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Texas A&M Removes Provost Over Conflicts of Interest

After an internal investigation found conflicts of interest between the provost and her spouse, Texas A&M University at College Station removed the provost and named an interim, The Eagle, a local newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

The office of the provost, Karan L. Watson, who last August announced her intent to step down after seven years in office, was responsible for paying Nancy Watson, her spouse, more than $114,000 during her time in the position. Nancy Watson, who owns a consulting service in conflict resolution, received $438,733 over all from the university, but the investigation focused only on the portion of the funds that fell under the authority of the provost’s office.

The university is now prohibiting senior administrators’ spouses or close family members from doing business with Texas A&M.

In May the university’s president, Michael K. Young, received a third grievance that said the Watsons may have been in violation of the university’s code of conduct. An internal audit by the A&M system’s Board of Regents cited five violations.

A new provost was hired last month to replace Ms. Watson when she stepped down, but the successor, Carol A. Fierke, was not expected to take office until October. According to The Eagle, that date has been moved up to September 1. The interim official will serve in the post until then.

Ms. Watson will remain on the faculty as a professor.

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