After years of controversy around professors’ academic freedoms, Collin College, alongside Kansas Emporia State University, was added to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) censure list.
As previously reported by Local Profile, in late April 2023 the association released a report detailing the Collin College administration’s summary termination of the services of three professors that revealed “egregious violations” of said professors’ academic freedoms “to speak as citizens and to criticize institutional policies.”
In response to AAUP’s report, a Collin College spokesperson told Local Profile,“We are firm in our conviction that all Board approved policies pertaining to academic freedom are consistently followed at the college, as are procedures for faculty contract renewals.”
However, the college distanced itself from AAUP. “While Collin College recognizes the long history of the American Association of University Professors as an advocacy group… the college has never adopted AAUP’s standards, nor has tenure ever been offered at Collin College,” a Collin College spokesperson told Inside Higher Ed. “Instead, we are guided by the standards set out in our own board policies.”
The findings in the report and Collin College’s response to it prompted the AAUP to include the institution in the censure list along with other colleges and universities that don’t follow the association’s 1940 statement of principles on academic freedom and tenure.
In May, Irene Mulvey, AAUP’s national president, published an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed where she said Collin College’s response showed a “fundamental misunderstanding” of AAUP.
“Although Collin uses our 1940 Statement to define academic freedom in its institutional policies, it fails to include the key elements that protect academic freedom — tenure and academic due process,” said Mulvey. “Without robust procedural protections for faculty, academic freedom is utterly meaningless.”
Additionally, AAUP is not alone in its opinion on Collin College’s administration. In February, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the nonprofit dedicated to defending the First Amendment in academia that represented Collin College professors, included Collin College in its 2023 10 worst colleges for free speech list.