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.

Texas AFT and AAUP Advocate at the Texas Legislature Kickoff

For first day of the 88th Texas Legislature on January 10, 2023, the Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT) brought 20 chapter presidents and other officers from around the state to build relationships with Texas Legislators and their staff and to advocate for public K-12 students, support staff, and educators as well as higher ed students, staff, and faculty.

At a press conference on Tuesday at the State Capitol, Texas AFT President Zeph Capo, Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D), Rep. Todd Hunter (R), and Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D) demanded changes to improve the working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students. President Capo advocated for the main points in the Texas AFT Respect Us or Expect Us campaign:

  • A $10,000 across-the-board raise for teachers and certified staff, including nurses and librarians
  • A 15% across-the-board raise for classified staff, including bus drivers, maintenance workers, and custodians
  • A substantial increase to the basic allotment to fund these raises, as well as investments in our schools to make them safer and more supportive of students
  • Closing the class size loopholes that allow districts to overcrowd classrooms without penalty
  • A defined work year for educators so they aren’t expected to sacrifice weekends and evenings consistently
  • A significant cost-of-living adjustment for retired educators that keeps pace annually with inflation.

Texas AFT invited Texas AAUP, which was represented by President Jeff Blodgett and Vice President Brian Evans. AAUP talking points included

  • Academic freedom and tenure ensures world class teaching
  • Restore and maintain higher ed funding after 20 years of annual cuts
  • Campus safety and building repair due to age and storm damage

The Texas AFT outreach to the Texas Legislature started with an evening reception on January 9th, where Texas AAUP President Jeff Blodgett and Vice President Brian Evans met

as well as several staffers including

  • Ms. Dawn Freeman, Chief of Staff for Rep. Carl Sherman. BBA & MBA St. Leo’s University
  • Mr. Taylor Larson, Chief of Staff for Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos, BA William & Mary; JD Columbia
  • Mr. Ali Zaidi, Democratic Caucus, BA UT Austin

On the next day, after the morning press conference, Texas AFT chapter officers visited the offices of their local representatives, reaching 78 of the 181 State Legislators. Since it was the first day of the session with the induction ceremony at noon, refreshments were served in the Legislative offices and staff were readily available to meet with visitors. Brian Evans (VP Texas AAUP) teamed with David Albert (President Austin Community College AFT Local) to present the Texas AFT K-12 talking points (see above) as well as the following higher ed talking points:

  • $10K raise for full-time faculty members including tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty (instructors)
  • 15% raise for adjunct/contingent faculty and staff
  • Academic freedom and tenure to ensure world class teaching
  • Restore and maintain higher ed funding after 20 years of annual cuts

Brian also presented the Texas AAUP “Pledge to Support Higher Education in Texas” when visiting the following Austin-area legislators and their staff:

  • Rep. John Bucy, III (D-Cedar Park, District 136) BA History Austin College
  • Rep. Sheryl Cole (D-Austin, District 46) BA Accounting, UT Austin; JD UT Austin
  • Rep. Lulu Flores (D-Austin, District 51) BA Government, UT Austin; JD UT Austin
  • Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin, District 47) BBA UT Austin; Masters LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin
  • Rep. Caroline Harris (R-Williamson County , District 52) MPA LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin
  • Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin, District 49) BA Government, Liberal Arts Plan II Honors, UT Austin; JD George Washington University
  • Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin, District 48) BS & MS Nursing, UT Austin
  • Rep. James Talarico (D-Austin, District 50) BA Government, UT Austin; MA Educational Policy, Harvard University.
  • Rep. Terry Wilson (R-Georgetown/Leander, District 20) BSBA Texas A&M; MS Logistics Air War University
  • Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Austin, District 45) BS Natural Resource Conservation, University of Montana; MFA Creative Writing, University of Arizona
  • Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin, District 14) BFA Theater, NYU; MPA LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin; JD, UT Austin
  • Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Williamson+9 other counties, District 5) BS Pharmacy UT Austin, MD UTMB Galveston
  • Sen. Judith Zaffarini (D-Austin, District 21) BS degree, MA Communications, and PhD Journalism, UT Austin

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