Vistasp M. Karbhari remains the sole candidate for the presidency of the University of Texas at Arlington following a meeting of the University of Texas System Board of Regents that was hastily called to revisit his prospective employment.
On Valentine's Day, when Karbhari — the current provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Alabama in Huntsville — was named the finalist for the Arlington position, not all of the regents were aware that he is a defendant in a pending lawsuit stemming from a 2010 tragedy on the Huntsville campus.
Biology professor Amy Bishop opened fire during a department meeting, killing three faculty members and injuring three others. Family members of two of Bishop's victims have sued Karbhari, accusing him of failing to take note of early warning signs and prevent the incident.
On Monday, the System posted notice of a special telephonic meeting, to be held Wednesday, at which the regents would consider the matter and get more details.
After the meeting, a statement was released on behalf of the board. "This incident was discussed during the interview process," it said, "and Dr. Karbhari was heralded by his university for his leadership during such a critical time. He was described as compassionate, committed to taking care of victims' families and was praised for his ability to steer the campus through one of the most terrible experiences imaginable."
The statement went on to say that Karbhari is still the sole finalist for the position and that the regents will monitor the lawsuit with Karbhari and his attorneys as he prepares to take over at UT-Arlington. Karbhari must wait a state-mandated 21 day period before he formally can be named president.
Karbhari will succeed current UT-Arlington President Jim Spaniolo, who has led the institution for the last nine years.