If you want to be infuriated, read this article in The Texas Tribune about Kathleen McElroy—a tenured professor and director of University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism from 2016 to 2022—who was recruited by Texas A&M University to revive its journalism program, which stopped giving degrees in 2004. When Dr. McElroy expressed the desire to join her alma mater's faculty, Texas A&M celebrated with a public, official signing ceremony, complete with balloons in A&M colors.
Just days after the fanfare, however, McElroy began hearing grumblings from Texas A&M about her hire—seems some folks in charge weren't pleased with McElroy's research, which focuses on news media and race, and specifically explores how to bring more diversity to news organizations. The Texas Tribune explains:
McElroy said she was told that her appointment was caught up in "DEI hysteria" as Texas university leaders try to figure out what type of work involving race is allowed.
They provide more context:
The situation comes at a fraught time at Texas public universities. Schools are preparing for a new state law to go into effect in January that bans offices, programs and training that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Recently, the Texas A&M System started a systemwide audit of all DEI offices in response to the new law.
Conservative Texans — from locally elected public school trustees to top state officials — have labeled several books and schools of thought that center the perspectives of people of color as "woke" ideologies that make white children feel guilty for the country's history of racism. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the consideration of race in college admissions, effectively ending affirmative action in American higher education.
Texas A&M didn't exactly revoke Dr. McElroy's offer completely, but they kept revising it to make it so terrible—while the original offer was a directorship of the journalism program, and professorship with tenure, the final offer was a one-year contract that could be terminated at any time–that Dr. McElroy has no choice but to remain at UT. It's really shameful that Professor McElroy was put through this racist hiring charade, and it's no surprise that she has come out of it on the other end feeling so mistreated. Again, The Texas Tribune:
"I feel damaged by this entire process," said McElroy, who is a Black woman and a native of Houston's Third Ward, and whose father, George A. McElroy, was a pioneering Black journalist. "I'm being judged by race, maybe gender. And I don't think other folks would face the same bars or challenges. And it seems that my being an Aggie, wanting to lead an Aggie program to what I thought would be prosperity, wasn't enough."
This all strikes me as even worse because she's a graduate of Texas A&M. My first job as a professor was at A&M, so I am personally aware of how the university constantly touts its core values, which the Texas A&M Association of Former Students describes as "a cultural doctrine for current and former students, friends, faculty and staff." Those core values include: Loyalty, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, Selfless Service, and Respect. When working there, I always heard phrases like "Once an Aggie, always an Aggie." Seems that doesn't apply to everyone.
Texas A&M should be ashamed of itself, as should the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, as well as Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature, which recently passed Senate Bill 16, a bill containing language barring university professors from influencing students "to adopt a belief that any race, sex, or ethnicity or social, political, or religious belief is inherently superior to any other race, sex, ethnicity, or belief." If anyone has had any doubts about whether this law will be enforced, I think the answer is a resounding YES.