Texas A&M’s Politically Charged Selection of an Interim President

The Board of Regents at Texas A&M have selected Mark Hussey as Interim President of the University System. Hussey has served as a Vice Chancellor at the institution and as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Governor Rick Perry, an alumnus of the Texas A&M, had expressed his preference for another candidate for the position–Guy Diedrich, the University’s Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and former President of the consulting firm Austin Technology Ventures.

So the choice was between someone who has spent his career in academia and someone who has come to academia from the private sector, with the faculty insisting that the position be filled by an academic and the governor and other political figures pressuring the regents to select someone with a corporate background and a more pointedly ideological perspective.

Indeed, according to the Associated Press, “since 2011, Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin have been at the center of a struggle between change-minded politicians and academics who fear accountability and cost-cutting measures are being prioritized over scholarship.” Continue reading

We All Politicize History

By Robert Jensen

Here’s an interesting question for historians: Why do ideologues never seem to be aware of their own ideology?

Such is the case with the recent report from the Texas Association of Scholars and the National Association of Scholars’ Center for the Study of the Curriculum, “Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?

What Kind of History Should We Teach?

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) today issued a report on the teaching of American history at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M. UT-Austin professor Jeremi Suri wrote a response to the NAS report on the blog of The Alcalde, the University of Texas alumni magazine, which we reprint here.

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Supreme Court hears arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas

This is a guest post by Yen Tran, a legal fellow in the AAUP’s Washington office. 

On Wednesday, I attended part of the US Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the case Fisher v. University of Texas.  As a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a minority student, a Texas resident, and someone interested in higher education law and civil rights, I was especially interested in hearing the oral arguments in this case.  I arrived at the Supreme Court around six in the morning, and I instantly wished I got there earlier; the impossibly long line wrapped from the steps of the Court to around the side of the Library of Congress across the street.  Although I did not get a seat to see the entire argument (apparently the last person to get a seat arrived at four in the morning, according to an informal survey), I did see two three-minutes segments, and because I was part of the last group admitted from the rotating line, I got to observe almost a half hour of oral arguments.  As a result, I was fortunate enough see the bulk of the Gregory Garre’s argument and all of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s argument as they defended the University of Texas admission policy, as well as Bert W. Rein’s rebuttal, who represented Abigail Fisher. Continue reading