Kate McGee of the Texas Tribune writes that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has threatened to kill tenure in Texas universities to compel compliance with his wish to stop any teaching about race or racism, which he calls “critical race theory.”

Dan Patrick is a phony Texan. He wears boots, but he was born and raised in Baltimore. His birth name was Dannie Scott Goeb. He was the little Rush Limbaugh of Texas until he entered politics. He has never abandoned the politics of hatred and division that have made him successful. He has advocated for teaching creationism in the schools and backed legislation last year to prevent public schools from requiring that students read writings by prominent civil rights figures, such as Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King Jr., when covering women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes.” He is a 21st century Know-Nothing.

McGee writes:

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday that he will push to end professor tenure for all new hires at Texas public universities and colleges in an effort to combat faculty members who he says “indoctrinate” students with teachings about critical race theory.

“Go to a private school, let them raise their own funds to teach, but we’re not going to fund them,” said Patrick, who is running for reelection. “I’m not going to pay for that nonsense.”

Patrick, whose position overseeing the Senate allows him to drive the state’s legislative agenda, also proposed a change to state law that could make teaching critical race theory grounds for revoking tenure for professors who already have it. His announcement tees up the next major fight at the Texas Capitol over how college students learn about the history of race and racism in the United States.

Tenure is an indefinite appointment for university faculty that can only be terminated under extraordinary circumstances. Academics said Friday that tenure is intended to protect faculty and academic freedom from exactly the kind of politicization being waged by Patrick.

“This kind of attack is precisely why we have faculty tenure,” said Michael Harris, a professor at Southern Methodist University studying higher education, who likened tenure to lifetime appointments given to federal judges. “The political winds are going to blow at different times, and we want faculty to follow the best data and theory to try to understand what’s happening in our world.”

Patrick on Friday also proposed making tenure review an annual occurrence instead of something that takes place every six years. At the press conference, he said his proposals already have the support of state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee…

Patrick’s plan drew swift condemnation from the American Association of University Professors, the body that helped develop the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure that has been adopted by universities and colleges nationwide.

“There’s always been attempts to interfere in higher education, but I have never seen anything as egregious as this attack,” said Irene Mulvey, president of the AAUP. “This is an attempt to have government control of scholarship and teaching. That is a complete disaster. I’ve never seen anything this bad…”

Patrick said his latest priority is in response to the UT-Austin Faculty Council after it passed a nonbinding resolution Monday to reaffirm instructors’ academic freedom to teach on issues of racial justice and critical race theory.

“Legislative proposals and enactments seek to prohibit academic discussions of racism and related issues if the discussion would be ‘divisive’ or suggest ‘blame’ or cause ‘psychological distress,’” the resolution stated. “But fail to recognize that these criteria … chill the capacity of educators to exercise their academic freedom and use their expertise to make determinations regarding content and discussions that will serve educational purposes.”

One day after the resolution passed, Patrick signaled on Twitter that he would continue the fight against teaching the discipline in the next legislative session.

“I will not stand by and let looney Marxist UT professors poison the minds of young students with Critical Race Theory,” Patrick wrote on Twitter. “We banned it in publicly funded K-12 and we will ban it in publicly funded higher ed. That’s why we created the Liberty Institute at UT.…”

The proposal to end tenure would fundamentally change the way Texas universities operate in terms of hiring, teaching and research. Faculty members warn it’s likely to impose major challenges for Texas universities to recruit and retain researchers and scholars from across the country…

Harris said even the headlines to propose ending tenure could hurt Texas universities that are hiring faculty members for next year who might think twice about whether to take a job at a public university.

A few strategic phone calls from public university presidents to their alumni in the state legislature could shut down Dan Patrick mighty quick. He is an embarrassment to the state of Texas.