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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Faculty senate invites Sharp to senate meeting over outside influence concerns

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Photo by Cameron Johnson

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.

Following news that Texas A&M put professor Joy Alonzo under administrative leave, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee is requesting Chancellor John Sharp to appear at the next faculty senate meeting on Aug. 14.
A&M placed Joy Alonzo on administrative leave after she criticized Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a routine lecture at the University of Texas Medical Branch in March. According to The Texas Tribune, Patrick’s chief of staff sent Sharp a link to Alonzo’s professional bio less than two hours after the speech.
Shortly after, Sharp sent a text to the lieutenant governor, “Joy Alonzo has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation re firing her. shud [sic] be finished by end of week.”
The internal investigation found no wrongdoing and Alonzo kept her job. This comes after the botched hiring of prospective journalism director Kathleen McElroy and allegations of outside influence. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee sent a letter to Sharp to express concerns of political influence on faculty affairs and appointments.
“We recently wrote to you to express our concerns about the appearance of political influence in actions regarding the hiring, tenure, and promotion of faculty,” the letter reads. “Now we find another case in which there is no longer the appearance, but actual evidence, of interference by outside political forces to erode the academic freedom of Texas A&M faculty.”
The committee said the event could harm A&M’s reputation, faculty recruitment and free expression.
“This is not only having a chilling effect on our faculty but is further damaging the national reputation of our university,” the letter reads. “And it will make it even more difficult to recruit and retain the best and brightest talent.”
The Committee also requested for Sharp to attend the next senate meeting.
“We are requesting that you meet with the full Faculty Senate to discuss these issues and the steps that can be taken to prevent further episodes such as this in the coming academic year,” the letter reads. “Our next Senate meeting is scheduled for August 12, but we are more than willing to schedule a special meeting earlier at your request.”
Editor’s note: Sharp could not be reached for comment at this time. This story will be updated with further developments. A correction has been issued for this article to reflect the correct date of the Faculty Senate meeting. 

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