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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

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Tenure threatened

Dan+Patrick
Photo by Photo by Gage Skidmore
Dan Patrick

To combat critical race theory teachings on college campuses, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has proposed the end of university tenures for professors.
Following the passage of House Bill 3979 in June 2021, critical race theory has become a topic of academic discussion regarding what can be taught in university classrooms. The bill, which focuses on eliminating controversial teachings involving race and sex in the classroom, was enacted on Sept. 1, 2021.
“The bill prohibits compelling a teacher for any social studies course in the required curriculum to discuss a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs but requires a teacher who chooses to do so to strive to explore the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective,” the bill summary reads. “The bill provides for certain protections for applicable student speech. The bill’s provisions apply beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year, except that required changes to state curriculum standards apply beginning with the 2022‑2023 school year.”
During a Friday, Feb. 18 press conference, Patrick expressed the need to end tenures for all new university professors, and additionally called for adjustments to the review of tenures for professors currently under contract. Patrick said there is a need to have an end-of-year review for tenured professors to evaluate their performances rather than six-year terms, to help combat professors who continue to teach critical race theory in classrooms.
“Tenure; it’s time that that comes to an end in Texas. Right now, tenure is reviewed about every six years, and pretty much anything you do in those six years, there’s nothing the university could do about it,” Patrick said in the press conference. “They can’t fire you.”
However, tenure is implemented to protect employees from being fired due to content taught and to allow academic freedom, according to an article from the Texas Tribune.
“Tenure is an indefinite appointment for university faculty that can only be terminated under extraordinary circumstances,” the article reads. “Academics said Friday that tenure is intended to protect faculty and academic freedom from exactly the kind of politicization being waged by Patrick.”
Following Patrick’s announcement on Friday, many school officials from across the state have rallied in support of tenured professors, many of whom have claimed they are the backbone of their universities, including Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks, who applauded scholar professors at the university.
“At Texas A&M, we have successfully recruited some of the best and brightest scholars in the nation who have contributed to development of a research portfolio of expenditures exceeding $1 billion annually,” Banks said in a statement to the Texas Tribune. “This has been accomplished with strong support from our states’ leadership and the Texas Legislature. Our research enterprise is critical to the future prosperity of Texas and the nation.”
Additionally, Banks said the university is ready to meet with state leaders to share the importance of tenured positions.
“We look forward to the opportunity to meet with state leaders when appropriate to discuss how we have used tenure to achieve our success in recruitment and retention of highly accomplished faculty,” Banks said in the statement.
The A&M Faculty Senate has also expressed support for tenured employees and its disapproval of the state official’s stance on the matter, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“The recent rhetoric of Texas state officials opposed to tenure and teaching about issues of race in the classroom is damaging the reputation and future of public higher education in Texas,” the statement reads. “Educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning.”

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