*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp has asked all vice presidents at the system's flagship campus to submit letters of resignation prior to the arrival of the school's new president.
Sharp said in an interview that the letters won’t necessarily be accepted, but that the new president, Michael Young, needs “latitude” to create his own leadership team.
The vice presidents are directed in a memo to submit letters of resignation "with an open-ended date" and a request to be reassigned to the faculty or other available staff duties. Young will have until May 1, 2016 — one year after his start date — to decide whether to accept the resignations, according to the memo.
"I recognize that many of you have done outstanding jobs for the University and have contributed to its many successes in recent years," Sharp wrote in the memo. "However, I believe we owe it to our new president to allow him to build a leadership team as he sees fit."
Sharp said the move is common among provosts at universities — when a new president comes in, the provost offers to resign, and the president then decides whether to accept. Sharp said he has decided to extend that practice to all top-level positions.
“What will happen is they will maybe take several months and see if folks are compatible with him,” he said. “Then he will keep them or accept their resignation and move on to someone else.”
Sharp added, “I imagine he will keep most, but it should be the president’s decision.”
According to an organizational chart on the A&M website, seven vice presidents report to the president. The letter also says special assistants and special advisers have been asked to resign. The CEO of the A&M-Galveston campus and the executive vice president of the A&M Health Science Center are also included in the request.
"President Young did not request this decision, but I believe it is in the best interests of the university, and I plan to apply it to future transitions at the other System universities and to the Chancellor's office," Sharp wrote in the memo.
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