Today’s blacklisted American: Professor sues University of Texas for threatening his job because he criticized it publicly – Behind The Black – Robert Zimmerman

They’re coming for you next: Professor Richard Lowery is now suing the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) for its attempts to silence him, including threatening his job, cutting his pay, and monitoring his speech, actions instigated against Lowery because he was publicly critical of the university’s racist “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies as well as the university’s efforts, led by its president Jay Hartzell, to insert political propaganda into its courses.

Lowery is being represented by the Institute for Free Speech, which filed his lawsuit [pdf] on February 8, 2023.

The campaign [against Lowery and his allies at the university] started by pressuring Carlos Carvalho, another professor of business at the UT McCombs School who is also the Executive Director of the Salem Center for Public Policy, an academic institute that is part of the McCombs School. Lowery is an Associate Director and a Senior Scholar at the Salem Center and reports to Carvalho.

In the summer of 2022, Sheridan Titman, one of the senior UT officials named in the lawsuit, told Carvalho, “We need to do something about Richard.” According to the lawsuit, “he added that [UT] President [Jay] Hartzell and Dean [Lillian] Mills were upset about Lowery’s political advocacy.” Titman wanted to know if ‘we can ask him to tone it down?’”

Carvalho understood this as a threat by Titman, directed at Lowery, but initially refused to convey it. Carvalho explained to Titman that the First Amendment protected Prof. Lowery’s right to expression.

Despite this, the administrators ratcheted up the pressure on Carvalho and Lowery. When Carvalho again resisted calls to discipline Lowery over his speech. Dean Mills, the lead defendant in the lawsuit, threatened to remove Carvalho from his Executive Director post. “I don’t need to remind you that you serve at my pleasure,” she said. These were among the UT administration’s threats to Lowery’s “job, pay, institute affiliation, research opportunities, [and] academic freedom.”

Some in the administration even “allowed, or at least did not retract, a UT employee’s request that police surveil Lowery’s speech, because he might contact politicians or other influential people.” [emphasis mine]

Lowery has since been forced to self-censor, cutting back on his public commentary, including ending his use of Twitter. He also fears police action against him, instigated by their surveillance of his speech and his fear of broad unfounded accusations by these university officials.

Lowery is not new to these battles…..

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