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[February 21, 2013]
Outgoing UT Arlington president throws support behind Karbhari
Feb 21, 2013 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Outgoing UT Arlington President James Spaniolo and former president Robert Witt issued statements Thursday backing the choice of Alabama's Vistasp Karbhari as the new leader of the 33,000-student school.
"I've had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Vistasp Karbhari and spending time with him," wrote Spaniolo, who announced his retirement in June. "We look forward to welcoming him to Arlington for his campus visits very soon and to introducing him to our students, faculty, staff and other members of our University community." At the same time, a spokeswoman for the University of Texas System said Karbhari, who is the subject of a wrongful-death lawsuit at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, would not answer questions from the media during the 21-day period before he officially becomes Spaniolo's successor.
"As is our regular practice, finalists are not made available for one-on-one media interviews," system spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said.
Karbhari is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting in Arlington and will meet privately with students and faculty members, LaCoste-Caputo said. Further details on those meetings, including whether Karbhari would answer questions, were not immediately available.
On Wednesday, UT System regents stood behind their choice of Karbhari as the lone finalist, saying he is "extremely well-suited" to lead the fast-growing university.
The board also commended Karbhari, a top administrator at UA-Huntsville, for his "compassionate" leadership after a campus shooting killed three faculty members nearly three years ago.
Former biology professor Amy Bishop pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence. Three people were also wounded.
Karbhari, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs, was named in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by families of two of the slain faculty members, who accused him of failing to follow protocol when Bishop began exhibiting bizarre behavior on campus.
After meeting for more than an hour by phone Wednesday, UT System regents issued a statement defending his handling of the crisis.
Witt, the former UT Arlington president who is now chancellor of The University of Alabama System, said in his statement Thursday: "Dr. Vistasp Karbhari is a very skilled and experienced administrator. During his time at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, he has exhibited outstanding judgment and he has my complete confidence." This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.
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