Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Friday called for legislation to end tenure for new professors in Texas universities and make it more difficult for faculty to maintain tenure status after faculty members protested politicians' actions limiting how certain subjects like critical race theory are being taught.
"They don’t understand that we in the legislature represent the people of Texas," the Republican official said in a press conference, reports The Dallas Morning News.
"We are those who distribute taxpayer dollars. We are the ones who pay their salaries; parents are the ones who pay tuition. Of course, we’re going to have a say in what the curriculum is."
Patrick, who is seeking reelection, also complained during the press conference that the "woke left" has gone too far.
His call comes after the faculty council at the University of Texas at Austin earlier this week approved a resolution to defend educators' right to teach gender justice and critical race theory. In the resolution, the council said the school's professors would fight those who would suppress academic freedom, including the UT Board of Regents or the state government.
"This resolution affirms that it’s educators, and not politicians, who should make decisions about teaching and learning, and it supports the rights and the academic freedom of faculty to design courses, curriculum, and pedagogy," Andrea Gore, a UT professor of pharmacology and toxicology, said during the meeting. She also chairs the faculty council's Committee of Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility.
Patrick on Friday called for ending not only ending tenure for new faculty members, but for having a 10-year review that would allow veteran professors' tenure to be revoked.
Texas has already passed laws to limit how educators discuss topics such as race and racism in their school, and Patrick tweeted earlier this week that he "will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory. We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed. That’s why we created the Liberty Institute at UT.”
Last year, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott signed bills to ban critical race theory from being taught in the state's public schools.
The UT faculty council passed its resolution by a vote of 41-5, with three members abstaining. Several Democrats have voiced support for the move, including state Rep. Michelle Beckley, a graduate of Texas A&M University.
"What Dan Patrick is doing is cow manure," Beckley said in a statement Friday. "The only manure that UT has comes from Bevo and even that is more useful than Dan Patrick. It’s a great fertilizer for bluebonnets … educators want to teach the truth and students want to learn it.”
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