The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center launched an AAUP Chapter in November, thereby becoming the only UT component institution with an active AAUP Chapter. This follows several tumultuous years between the administration and faculty, which are still sadly on-going. See the April 2015 AAUP Investigative Report concerning deviations from AAUP principles on tenure and shared governance in dismissal of three faculty members by the UT MD Anderson administration and the resulting AAUP Censure of UT MD Anderson which remains in force.
Underpaid@UT delivered graduate student worker demands on Dec. 13th, to UT Austin Provost Sharon Wood. News story. Underpaid@UT is a movement of UT Austin graduate student workers fighting for a living wage and just working conditions, in solidarity with underpaid workers @UTAustin and beyond, supported by the Texas State Employees Union.
Texas Senator José Menéndez hosted a Higher Education Panel on December 3, 2022, by Zoom, as part of the 2022 Latino Summit, with panelists
- Jaime Puente, Director of Economic Opportunity Every Texan
- Paige Duggins-Clay, J.D., Chief Legal Analyst, Intercultural Development Research Association
- Ray Martinez III, J.D., President and CEO, Texas Association of Community Colleges
Congrats to the inaugural Executive Committee members for the UT Austin AAUP Chapter unanimously elected by the AAUP members on campus!
- President — Brian Evans — Email
- Vice President — Andrea Gore — Email
- Secretary — Bill Fagelson
- Treasurer — Jen Ebbeler
- At-Large Position — Polly Strong
- At-Large Position — Karma Chavez
Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction on Nov. 17, 2022, against Florida HB7 (“Stop W.O.K.E. Act”) in Pernell vs. Florida Board of Governors. Judge Walker writes “the First Amendment does not permit the State of Florida to muzzle its university professors, impose its own orthodoxy of viewpoints, and cast us all into the dark.” (page 135) Several faculty members and one student filed the lawsuit in US federal court. Steve Vladeck, JD, summarized this case at our Oct. 31, 2022, meeting.
The AAUP Organizing Committee approved our by-laws and the AAUP Chapter at UT Austin officially launched on March 6, 2023!
UT Austin AAUP Chapter by-laws presented at the Sept. 27, 2021, AAUP@UT meeting and revised April 2, 2022, after feedback from AAUP.
The by-laws were approved unanimously by the AAUP members affiliated with UT Austin on December 5, 2022.
We have submitted the by-laws to AAUP for approval.
AAUP is requesting that we change “students” to “graduate students” under the list of those who can become chapter members. Chapter members have voting privileges. Undergraduate students are welcome to attend meetings. We’ve added a title to the document and dated the effective date of the ratification of the by-laws to be December 5, 2022. Here’s the updated version which AAUP approved:
Professor Suzanne Jones won her lawsuit against Collin College that had fired her for exercising her free speech and academic freedom. Prof. Jones has been reinstated at Collin College, which is a public community college district in the Dallas, Texas, area. A key finding by the court is that the President and Provost responsible for the illegal firing could be held personally and professionally accountable because they knowingly violated Prof. Jones’ Civil Rights.
VICTORY: Lawsuit ends with Collin College professor reinstated after being fired for union advocacy, supporting removal of Confederate monuments
AAUP@UT enthusiasts met on Oct 31, 2022, and heard talks by
- Irvin Osborne-Lee (Prairie View A&M) on synergy between AAUP Chapter, Faculty Senate and President Ruth Simmons
- Steve Vladeck (UT Austin) on the Pernell case with enormous potential ramifications for all public universities in the United States esp. those in states that might try to pass laws like Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E. Act.”
- Patty Quinzi (Texas American Federation of Teachers) on synergy between Texas AFT and Texas AAUP on higher ed issues
AAUP@UT Action Items
Vote. Candidate statements vote411.org. More at votetexas.gov & vote.org.
Support Texas AAUP campaign and Texas AFT campaign for education
Join AAUP or renew AAUP membership (via membership portal).
Plan campus events for professional faculty and instructors of flag courses.
Read 2022 Interim Charges for Texas Senate on Higher Ed pp. 12-13.
Join Legislative Days, State Capitol, TACT Dec 2 & Texas AFT Mar 13
Texas AFT will be tracking higher ed bills in the State Legislature related to tenure, academic freedom, post-tenure review, faculty senates, guns on campus, and cost-of-living increases for the Teachers’ Retirement System. With 66,000 members, Texas AFT has significant resources to bear.
Detailed notes summarizing the AAUP@UT meeting are available:
AAUP@UT enthusiasts met on April 4, 2022.
Academic Freedom Panel
Andrea Gore (UT Austin Pharmacy) moderator
Karma Chavez (UT Austin Liberal Arts)
David Rabban (UT Austin Law)
Lynn Tatum (Baylor University Honors College)
“Weakening Tenure and Shared Governance: The Case of the University of Wisconsin” by Karma Chavez (UT Austin Liberal Arts)
Strengthening Academic Freeedom Panel
- Brian Evans, Engineering, UT Austin, Moderator
- Pat Heintzelman, English, Lamar University, AAUP Member, President Texas Faculty Association
- Jim Klein, History, Del Mar College, AAUP Member, President of Texas Association of Colleges and Teachers
- Anne Lewis, Radio-TV-Film, UT Austin, Executive Board Member of Texas State Employees Union
- Lynn Tatum, Honors College, AAUP Member, Baylor University, Member Texas AAUP Conference Executive Committee
AAUP enthusiasts at UT Austin held a kickoff meeting on Sept. 27, 2021, after a 40-year hiatus:
Relaunch of the UT Austin AAUP Advocacy Chapter by AAUP@UT Conveners Brian Evans (UT Austin Engineering) and Pat Somers (UT Austin Education)
Proposed By-Laws for the UT Austin AAUP Chapter by Pat Somers (UT Austin Education)
Shared Governance Panel by Anthony Brown (UT Austin Education), Brian Evans (UT Austin Engineering), Jim Klein (Del Mar College), and Pat Somers (UT Austin Education)