Texas A&M Hiring Debacle Exposes Liberalism of Texas Universities

Kathleen McElroy

Kathleen McElroy (Photo by
Joe Timmerman – The Texas Tribune)

When the story broke about that botched hiring at Texas A&M, I wrote it off as just more left-wing propaganda from the Texas Tribune.

Upon further review, the Tribune is due credit for exposing possibly the biggest scandal in Texas higher education.

It’s about more than a squabble over whether a professor, fixated on diversity, should re-start a journalism department.  It’s more about the plague of left-wing thought that encompasses our big colleges.

As a University of Texas graduate, I’ve always been a tad jealous of Texas A&M for its vaunted conservatism.

But the Texas Tribune, however unwittingly, has exposed A&M’s administration and faculty as no more conservative than that of UT.

Random Samplings is a service of the Texas Public Policy Foundation at TexasPolicy.com.

What kind of a Journalism Department did Texas A&M want to establish?

Let’s put it this way.  If you hired Joe Biden to teach a class on politics, what would you suppose he would lecture about?

My guess is that he would teach his students that government is the answer to every question and that the Constitution is simply a charter of negative rights.

If you don’t want that, you don’t hire him.  It’s the same with Kathleen McElroy.

McElroy’s key competency seemed to be in the area of making sure newsrooms are diverse.

This is just my opinion, but I suspect that didn’t sit well with Texas A&M donors and alumni who despise “TU” for being so overtly liberal, and who take pride in A&M’s abject conservatism.

This hire was about to burst that bubble. 

Of course, the Texas Tribune approached the story from a left-wing point of view, referring to McElroy as “an experienced journalist and professor,” and giving full coverage to faculty that complained about “political pressures [that] have interfered in a university,” and creating a “potential chilling effect on speech.”

It’s worth mentioning here that it is the Left that created and carried out so-called Cancel Culture.

It may be true that the Right cancelled McElroy, but if so – deal with it.

If her goal was to create a new Department of Journalism that would teach prospective “journalists” to always take the side of Social Justice rather than Equal Justice, and capitalize the “B” in “black” when referring to race – then she ought to have been cancelled.

Texas Tribune articles 7/25/23 (Photo by Lynn Woolley for WBDaily)

For the record, here is what a true Journalism Department would look like:

It would teach that The Press (though most of us don’t use presses anymore) should always speak truth to power.  It’s a cliché but it’s true.

Those in power, whether Democrats or Republicans need to be watched over by an “adversary press.”  It’s okay to believe them, but check them anyway.   Save your notes.  Save the tape.  Confront them when they lie.

CNN finds this easy to do concerning Trump, but not so easy to do with Biden.  CNN has allowed itself to become a propaganda unit.  That’s fine if clearly labeled (as MSNBC is), but sad if you’re trying to be the “the most trusted name in news.”

Another thing young reporters ought to learn is to dig deep.

There are scandals out there waiting to be reported if someone just looks for them.  But remember this too:  Nothing is more important than the truth.  You must have “the truth” and not simply “your truth.”

Newsrooms have been Oprah-ed up far too much.  News is not about feelings.

Is this what McElroy would have given Texas A&M?

Not likely, assuming she was more concerned with diversity than with actual journalism.  Contrary to what the Left tells us, diversity by itself does not make for better, more effective workplaces.  Excellence, however, works wonders.

So, my thought is that Texas A&M got caught being just as left-wing as “T-U” and oops – that doesn’t fly with the alumni.  That explains the “diversity hysteria” that we read about as the cause of McElroy’s demise at A&M.

And then came the Dan Patrick angle.

Texas A&M suspended a professor (Joy Alonzo, an opioid “expert”) who is said to have criticized Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in the course of a lecture.  Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, an ally of Patrick’s, is said to have blown the whistle.

The rub here is we have no actual evidence of what she said, but it may have been related to opioid policies that Patrick opposes.  There are a couple off possibilities, assuming she actually made the comments in class.

First, she might have brought up Patrick’s opposition to the policies that some say might save lives, and explained his point of view.  Then, she might have explained he opposing viewpoint, and asked the class to comment on the virtues or lack of on the two sides.  Fair.  Balanced.

Second, she might have railed against Patrick and Republicans for the right-wing views that she personally disagrees with, assuming she does.  Politically charged.  Not balanced.

I have no problem with the fist scenario, but the second is worrisome.  Colleges and universities are supposed to be bastions of free thought, and not centers of political indoctrination.  So, what was so severe that Buckingham felt obliged to ring the alarm bells?  I’ll ask her if I get the chance.

This scandal is about much more than Texas A&M.

 Yes, it has roiled the University, and has led to severe repercussions including the resignation of University President M. Katherine Banks.  But it leads to an ultimate question:

Is there a conservative university in the State of Texas?

Perhaps there are several.  Can you name them?

If Texas A&M University is not the epitome of conversative universities in Texas, then what have we come to?  Left-wing faculty at A&M are quoted by the Texas Tribune as whining about the very future of the University, with such language as:

  • Chilling effect of speech
  • Creation of a fearful environment
  • Professors agonizing over political ramifications of their own work
  • Professors looking to find employment elsewhere
  • Damage to the University’s reputation
  • Slowing efforts to recruit and retain academic talent
  • Eclipsing decades of work
  • Tense Faculty Senate meetings

In light of the situation that brought all this on, these are the ramblings of a left-wing faculty in a school that has not been overtly left-wing, but is heading that way fast.  Remember, none of this would have emerged into public view except for two things:

  • The attempted hiring of a journalism professor with a background in diversity
  • The massive exposure given this story by the Texas Tribune

In light of what’s taken place, exposure may be the right word.  It turns out that Texas A&M is just another large, left-wing institution.  Just like the University of Texas.  It also exposes the false notion that journalism schools teach journalism.

Texas can do better. 

Texas A&M ought to return to its conservative roots.  And my own alma mater, the University of Texas, ought to take a close look at its J-school.  Perhaps the Texas Tribune could do an expose.

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based author, broadcaster, and songwriter.  Follow his podcast at https://www.PlanetLogic.us.  Check out his author’s page at https://www.Amazon.com/author/lynnwoolley.  Order books direct from Lynn at https://PlanetLogicPress.Square.Site.  Email Lynn at lwoolley9189@gmail.com.


WARNING:  There might be some conservative thought in this book.

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