University of Texas at Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari announced he is stepping down from his post effective Aug. 31, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The decision comes weeks after the filing of a lawsuit alleging his mistreatment of women on campus, The Dallas Morning News noted.
“The institution is stronger than ever before, and it is now poised for its next set of great advancements,” Karbhari wrote in a message posted on the university website and emailed to employees. “Serving you has been the greatest honor of my career, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”
Since Karbhari became president in 2013, enrollment at UTA has grown by 14,000 students. The Star-Telegram noted that UTA also fares well in diversity, topping the state both in undergraduate degrees awarded to black students and master’s degrees awarded to minority students.
Deborah Robinson, former vice president for institutional advancement, filed suit against Karbhari last month, alleging that he had bullied and threatened female employees, including herself. She was fired in March 2019, not long after complaining to university lawyers about Karbhari’s treatment of her and other employees, the Star-Telegram reported.
In 2015, Karbhari appointed a task force to review the climate for women on campus. The Morning News pointed out that the report, released four years later, found the school was not supportive of female employees.
“I feel as a strong, independent and confident woman I am judged harsher than a man with the same characteristics,” one employee was quoted as saying in the report. “In the exact same circumstances, I would be regarded as ‘difficult’ or ‘bitchy’ and a man would be considered ‘strong’ and ‘doing his job.’ ”
On Wednesday afternoon, UTA faculty discussed Karbhari during a closed-door faculty senate meeting.
“We were just reflecting on the issues we were having the last few years,” Bill Carroll, professor of computer science and engineering and the chair of the faculty senate, told the Star-Telegram.
He declined to discuss the contents of a letter the faculty senate voted to send to the UT system and UTA leadership.
Karbhari was recently announced as a finalist for the presidential vacancy at the University of Central Florida.