Following public concern, Texas A&M’s recently hired journalism director has decided to stay at the University of Texas at Austin.
Last month, Texas Scorecard reported that Texas A&M University hired Kathleen McElroy, former New York Times senior editor and a proponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as director to their new journalism program.
McElroy, an advocate for DEI initiatives at UT Austin, focused her studies on “race and its intersection with journalism” and admitted to teaching journalistic objectivity in a way that frames news with the context of “racist institutions.”
“We can’t just give people a set of facts anymore,” said McElroy.
She told The Texas Tribune that after A&M employees began expressing concerns about her work on race and diversity, the university began altering her employment contract.
Finally, they offered her a one-year deal as a professor without tenure, and a three-year appointment as the director of the journalism program, with emphasis that she could be terminated at any time.
A&M’s interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, José Luis Bermúdez, advised McElroy to remain in her tenured position at UT Austin, warning that she could be fired and he could not “protect her.”
McElroy’s decision to step down comes as the Texas A&M System begins an “ethics and compliance” review of DEI offices ahead of the statewide DEI ban in public universities.
Senate Bill 17 is expected to prohibit Texas universities from hiring employees to “perform the duties” of a DEI office and block any promotion of policies, training, or activities “designed or implemented in reference to race, color, or ethnicity.”
SB 17 will go into effect in January of 2024.