Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, no shrinking violet to be sure, has decided the latest “enemy” of the public are the educators who lecture our students attending public universities.
Patrick wants to restructure the tenure status granted to professors, making tenure subject to annual review rather than every six years. He wants public college and universities to stop teaching “nutty” notions. He said, according to the Texas Tribune: “I will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory,” Patrick wrote on Twitter. “We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed … “
Let’s hold on a minute, shall we?
I have been critical of universities that ban conservatives from speaking at, say, convocations or commencement ceremonies. Our institutions of higher learning are supposed to be open to all ideas, to all principles, all perspectives, all world views. Why not, then, let students decide which of them they embrace? Why not expose these young people — and, frankly, some students who aren’t so young — to all ideas?
Patrick favors only those ideas that comport with his own rigid conservative view of the world.
He targets “critical race theory” because, according to Patrick, it promotes a hatred of the country. Why? Because professors would dare to tell students about the nation’s original sin, the enslavement of African Americans. Uh, Dan? It happened, man! Telling our students of that sad chapter in our history is no “looney Marxist” theory.
As for the frontal assault on tenure, Patrick needs to stop politicizing a policy that grants academic freedom in a place where it should be honored, not vilified for political gain.