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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatens tenure for professors teaching critical race theory


The Texas Legislature voted to disallow critical race theory curriculum in state public schools. | Haya Panjwani/The Cougar

Texas university professors could face job loss after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s recent promise to end tenure for instructors who teach critical race theory courses. 

Patrick, who is running for reelection this year, spoke at a news conference on Friday responding to a University of Texas council meeting where a motion was passed against legislatures determining what professors can teach at Texas public colleges and universities. Last year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill limiting ways for educators to teach CRT in grades K-12.

“The law will change to say teaching critical race theory is prima facie evidence of good cause for tenure revocation,” Patrick said in a press conference on Friday.

The American Association of University Professors defines academic tenure as an indefinite position that protects academic freedom in higher education. Tenure allows a professor to teach and conduct research without pressures or termination based on their speech or research findings. 

CRT is an approach to creating new discussions and explanations about equality and racial formations, according to the Texas Tribune.

You’re not going to teach a theory that says we’re going to judge you when you walk in a classroom by the color of your skin,” Patrick said. 

UH Faculty Senate president Vallabh Das said the body’s members are working to discuss Patrick’s pledge within the coming weeks. 

“Yes, we are aware of the recent UT Austin faculty council resolution and also some of the comments that followed from Lt. Gov Patrick,” Das said. “We will be evaluating the ongoing discussion carefully within our committees in which we will prioritize the impact on academic freedom, faculty’s commitment to UH’s educational and research missions and always keep in mind the best interests of our faculty, students and university.”

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