A measure to address tenure reforms in Texas’ public universities was delayed in the Texas House on Thursday, putting the bill at risk of dying.
Senate Bill 18 would standardize procedures for awarding and removing tenure at Texas public colleges.
One of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s priorities, SB 18 in its original form would have prohibited the practice of awarding tenure at public universities.
Upon the bill’s passage from the Senate, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick denounced the entitlement exhibited by some tenured professors within the past year. He specifically cited a resolution adopted by the University of Texas Faculty Council in February 2022, which stated that they rejected any attempts to “restrict or dictate the content of university curriculum on any matter, including matters related to racial and social justice,” and that they would “stand firm against any and all encroachment on faculty authority including by the legislature or the Board of Regents.”
“Over the past year, it has become abundantly clear that some tenured faculty at Texas universities feel immune to oversight from the Legislature and their respective board of regents. These professors claim ‘academic freedom’ and hide behind their tenure to continue blatantly advancing their agenda of societal division,” said Patrick. “This behavior must not be tolerated.”
However, the measure was noticeably weak after working its way through the House Committee on Higher Education, only attempting to standardize procedures rather than end the practice.
House lawmakers could still amend the measure to strengthen the bill, but the bill was sent back to committee due to claims that the bill analysis is misleading.
Later in the afternoon, the House Higher Education Committee met and approved the legislation again, meaning the measure could be put on the calendar for later this week.
Tuesday May 23 is the last day for the House to consider Senate bills.