American Association of University Professors at The University of Texas at Austin. Twitter. Join AAUP.

Please contact Brian Evans if you are interested in advocating for academic freedom, tenure and other higher ed values in Texas.

Our advocacy is amplified by teaming with Texas AAUP, AAUP , Texas AFT, AFT, TACT, TFA, and other orgs.

AAUP@UT members are speaking for themselves as private citizens and not on behalf of any group, institution or organization.

House Bill to Restrict Speech

State Representative Carl Tepper filed HB 1006 Relating to protected expression, intellectual freedom, and viewpoint diversity at public institutions of higher education on Dec. 13, 2022. (Track HB 1006 History).

Please see the article “Texas bill targeting ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ restricts student speech and is unconstitutional” by Tyler Coward, FIRE, Dec. 20, 2022.

This bill has three sections of changes to the Texas Education Code:

  1. Sec. 51.354 Institutional Responsibility. Roles of an institution of higher education
    • changed from transmitting culture to permitting its diffusion
    • changed from extending knowledge to facilitate its discovery, improvement, and dissemination
    • required to foster a diversity of viewpoints
    • required to maintain political, social, and cultural neutrality.
  2. Sec. 51.9315 Protected Expression on Campus. (a)(2). Adds “published or unpublished faculty research, lectures, writings, and commentary” to the existing list of “Expressive Activities”.
  3. Sec. 51.9315 Protected Expression on Campus. Student expressive activities at an institution. Changes include
    • Demonstrate a commitment to intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity
    • Prohibit all diversity, equity and inclusion programs and efforts at public institutions of higher education beyond what is needed to uphold the 14th Amendment
    • A person may bring an action against an institution of higher education to compel it to comply with this section and have its legal fees covered by the defendant if the lawsuit is successful.

Last point under Section 3 above creates a private cause of action to go with the vaguely worded prohibitions of the bill, which gives activists standing in court based on extremely subjective criteria.

State Rep. Carl Tepper filed two related bills:

HB 1006 and HB 1046 will likely be referred to the House Higher Education Committee, whereas HB 1033 will likely be referred to the House State Affairs Committee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: