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

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

Follow us on Twitter @TexasAaup and @aaup_utAustin. For more info, contact Brian Evans at halftoning@juno.com.

How to Testify at the Hearing on Texas SB 18 to Eliminate Tenure

May 6th, 2023

The House Higher Education Committee heard SB 18 on Monday, May 8, 2023, at 8am. Here’s the hearing notice.

SB 18 As Passed by the Senate, April 20, 2023

  • Prohibits hiring of tenured and tenure-track faculty after Jan. 1, 2024
  • Allows faculty tenured before Jan. 1, 2024, to remain tenured

Committee Substitute for SB 18, May 8, 2023

  • Completely different from the version passed by the Senate
  • Allows the continuation of hiring of tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • Adds Legislature and Governing Board involvement on tenure and post-tenure review processes that are normally institutional decisions
  • Provides several reasons for cause to terminate tenured faculty members that are not defined and open to wide interpretation by administrators
  • Severely limits faculty due process rights to respond to notice of termination

Joint TACT-TxAAUP Statement Against SB 18, May 10, 2023

Why testify on May 8th?

  • Last chance for public testimony on SB 18
  • If the committee approves SB 18, then SB 18 could have a clear path to become law
  • Any changes to SB 18 made by the House Higher Ed Committee could be reversed later on the House floor or in Conference Committee

Testimony presentation options

  • In Person: 2 min. (250-270 words) and have an additional 1 min. ready if allowed -OR-
  • Electronicsubmit a testimony online of 3000 characters or less until Monday 8am

Testimony content

  • Start with something like “I’m ____, and I’m speaking for myself as a private individual.  I am testifying [against/for/on] SB 18.  I am also a [professor/staff member/student] in [discipline] at [institution]”. If you are a professor, then you could include your tenure status in your testimony, esp. since this is about SB 18.
  • Tell your story; e.g. in your experience,
    • how has tenure helped you and others on your campus?
    • why did you take a tenure-track position (if applicable)?
  • Tenure is a necessary guarantee of academic freedom in teaching, research, and expression. (Academic freedom is the freedom from censorship by the institution or the government.) Tenure protects developing and disseminating new knowledge from all viewpoints, including conservative, moderate, liberal, and apolitical
  • What effect would SB 18’s ban on the future granting of tenure have?
    • Recruiting & retention of students, staff, faculty, and administrators
    • Workforce development — training the next generation of workers
    • Financial impact
      • External grants?  These grants are used to train the next generation of workers (workforce development)
      • Faculty hiring? Need to raise salaries to compete with compensation at companies (salaries, bonuses, stock, etc.)
    • Quality, prestige, and ranking of public colleges and universities.
    • Please see additional talking points next

Talking Points and Resources

Logistics on May 8th:

Here’s example timeline on May 8, 2023:

  •   7:15am Park in Capitol Visitor’s Parking, 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
  •   7:30am Register at the kiosks in the Capitol Extension.
  •   8:00am House Higher Ed Committee hearing starts in E2.010
  •   9:45am House Higher Ed Committee hearing will be suspended until 6pm or 7pm for the House to convene.  While the committee hearing is suspended, you can stay on site (e.g. in the Capitol Grill) or go off site.
  • 6:00pm or 7:00pm House Higher Education Committee resumes and will likely continue past midnight.

Acknowledgement. We’re a collaborative effort among Texas American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Texas Faculty Association (TFA), Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT), Texas Faculty Coalition (TFC), NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Brown Dialogues on Policy, and many more advocacy organizations.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: