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Friday, January 15, 2021

UT Arlington president announces resignation

University of Texas at Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari announced plans to resign from the post he was held for the past seven years.

The morning announcement was made in a letter to the community. He plans to step down on Aug. 31.

Karbhari gave no reason for his decision but he is one of seven candidates for the position of president at the University of Central Florida. He is also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the former UT Arlington vice president who said she was bullied and threatened throughout her tenure at the school.

In the letter, Karbhari outlined his accomplishments during his tenure before stating that “Lisa and I felt it was time for us to take stock and think about our next chapter.

“Thanks to you, the institution is stronger than ever before and is now poised for its next set of great advancements,” Karbhari stated. “Serving you has been the greatest honor of the my career and I am proud of what we have accomplished together.

Under his leadership since 2013, Karbhari noted that UTA has grown in size and reputation.

“UTA is now one of the best universities in Texas and is renowned internationally,” he stated.

Under Karbhari’s tenure, UT Arlington achieved Carnegie R-1 research status and is nearing Texas Tier-1 NRUF status, both longtime goals of the institution. UT Arlington has also been named an Hispanic-Serving Institution, is ranked as the top institution in the nation for veterans, is among the top 5 for transfer students, and the top university for success of first generation students in Texas.

UT Arlington is now the third fastest growing public doctoral institution in the U.S. and the sixth most diverse.

The lawsuit was filed by Deborah Robinson, who served for about 10 months as vice president for institutional advancement until she was fired from her position in March 2019, UTA’s student newspaper The Shorthorn reported.

In the lawsuit filed in Tarrant County, Robinson alleges that she was bullied and threatened throughout her tenure. She claims that Karbhari made unreasonable demands and then threatened her with termination, according to The Shorthorn.

Three lawsuit also lists three other women who were top administrative positions who were similarly terminated or forced to resign, the student newspaper also reported.

“There are a lot of people whose careers he ended that should not have been ended,” Robinson’s attorney Robert E. Goodman Jr. of Dallas told the Fort Worth Business Press. “There were a lot of women victims.”

Robinson is seeking at least $200,000 in damages.

University officials have not commented on the suit.

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