Faculty & Staff News

A tenure ban could threaten professor’s academic freedom

Students need to be back in the classroom

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Tenure is an achievement for many professors who contribute to the excellence of academic programs, however, Texas legislatures are threatening to end this award for higher education in the future.

Last year Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick proposed to end tenure for professors teaching critical race theory courses. Still, in March this year, a bill was filed to end tenure for any public college or university professor hired after September.

Executive Director of faculty affairs, Sarah Castillo defines tenure and gives insight into how this could affect the University. 

“A tenured appointment is an indefinite appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances such as financial exigency and program discontinuation,” Castillo said.

Castillo shared that the importance/ benefit of professors obtaining tenure is to safeguard their academic freedoms. 

According to the University’s 2022-2023 Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, It is awarded to professors based on scholarship, creative work, teaching and service that is consistent with the school’s mission.

Critics of the proposed bill expressed that a tenure ban would create hesitation in determining what is acceptable to analyze and discuss in classrooms, according to the Texas TribuneCastillo said that it is unclear at the time what the consequences of this legislation passing might be.

While further action remains unknown to faculty affairs, the University is aware of the proposed tenure ban and is tracking the legislature’s progress with the bill, Castillo said. 

“The University is committed to offering the highest quality instructional and research opportunities for our students,” Castillo said. “This will remain the University’s focus, regardless of any current proposed legislation.”

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