Texas AAUP and Texas AFT collaborated with Black Brown Dialogues on Policy, Every Texan, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Texans United for DEI project, Texas Faculty Association, Texas Association of College Teachers, Texas Council of Faculty Senates, Texas Faculty Coalition, Texas State Employees Union, and Texas Students for DEI.
Our collaborative effort worked closely with the Legislative Black Caucus, Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and other Legislators to effect changes in bills through visiting Legislative offices, testifying at committee hearings, and proposing amendments to bills during floor debates.
Advocacy Outcomes: In the House, we were able to change the legal definition of tenure in SB 18 from one-year guaranteed contracts to continuous employment. We also influenced changes in SB 17 including several exceptions for grants. We helped defeat the censorship bill (SB 16).
Picture taken on April 6, 2023, by the Texas Tribune during a House vote on a Budget Rider to prohibit DEI pratices in public higher ed. Link to article.
Texas AAUP Press Release May 28, 2023
The Texas Conference of American Association of University Professors is deeply disappointed that the Texas Legislature passed SB17 to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at public universities and community colleges.
The bill sends a clear message to the 1.3M public university and community college students that our state is not committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds and to building a public higher education system that is truly inclusive and supportive of all.
Importantly, this version does not include any provisions for an infrastructure that will satisfy the workforce development requirements of federal and private grant funding agencies. Because of the critical role grants play in supporting thousands of personnel, and in training the next generation of workers with advanced skills, we believe that SB17 will prove devastating to the economy, and to building the highly trained workforce of Texas. The State should prepare for a loss of billions of dollars in research and programmatic grants.
SB17 also undermines the tenet of academic freedom essential to a thriving and innovative institution of higher education...
Texas AAUP Press Release May 27, 2023
Today, in response to the Senate’s passage of the House version of SB 18, the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reiterated its defense of faculty tenure and academic freedom.
Brian Evans, Vice President of the Texas AAUP Conference, says that “tenure is a vital protection of the academic freedom for professors to develop, discuss, and share knowledge from all viewpoints, including conservative, moderate, liberal, and apolitical. A meaningful tenure system protects academic freedom in teaching, research, and expression, provides for long-term stability, and includes due process protections and procedures for professors undergoing review".
A robust tenure system is crucial for Texas to recruit and retain excellent professors, and for the state to be at the forefront of research and education. Our tenured and tenure-track professors are vital for workforce development in the state, including teaching key technical skills in our community colleges and bringing billions of dollars in federal grants each year to train advanced STEM students in our public universities. Our professors foster critical thinking skills across all disciplines for long-term student success....
Texas AAUP and Texas AFT trained 30 faculty to visit Legislative offices in teams of 2-4. We built relationships with more than 50 Legislative Offices. There are 181 Legislators. Picture from left to right is Brian Evans (Texas AAUP), David Albert (Texas AFT & Texas AAUP), and Rep. Vicki Goodwin.
Texas AFT hosted a brainstorming session for AFT and AAUP members and Rep. John Bucy, III, Rep. Sheryl Cole, Rep. Lulu Flores, Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Rep. Gina Hinojosa, Rep. Donna Howard, and Rep. James Talarico, Reps. Bucy, Cole, and Howard are on the House Higher Ed Committee.
At the event, we discussed several issues with the Representatives including censorship, academic freedom, tenure, diversity, equity and inclusion, and campus safety.
Pictured is Rep. Bucy standing in the center and Dr. Jim Klein (Texas AAUP) on far left. Other AAUP members in attendance included David Albert, Brian Evans, Pat Heintzelman, Teresa Klein, Rennison Laglee, Ann McGlashan, Lynn Tatum, and Tony Villanueva. Pat Heintzelman is also President of the Texas Faculty Association, TSTA, NEA and Jim Klein is also President of the Texas Association of College Teachers.
Texas AAUP and Texas AFT trained hundreds of faculty to present oral and written testimony at the hearings by the Senate Higher Ed Subcommittee for SB 16, 17 and 18 and the House Higher Ed Committee for SB 17 and 18. At the House hearings, we had more than 70 testify in person against SB 18 and more than 130 against SB 17. Hundreds more submitted written testimony.
Picture taken after the Senate Higher Ed Subcommittee hearing on April 6, 2023, on SB 17.
Brian Evans (back row; third from right) and Polly Strong (back row; fourth from left) Texas AAUP;
Angela Valenzuela (front row; third from right) and Emilio Zamora (second from left) from Black Brown Dialogues on Policy;
Hamida Labi (third from the left) and Allen Liu (far left) from the NCAAP Legal Defense Fund;
Miriam Leaky (back row; second from right) from the Legislative Black Caucus.
Over 150 faculty, staff, and students rallied on the South Steps of the State Capitol on May 3, 2023, to advocate for the freedom to learn in higher education. The rally opposed SB 17 and SB 18. After the rally, we visited our elected representatives.
The Freedom to Learn Rally was hosted by the Texas Faculty Coalition, Texas Students for DEI, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Legislative Black Caucus (LBC).
Rep. Ron Reynolds, LBC Chair, is the third person from the right wearing a light blue suit.
In addition to the Freedom to Learn Rally in Austin, there were similar rallies on the same day across the State of Texas.
Texas AAUP participated in the Texas AFT press conference on the first day of the Legislative session on public K-12 and higher education.
Texas AAUP collaborated with eleven other higher ed advocacy organizations during session including Black Brown Dialogues on Policy.
Pictured above is the Feb. 14, 2023, press conference by the Black Brown Dialogues on Policy, Legislative Black Caucus, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and the Texas NAACP against the Governor's announcement to end diversity as a consideration in hiring in state agencies and against bills filed to end diversity, equity and inclusion in public higher ed.
Speaking is Angela Valenzuela who leads the Black Brown Dialogues on Policy (BBDP).
Front Row Left to Right: Rep. Rhetta Bowers, Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos, Rep. Sheryl Cole, Dr. Angela Valenzuela (BBDP), Rep. Jolanda Jones, Rep. Carl Sherman, Rep. Victoria Neave Criado, and Rep. Venton Jones.
Second Row Left to Right: Rep. Lulu Flores,
Rep. Gina Hinojosa, Dr. Junichi Lockett (BBDP), Gary Bledsoe (President Texas NAACP).
Texas AAUP participated in the Texas AFT event that brought more than 400 Texas AFT members from across the state to meet several Texas Legislators on March 13, 2023, on public K-12 issues. These issues included campus safety, class sizes, work weeks, standardized testing, retirement benefits, and school vouchers. All these issues relate to the Texas AFT Respect US Expect US campaign for dignity and respect for K-12 educators. Texas AFT has 66,000 members, which 20% of all K-12 educators in Texas. Texas AFT also has 2,000 members in public higher ed.
In Texas, higher education at our community colleges, technical colleges, universities, and health institutions is interconnected with our K-12 schools. Most of our higher ed students come from our K-12 schools and most of our K-12 educators come from our higher ed institutions.