Jerry Hodge on ‘Fire Francis’ campaign: I would like for him to have the courage to step down
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge has withdrawn his $10 million donation to Texas Tech following the departure of Chancellor Robert Duncan.
Hodge launched a campaign called Fire Francis, asking people to send a message to the governor and board of regents urging Texas Tech University Board of Regents Chairman Rick Francis to step down.
"I’m not saying he fired him, but he led the charge. He is chairman of the board and evidently he got, you know, the four other votes," Hodge said.
"Tell me what kind of chairman or leader makes a decision that major for a university on a 5 to 4 vote. You don’t even do that until you work through whatever differences there are in the best interest of Texas Tech," Hodge said.
Hodge said he has never met any of the regents, and while a handful of them voted in favor of not renewing Duncan’s contract, he is only interested in going after Francis.
"You’ve got to go through the chairman. He’s the one who orchestrated it. He’s the one who’s been against the vet school in Amarillo. He was, in my opinion, concerned about Chancellor Duncan being successful next legislative session," Hodge said.
Hodge withdrew his $10 million gift to the university at the beginning of September.
"It was all for the vet school. If the vet school was not approved by the legislature or the coordinating board, then it would go to the pharmacy school. It was all to Texas Tech," Hodge said.
Hodge said this campaign has already produced hundreds of letters to the board of regents and the governor.
"I would like for him to come reality and step down both from the board and as a board member, and then he would automatically step down as a chairman. If not, I would like for him to have the courage to step down as chairman and publicly state he will not seek re-appointment in January. He’s been on there 15 years. I don’t care who you are, that is long enough," Hodge said.
Hodge said if Francis does not step down on his own, he wants the regents to vote him down.
Hodge said he has confidence in Texas Tech System’s interim chancellor, Tedd Mitchell and hopes at Thursday’s board of regents meeting, "something good will happen."
If not, Hodge said he and his campaign, will “keep rolling."
Francis released this statement, “The focus of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents is providing Dr. Mitchell and our university presidents the resources and support necessary to maintain our system as a first-class institution of higher education. We remain committed to our strategic priorities as we approach a pivotal legislative session.”
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