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The AAUP office reopened on September 7, 2021. Contact information for all staff, including those working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, is available here

 

 

AAUP Files Brief Condemning Political Attacks on Teaching About Race and Racial Justice in Texas

On September 3, 2021, the AAUP submitted a brief to Texas attorney general Ken Paxton strongly opposing recent political efforts to ban ideas from the classroom. The brief was filed in response to a recent request from State Rep. James White for an opinion on whether teaching about race and racism in America, including critical race theory (CRT), would violate the civil rights of Texans. This insidious political maneuver to ban discussion of racial inequality is part of a broader right wing assault on the ability to teach truthfully about the impact of racism on American history and society. “The unmistakable aim of such efforts is to impose thought control on American education and thereby on the American people," the brief states.

These attempts to limit classroom discussion stand in irreconcilable conflict with the principles of free inquiry, free thought, and free expression, which the AAUP has championed for more than a century. The AAUP’s brief underscores how these transparent attempts to dictate the education provided by faculty could undermine higher education, violate academic freedom, and result in censorship and indoctrination. As the brief states,

Academic freedom is the chief cornerstone of higher education. Unless academic activity is protected from government intrusion, the integrity of the educational system as a whole is imperiled. In higher education, the principle of academic freedom is closely linked to the function of the university as an institution charged with the attainment of the common good through the discovery and transmission of knowledge. In the absence of academic freedom, colleges and universities are prone to becoming instruments for the advancement of narrow partisan interests, mouthpieces for the propagation of specific doctrines, and factories of indoctrination rather than places of legitimate education. A government ban on classroom discussions of ideas and analysis concerning historical context and current issues of race and racism in the United States would violate academic freedom and undermine the higher education system.

The deadline for the Texas attorney general to issue an opinion is January 31, 2022. Counsel for AAUP are available for interview. An AAUP statement on legislation restricting teaching on race can be found here.
 

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, September 7, 2021