football program in 2011.
Under Romo’s leadership, the university expanded from four colleges to nine and from 91 academic programs to more than 160. The university’s physical footprint has grown from 1.8 million sq. ft. to 5.4 million sq. ft., and he led a capital campaign that raised more than $200 million.
The decision to step down is not one Romo, 73, took lightly. While it came as a surprise to many, he had been considering it for months, he said.
“I only have one regret and that’s that I couldn’t share what the thinking was over the last few months,” Romo said at the press conference announcing his retirement.
Romo used several sports analogies to explain his decision.
“I want to go out while I’m still pitching fastballs,” he said.
In January, Romo was honored with the Institute of Texan Cultures‘ Lifetime Achievement Award. In accepting the honor, Romo took every opportunity to recount the awards and recognitions amassed by UTSA.
Romo had planned to take a sabbatical following his retirement, then join UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures as a historian.