HOUSTON (KTRK) --Dr. Ricardo Romo, the president of the University of Texas San Antonio campus, stepped down Friday after allegations of improper hugs.
Romo released a statement saying that he "had no improper intent giving or receiving 'abrazos'".
'Abrazos' means hugs in Spanish.
"If they were thought improper and offensive then they were, and but for a prohibition from contacting anyone involved I would have already directly apologized," Romo said in a written statement.
Romo denied the allegations and said he decided after 18 years to retire from his post.
"[F]alsehoods did not drive my decision to retire now," Romo said.
Romo was facing administrative leave for an investigation.
(March 3, 2017) -- Dear UTSA community,
With tremendous gratitude for your patience and understanding, I write to inform you that Dr. Ricardo Romo is stepping down as president and retiring from The University of Texas at San Antonio effective immediately. We are profoundly grateful for his service and for the privilege of working with him.
Below is a statement from Chancellor McRaven as well as a copy of Dr. Romo's statement.
The search process for a new president is proceeding as planned, and we look forward to appointing a president in the fall, prior to the start of the next academic year. In the meantime, Dr. Pedro Reyes will serve as president ad interim.
Steve Leslie, Ph.D.
UT System Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Statement from Chancellor McRaven:
"I am grateful to President Ricardo Romo for the many accomplishments The University of Texas at San Antonio has achieved under his leadership. During his 18 years as president, he has put the University on a critical path toward Tier One status and changed the culture of education in San Antonio. I know that Ricardo and Harriett look forward to continuing their special relationship with the San Antonio community. I wish him all the best."
Statement from Ricardo Romo:
I have been made aware that the manner in which I embraced women made them uncomfortable and was inappropriate. I understand and respect Chancellor McRaven's concerns about my behavior and I deeply apologize for any conduct that offended anyone.
I have worked hard over the years with the dedicated staff of the Office of the President to serve UTSA with distinction and honor. I know that my dedicated staff is the very best anyone in my position could hope to have. Together we have achieved extraordinary success for UTSA.
My intent to retire in August of this year was announced in September of 2016. It is now my desire to step down as president and retire from UTSA effective immediately.
This will eliminate the possibility of any distraction or disruption of the great work going on at UTSA.
I had planned to spend one year after retirement with the Institute of Texan Cultures. I am now declining the position of Director of the Texas History Center, and instead plan on continuing my work with Father David Garcia and San Antonio's World Heritage Designation efforts, as well as completing assignments for San Antonio's Tricentennial Celebration.
My love for UTSA is profound and there are no better students anywhere in America. I wish all Roadrunners the very best in their journeys as I continue to find new opportunities to serve my beloved San Antonio in the future.
Dr. Ricardo Romo