Still Trying to Kill Tenure in Texas
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has been set on killing tenure at Texas state universities ever since the University of Texas faculty senate had the temerity to object to his proposed ban on critical race theory. SB 18 fulfills that mission. It passed the Texas state Senate, but is expected to fail in the House.
The House Education Committee is set to take up the bill today, but a new version the bill is now making the rounds. The substitute version of SB 18 would still destroy any meaningful tenure system in Texas, but it would do so more subtly. So subtly, in fact, that the Texas Tribune characterizes it as keeping tenure in Texas. The Texas Tribune has been suckered, and the Texas House might be as well. They should take a second look at the proposed substitute.
It is true that the new bill says that there will be tenure in system, but the details seriously subvert existing tenure protections. In particular, Section 3(c) defines the property interest in tenure as a single year salary. This is designed to allow university to fire tenured faculty without good cause so long as it pays out a single year salary. This is a mockery of a meaningful tenure system.
The bill also makes some significant modifications in what would qualify as good cause for terminating a faculty member at a state university in Texas. Section 3(c-1)(2)(A)(iv) allows professors to be fired for “moral turpitude.” This is not an uncommon contractual provisions, but I do not believe that it is common in university tenure systems. I
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