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U Texas Prof Sues After Alleged “Campaign to Silence” Him For Criticizing University

U Texas Prof Sues After Alleged “Campaign to Silence” Him For Criticizing University

UT Allegedly Threatens and Retaliates Against Professor Richard Lowery, UT Administration Critic and Fighter Against the University’s CRT and DEI Initiatives

As we have extensively documented, University of Texas Finance Professor Richard Lowery has been a vocal critic of UT CRT and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policies, because he believes deeply that such policies “are fundamentally incompatible not only with the idea of academic freedom, but with the ultimate goals of seeking and conveying truth, which should be the cornerstone of any university.” This is because, Professor Lowery argues, they suppress any and all dissent, and only allow promotion of “predetermined activist goals.” See our coverage here:

In fact, Professor Lowery even brought a class-action lawsuit against Texas A&M in the federal court in Houston in September of last year, arguing that Texas A&M was unlawfully discriminating against white and Asian males in its hiring practices. As Legal Insurrection’s own Professor William Jacobson remarked at the time:

This is an important case that puts the legal test to what we all know happens throughout higher education, racial and sex discrimination in the name of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Too many schools incorporate the discriminatory philosophy of “antiracism” huckster Ibram Kendi, that current discrimination is the remedy for past discrimination. Such a philosophy is illegal when put into hiring and promotion practices, and thanks to Prof. Lowery for having the courage to say so and to challenge this immoral regime in court.

This case is ongoing; see our detailed coverage here: Lowery v. Texas A&M: The Beginning of the End of ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ Discrimination?

Now, Professor Lowery has brought another lawsuit, this time against three University of Texas officials.

In a press release, the Institute for Free Speech, which is representing Professor Lowery in federal court, claims the officials violated Professor Lowery’s constitutional right to “criticize government officials,” “harmed his right to academic freedom,” and “threatened to punish him for his criticism of the university by threatening his job, reducing his pay, and removing his affiliation with UT’s Salem Center” for Public Policy (Salem Center), an academic institute that is part of the UT McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin.

The defendants in the lawsuit are three officials at UT-Austin, who are all sued in their official capacity: Lillian Mills, Dean of the UT McCombs School of Business; Ethan Burris, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the McCombs School of Business; and Sheridan Titman, Finance Department Chair for the McCombs School of Business.

Key allegations in the Complaint regarding Lowery’s criticism of the UT officials include the following:

The Complaint then details how Lowery criticized UT’s “Global Sustainability Leadership Institute (‘GSLI’ or ‘Sustainability Institute’), which promotes Environment Sustainability and Governance (‘ESG’) based viewpoints that are consistent with the predominant DEI-ideology at UT and are often at odds with free-market principles and Lowery’s views.”

He also criticized UT’s diversion of $6 million in state funding for the “Liberty Institute,” which Professor Lowery created as a counterweight to UT’s CRT and DEI initiatives, to those same CRT and DEI initiatives and renaming the Liberty Institute “Civitas.”

This criticism, the Complaint alleges, was not well received, and allegedly resulted in the following threatening and retaliatory action against Professor Lowery:

  • Defendants repeatedly requested Professor Lowery’s supervisor at the Salem Center, Carlos Carvalho, order Lowery’s silence, stating that he should advise Lowery to “tone it down” because Lowery was “crossing the line” in his criticism of the UT officials.
  • “In another meeting in Burris’s office, on or about October 17, 2022, Burris stressed to Carvalho the importance of ‘civility’ while also reminding Carvalho that Burris is the one who must approve Lowery’s compensation and ultimately oversees the Salem Center.  Although he had just renewed Lowery’s annual appointment, Burris allegedly told Carvalho that he might not approve Lowery’s appointment to the center in the future because of his speech.”
  • When Carvalho initially refused to silence Lowery, the UT officials suggested Carvalho not renew Lowery’s annual contract with the Salem Center, and Dean Mills later threatened Carvalho himself with termination, allegedly stating that “I don’t need to remind you that you serve at my pleasure.”
  • Carvalho then allegedly caved to the pressure, and “relayed Titman, Mills, and Burris’s threats to Lowery, as they requested and expected that he would.”

The Complaint also alleges that the three UT officials “also allowed, or at least did not retract, a UT employee’s request that police surveil Lowery’s speech.”

As a result, the Complaint claims that “Lowery would continue speaking his mind about political and academic matters, including criticizing the UT Administration, DEI policies, the Sustainability Institute and the hijacking of the Liberty Institute. But he refrains from doing so because he believes Defendants will make good on their threats, including ending his affiliation with the Salem Center, cutting his pay, accusing him of incivility, equating his opinions with inciting violence, and placing him under police surveillance.”

In short, the Complaint claims that the three UT officials waged a “campaign to silence Lowery,” which Lowery claims has been effective and which violates his First Amendment right to free speech.

As mentioned, “[a]ttorneys at the Institute for Free Speech, a nonpartisan First Amendment advocacy group, are representing Lowery in court. Michael E. Lovins, of the Austin law firm Lovins Trosclair, also represents Lowery in the lawsuit.”

Del Kolde, senior attorney at the Institute for Free Speech, said, “Professors at public universities have the right to criticize administrators and speak to elected officials. The First Amendment protects such speech and, in a free society, DEI programs and UT’s president are not above public criticism.”

The lawsuit asks the court to:

The case is Lowery v. Mills in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. To read the complaint, click here. The case is assigned to District Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench and a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.

We inquired, but UT has not yet responded to a request for comment.

We will update this case as it proceeds through the federal court system.


Note: The original post stated that the Press Release cited was from the Institute for Justice. It was actually from the Institute for Free Speech, as loyal reader Milhouse correctly pointed out.


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UT has become the old USSR by the sound of this. This prof is fighting the good fight against evil. Sue their red liberal arses.

In a press release, the Institute for Justice, which is representing Professor Lowery in federal court,

Wrong institute. IJ and IFS are both wonderful organizations, and both have a flame in their logos, but they are not the same, and as far as I know are not affiliated with each other. IJ is Chip Mellor, Scott Bullock, et al. IFS is Bradley Smith. All wonderful people doing good for America.

I wonder. Can these people not be sued in proper person for egregious violations of Constitutional rights?

I hope this professor inspires many state house members and governors to find their will to do what is right.

Critical Racists’ Theory (CRT) presumes diversity dogma under the Pro-Choice ethical religion adopted by Progressive sects practiced as DIEversity under a Rainbow (i.e. albinophobic) banner of a class-disordered ideology. #HateLovesAbortion

Academic heresy is always punished.

MoeHowardwasright | February 12, 2023 at 4:05 pm

It’s nice to see Cromwell has resurfaced in the person of administrators at UT. What’s next? Burning the heretics homes down as a warning to others? Governor Abbott grow a pair and put a stop to this crap!! FJB

We need more professors who are willing to go to court to protect academic freedom

    Since Democrats will disbar any attorney who takes the case, we need to have governors take the licensing function away from the state bar association.

The proper sequence for the acronym of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is DIE not DEI. Don’t be so respectful to these spirit killers. They don’t deserve it.


Free Speech: DIE!

It’s good to see the few fight back. But he will be villified as having personality issues etc. The ones who fight back are never going to be the normal well adjusted sort. They just submit.