Texas AAUP-AFT Welcomes New Chapters at 12 Universities Across Texas

Texas AAUP-AFT President Brian Evans speaks to media in May 2024 with allied groups and elected officials, including state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Houston) and state Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio).  

In the wake of last year’s unprecedented attacks against higher education in the Texas Legislature and the draconian crackdowns on free speech by campus administrators, Texas AAUP (American Association of University Professors) has welcomed new chapters at 12 universities across the state since the beginning of this year.  

Texas AAUP, which recently affiliated with Texas AFT, has been a bulwark against attacks on higher education – both in the state legislature and on individual college campuses – and has provided an important framework for university professors and other higher education employees to organize around to make their voices heard. 

Employees at colleges and universities across Texas have seen the important role that Texas AAUP has played and the benefits of membership, inspiring them to create Texas AAUP chapters where there previously were none. Each of these chapters have been recognized by the national AAUP. The 12 new Texas AAUP chapters have formed at: 

  • Lamar University 
  • Rice University 
  • Sam Houston State University 
  • Tarleton State University 
  • Texas State University 
  • Texas Woman’s University 
  • Trinity University 
  • West Texas A&M University 
  • University of Houston 
  • The University of Texas at Arlington 
  • The University of Texas at Dallas 
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 

The addition of these 12 recently formed chapters has nearly doubled the number of Texas AAUP chapters from just last year. A full list of Texas AAUP’s 25 chapters is available on its website. In addition to these 25 officially recognized chapters, Texas AAUP has members on 50 other campuses across the state.  

This organizing activity could not have come at a more important moment. Even during this summer, as activity on college campuses has generally slowed after reaching a fever-pitch at the end of the spring semester, opponents of academic freedom have continued their relentless attacks. 

After the University of Texas at Austin laid off dozens of employees who previously occupied DEI related positions, the university administration announced a second round of layoffs, this time directed at the communications and marketing department. The university administration claims that these layoffs are part of a broader restructuring effort in the wake of several “crises” over the last month, including the mass arrest of protestors on campus and the tumultuous implementation of SB 17.  

This month, the Dallas Morning News published a piece documenting the rollback of 131 scholarships offered by Texas colleges and universities, as a part of the implementation of Senate Bill 17’s ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

In a statement, Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), the author of SB 17, said, “The law makes clear that taxpayer funds should not be spent conferring special benefits based on race, color, or ethnicity.” However, many of the 131 scholarships were funded by donations, not taxpayer dollars. 

These scholarships offered a critical lifeline to prospective students, who otherwise might not be able to afford higher education given increases in education costs over the past few decades. This report comes in the wake of previous reporting by the DMN showing that SB 17 resulted in the elimination of a scholarship for undocumented students, despite the fact this scholarship did not seem to violate SB 17’s ban on different treatment “based on race, color, or ethnicity.” 

Texas AAUP-AFT will continue to monitor developments, especially related to interim charges in the House and the Senate, as well as the accompanying hearings