“We’re in the Weekend-at-Bernie’s phase of the Liberty Institute life cycle”
The Liberty Institute at University of Texas at Austin is supposed to be teaching conservative principles, but the professors who are backing it say the school is not honoring the agreed upon plans.
The Texas Tribune reports:
Professors behind conservative-backed “Liberty Institute” say UT has strayed from plan
University of Texas at Austin finance professor Richard Lowery was emailing with a colleague in London last November when he was asked if it was true that the so-called Liberty Institute “failed to launch.”
Six months prior, UT-Austin had received $6 million in the state budget to launch a new think tank “dedicated to the study and teaching of individual liberty, limited government, private enterprise and free markets,” known as the Liberty Institute.
The project had hit some roadblocks after The Texas Tribune reported that the university was working with conservative donors and politicians to launch the center, sparking concerns among some students and faculty that the Legislature was “politicizing” the university.
Lowery replied that the failure-to-launch rumor was “100% accurate.”
“We’re in the Weekend-at-Bernie’s phase of the Liberty Institute life cycle,” he wrote, referring to the 1989 movie about two coworkers pretending their murdered boss is still alive to continue their weekend vacation.
New emails obtained by the Tribune via open records requests show that multiple faculty members who were heavily involved with the center’s genesis are frustrated with the direction it has taken since last fall. Those professors, Lowery and Carlos Carvalho, say they are unhappy with the hiring process and worry about what they view as a lack of independence from the liberal-leaning faculty as a whole. And they accuse UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell and Richard Flores, deputy to the president for academic strategies, of backing off the agreed-upon proposal developed with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and conservative donors.
“The President of UT, in coordination with one of his chief deputies, Richard Flores, chose to completely default on the plan agreed to for bringing needed intellectual diversity to campus and to push back against the persistent attacks on free inquiry and academic freedom at UT-Austin,” Lowery said in an emailed statement.
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