Naked City

ACC Bids Its President Adios

Austin Community College just took another tumultuous roller coaster loop as ACC President Robert Aguero announced his resignation. Aguero, who had been on unpaid leave since Feb. 21 for family and personal reasons, served only nine months. The ACC board of trustees on Monday "regretfully" accepted his resignation and placed Executive Vice President Steve Kinslow, who had been filling in as head administrator since Aguero went on leave, in charge as interim president.

"We want you to know that we have a stable college," said board president Barbara Mink. "We're pleased with our faculty, staff, and administration, and this college will go on and serve our students and our community." The board has not indicated when and how a search for a permanent president might commence.

Several student and ACC employee reps attended the meeting to express their sadness over the loss of Aguero, whose hiring in July seemed to signal a new chapter in ACC's often-melodramatic story. The previous president, Richard Fonte, was not exactly a kumbaya sort of chap, and he spent much of his six-year term clashing with the board and staff. Meanwhile, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools threatened to yank the school's accreditation because of complaints of board micromanagement and improperly credentialed instructors.

Since Aguero came on board, the college succeeded in renewing its accreditation (albeit in part by laying off some of those instructors), and Aguero made obvious efforts to project an aura of collaboration within the ACC community. For example, Guadalupe Sosa, who as a South Austin Campus Advisory Committee member rode the long, trouble-prone process of planning the college's eighth campus at the corner of Stassney and Manchaca, said that the administration became noticeably more receptive to their group's input after Aguero took over, and that his loss was a real disappointment. "I'm here to express how sad I am to hear that Dr. Aguero will no longer be part of this institution," she told the board. "I had great expectations and I'm really sorry to see him go."

In a way, drafting Kinslow as interim president does grant the college a certain measure of stability: Not only has he served ACC as an instructor and administrator since 1977, it's a position he filled for six months last year, between Fonte's departure and Aguero's hiring. Accepting the placement, Kinslow said he was ready to continue on with a spirit of openness and collaboration.

"I love this college and am grateful for the trust the board is demonstrating tonight," he said.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Steve Kinslow, Robert Aguero, Austin Community College, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Guadalupe Sosa

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