Look Back: Texas Hold Him

“Texas Hold Him” in Academe Online (May-June 2010) by Robert J. Pohl

Leslie has a history of resigning before his official time is up. He left the twelve‐college Connecticut Community College System in 1999 because campus presidents resisted his attempts to standardize the curriculum. Community College Week reported in 1999 that the presidents of all twelve colleges approached the board of trustees and requested Leslie’s resignation. “We agreed that we were unable to agree in terms of the direction of the system,” Leslie told Community College Week at the time. “I think that probably the issue came down to my belief that there needed to be some common standards across the system, and the colleges felt I was threatening their autonomy.’”

In 2006, Leslie resigned from the six‐college Houston Community College System two-and‐a‐half years before his contract was due to expire because of disagreements with trustees, according to the Express‐News. Houston Community College System trustees did not return calls for comment. “[Your audience] will have to read between the lines,” said the receptionist.

The official version, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, comes from former board chairman Jay Aiyer: “We are parting on great terms.” But in August 2004, amid allegations that Houston Community College System trustees were practicing nepotism in violation of district policy, Houston press reported that “instead of heeding complaints about the problems, the paterfamilias of HCCS, Chancellor Bruce Leslie, apparently has sanctioned a climate in which would‐be whistle‐blowers either stay quiet or live in fear of retribution.”

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