The Volokh Conspiracy

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Academic Freedom

The Academic Freedom Podcast #13 on Texas and Tenure

A conversation with Matthew Finkin on the relationship between tenure and academic freedom


A new episode of The Academic Freedom Podcast from the Academic Freedom Alliance is now available. Subscribe through your favorite platform so you don't miss an episode.

In this episode I talk with Matthew Finkin about Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's call for abolishing tenure at state universities. Last week Patrick declared that he would make it a top priority in the next legislative session to ban the teaching of "critical race theory" at Texas universities, to terminate any faculty member who does so, and to abolish tenure at public universities. The Academic Freedom Alliance released a public statement responding to that announcement.

Finkin is an expert on employment law and academic freedom. He now holds the Swanlund Endowed Chair at the College of Law at the University of Illinois and began his career as a staff attorney at the American Association of University Professors. He is the author of The Case for Tenure and co-author of For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom. In the podcast, we discuss the history and rationale for tenure for faculty at American universities, the relationship between tenure protections and academic freedom, and threats to tenure and academic freedom at state universities from right-wing politicians and at private universities from left-wing professors.

Listen to the whole thing here.