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University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas (Jon Herskovitz/Reuters)
The head of the National Association of Scholars Affiliate claims the University of Texas at Austin is twisting “academic freedom,” long a conservative mission to restore pluralism and intellectual diversity on college campuses, to impose critical race theory and gender ideology into curricula.
On February 14th, 2022, the Faculty Council at the University of Texas at Austin voted on a resolution “affirming the fundamental rights of academic freedom in its broadest sense, inclusive of research and teaching of race and gender theory.”
NAS Affiliate Head and Associate Professor of Finance Richard Lowery said the pledge’s language is misleading because its signers intend to teach radically progressive pedagogy on race and gender to the exclusion of more mainstream perspectives. The resolution came in response to a recent Texas law that prohibits instructors at public K-12 schools and universities from promoting radical ideology on race and sex, including the idea that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
Lowery was one of five faculty members on the panel to reject the resolution.
The UT Austin administration has “done so much to suppress what anyone else can say on campus and beyond…We have a policy now where all faculty for promotion and hiring are supposed to be expressing their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion as defined by the critical race theorist group,” he told Fox News in an interview.
“They want representation on all the hiring and promotion committees…And then as soon as anyone starts pushing back and saying, ‘no, we need to be free to do our thing, and you can’t impose your ideas on us,’ then they get all worked up about academic freedom. And the hypocrisy really gets to me,” he added.
Lowery said the university’s promotion and hiring policy, implemented in April 2021, already peddles diversity, equity, and inclusion and even appears to discriminate against candidates on the basis of political orientation. Given UTAustin’s track record, Lowery said he’s confident the “academic freedom” proposal will be a trojan horse for the radical indoctrination of students. It won the support of the University Faculty Gender Equity Council, the Council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity.
“So many of the faculty view themselves as activists first and educators and researchers second and third at best. There is this mindset that we need to be bringing about this specific set of social changes dictated by this odd theory that they’ve built up, not provide education or look objectively at facts. This activist core drives so much of the university,” he told the outlet.
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