Dr. William H. Cunningham
Statement Regarding Membership on the Board of Freeport McMoRan Inc.
December 14, 1995
My professional priority as Chancellor has always been to strengthen The University of Texas System and its component institutions. One of my guiding principles has been that nothing I do should interfere with my ability to represent the U.T. System and to help attract to it the public and private support that is essential for maintaining and enhancing The University's stature as one of the world's great centers of learning.
In recent months, my membership on the Board of Directors of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has been used as an issue against The University. After much reflection, it has become clear that the interests of U.T. Austin and the rest of the U.T. System would be best served by my resignation from the Freeport board.
A few highly vocal opponents of Freeport have distorted the facts and used personal attacks in a continuing campaign to discredit the company. I am convinced that the charges of human rights and environmental abuses levied against Freeport are totally unfounded.
I have always maintained that no conflict of interest arose because of my membership on the Freeport board while also serving as Chancellor. I have never been more confident of that fact.
I have, of course, discussed my decision to resign from the Freeport board with Jim Bob Moffett, the company's chairman and CEO. He agrees that my decision is in the best interest of the University. That attitude exemplifies the high standards and the commitment to The University of Texas that I have always found in Mr. Moffett through the many years that I have been privileged to know him.
The loyal support of Mr. and Mrs. Moffett for U.T. Austin has included an extraordinary record of generosity. Their donations have helped meet the critical needs of many of The University's academic programs, and the entire University community should remain grateful to them for the example they have set.