by James Nault at legalinsurrection.com
UT Allegedly Threatens and Retaliates Against Professor Richard Lowery, UT Administration Critic and Fighter Against the University’s CRT and DEI Initiatives
As we have extensively documented, University of Texas Finance Professor Richard Lowery has been a vocal critic of UT CRT and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policies, because he believes deeply that such policies “are fundamentally incompatible not only with the idea of academic freedom, but with the ultimate goals of seeking and conveying truth, which should be the cornerstone of any university.” This is because, Professor Lowery argues, they suppress any and all dissent, and only allow promotion of “predetermined activist goals.” See our coverage here:
- Op-Ed: The False Choice Between Academic Freedom and Critical Theory Bans
- UT-Austin Profs Backing Conservative Campus ‘Liberty Institute’ Say School Not Honoring Plans
- Prof: Administrators Brought Down the Conservative ‘Liberty Institute’ at UT-Austin
In fact, Professor Lowery even brought a class-action lawsuit against Texas A&M in the federal court in Houston in September of last year, arguing that Texas A&M was unlawfully discriminating against white and Asian males in its hiring practices. As Legal Insurrection’s own Professor William Jacobson remarked at the time:
This is an important case that puts the legal test to what we all know happens throughout higher education, racial and sex discrimination in the name of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Too many schools incorporate the discriminatory philosophy of “antiracism” huckster Ibram Kendi, that current discrimination is the remedy for past discrimination. Such a philosophy is illegal when put into hiring and promotion practices, and thanks to Prof. Lowery for having the courage to say so and to challenge this immoral regime in court.
This case is ongoing; see our detailed coverage here: Lowery v. Texas A&M: The Beginning of the End of ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ Discrimination?
In a press release, the Institute for Free Speech, which is representing Professor Lowery in federal court, claims the officials violated Professor Lowery’s constitutional right to “criticize government officials,” “harmed his right to academic freedom,” and “threatened to punish him for his criticism of the university by threatening his job, reducing his pay, and removing his affiliation with UT’s Salem Center” for Public Policy (Salem Center), an academic institute that is part of the UT McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin.
The defendants in the lawsuit are three officials at UT-Austin, who are all sued in their official capacity: Lillian Mills, Dean of the UT McCombs School of Business; Ethan Burris, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the McCombs School of Business; and Sheridan Titman, Finance Department Chair for the McCombs School of Business.
Key allegations in the Complaint regarding Lowery’s criticism of the UT officials include the following:
- “9. In recent years, Lowery has repeatedly criticized UT’s senior officials (‘UT’s Administration’), including President Jay Hartzell, and their approaches to issues such as critical-race theory indoctrination, affirmative action, academic freedom, competence-based performance measures, and the future of capitalism.”
- “10. He has in particular complained about the UT Administration’s use of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) requirements to filter out competent academics who dissent from the DEI ideology prevailing on campus.”
The Complaint then details how Lowery criticized UT’s “Global Sustainability Leadership Institute (‘GSLI’ or ‘Sustainability Institute’), which promotes Environment Sustainability and Governance (‘ESG’) based viewpoints that are consistent with the predominant DEI-ideology at UT and are often at odds with free-market principles and Lowery’s views.”
He also criticized UT’s diversion of $6 million in state funding for the “Liberty Institute,” which Professor Lowery created as a counterweight to UT’s CRT and DEI initiatives, to those same CRT and DEI initiatives and renaming the Liberty Institute “Civitas.”