A bill proposed last week in Texas would effectively end faculty tenure for all hires in September and beyond, succeeding Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s mission to curb faculty members’ sway over students and their ability to “indoctrinate” them with instruction on “critical race theory.”
State Senator and chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Brandon Creighton filed Senate Bill 18, which also demands faculty undergo a yearly performance evaluation which would help “establish an alternate system of tiered employment status for faculty members.”
“Tenure was originally intended to protect academic freedom and recruit professors, however over the years, the practice has devolved into a costly perk that is detrimental to innovative research and quality instruction and if abused, used as an attack against the brand of the university itself,” he said in a news release.
Critics of the bill believe it will impede high-quality faculty from seeking employment in Texas public higher education, which will in turn hurt the system’s reputation. Similar legislation poised against faculty tenure in Florida has raised similar alarms from critics. “Positions are beginning to go unfilled and searches are failing,” said Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida.
With Texas legislation against faculty tenure following Florida’s footsteps, similar legislation to DeSantis’ House Bill 999 – which increases state authority over the public higher education system – doesn’t seem too far behind.
Similarly, North Dakota’s House recently proposed a bill at Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University that would launch a 4-year pilot program allowing their presidents to review faculty tenure “at any time the president deems a review is in the institution’s best interest.” The bill passed 66-27 and will now be considered by the Sentate.
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