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Previous UHV provost reinstated

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
March 26, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 25, 2014 at 10:26 p.m.

Jeffrey Cass is back as University of Houston-Victoria provost only two weeks after being removed abruptly from that post, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Cass was removed March 10 from his post and replaced by UHV School of Nursing associate professor Denise Neill.

The change upset many UHV faculty members.

On March 14, the UHV Faculty Senate met and discussed a resolution calling for Cass' reinstatement as provost and noting that Neill did not have their support.

At that same meeting, UHV president Phil Castille was given a vote of no-confidence.

Castille, who appointed Neill, resigned March 18.

UH System officials have not explained why Castille was ousted from the presidency. Nor did they offer any explanation about why Cass was demoted initially.

On Tuesday, Cass, Neill, Castille and UHV Acting President Wayne Beran all issued written statements about the latest administrative change at UHV.

"My reinstatement as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Houston-Victoria will bring continuity and stability to the university as we go through this time of transition," Cass said in his written statement.

In his email, Beran wrote: "This continuity of leadership will be essential during the next year as an interim president is named within the next couple of weeks and a national search for a new president is conducted."

Neill wrote that Cass "brings the experience to the position that is needed at this time."

Castille wrote that Cass and the office of academic affairs "have done a marvelous job preparing UHV" for its upcoming visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. "I expect that UHV will receive a solid report, although our institution has a very complex task, with widely different campuses in Victoria and Sugar Land."

Cass' reinstatement was praised by UHV President's Advisory Board chairman Omar Rachid, who described Cass as a highly respected and skilled administrator.

"Everybody believes Cass was doing a fantastic job," Rachid said.

An email sent to faculty by Beran said Neill voluntarily resigned from her interim provost position.

Last month, the UH System Board of Regents voted to approve a set of recommendations drafted by the UH-Sugar Land Task Force that removes UHV programs from the Fort Bend County campus and transfers the UHV School of Nursing to the UH System.

When asked during an interview whether he knew the no-confidence vote for Castille was coming, Rachid said, "Not particularly, no."

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