PEN America Responds to Texas Lt. Gov. Statement on Tenure and Critical Race Theory For Faculty at Public Colleges
PEN America Calls the Statement by Dan Patrick a "Mortal Threat to Academic Freedom"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PEN America issued the following statement today in response to TX Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s comments on tenure and critical race theory:
According to reports, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick today announced a plan to revoke tenure for all public university faculty members who teach critical race theory, and to end tenure for all new state university hires. Patrick’s announcement comes days after the Faculty Council at the University of Texas passed a nonbinding resolution defending faculty members’ academic freedom to teach about race, gender justice, and critical race theory, and Patrick responded by tweeting that he would ban CRT at public higher education.
“This is a mortal threat to academic freedom that will undermine higher education in Texas,” said Jeremy Young, senior manager of free expression and education at PEN America. “Patrick’s proposal is a craven attempt to score political points. It will create a climate of fear among teachers and students alike. It should be rejected.”
“State lawmakers across the country are increasingly threatening these bold forms of censorship over college classrooms under the guise of fighting CRT,” Young continued. “Patrick appears eager to join along. But contrary to his statements today, the faculty senate resolution he condemned does not endorse critical race theory. It’s a statement of the university’s commitment to “diverse people and ideas,” and affirms “the fundamental rights of faculty to academic freedom,” including the right to teach challenging and controversial material without political interference. These are not radical ideas; they’re core to the marketplace of ideas and culture of debate cherished in our country’s universities. This is a worrying development that poses an existential threat to free speech on campus.”