Republican Complacence in the Face of Public University Radicalization

Herein lies a cautionary tale. If publicly funded higher education can be hijacked in America’s most conservative state, under the noses of a legislature with lopsided Republican majorities in both houses, and with a Republican governor and Republican lieutenant governor, it can (and likely will) happen in your state—if you let it.

Gregory L. Fenves, president of the University of Texas at Austin since 2015, is apparently intent on remaking the place in the image of his alma mater (B.S., 1980; Ph.D., 1984), the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught for 20 years before moving in 2008 to UT  as dean of the engineering school. Fenves was promoted to executive vice president and provost under the disgraced regime of William C. “Bill” Powers. When Powers was forced to resign from the university due to a preferential admissions scandal he attempted to cover up (outside investigators concludedPowers and his staff had “misled the inquiry” and “failed to speak with the candor and forthrightness expected of people in their respective positions of trust and leadership”), Fenves succeeded Powers as president. While Fenves has steered clear of the flagrant cronyism and corruption that plagued the university under Powers, he has promoted a left-wing political agenda that is even more troubling.

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