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The University of Texas at Austin’s Faculty Council this week passed a resolution affirming academic freedom and the faculty’s right to teach critical race theory and gender justice, 41 to 5 with three abstentions. The council’s Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and UT Austin’s Councils for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity and for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity and Inclusion endorsed the resolution. Andrea Gore, Vacek Chair in Pharmacology at UT Austin and chair of the council’s academic freedom committee, said, “I think it’s a very powerful statement when the entire academic freedom and equity community comes together in this way.”

UT Austin’s resolution is based on a template resolution called “Defending Academic Freedom to Teach About Race and Gender Justice and Critical Race Theory.” More than a dozen faculty senates already have adopted or are considering adopting the template-based resolution, which says that the given senate “resolutely rejects any attempts by bodies external to the faculty to restrict or dictate university curriculum on any matter, including matters related to racial and social justice, and will stand firm against encroachment on faculty authority by the legislature or the Boards of Trustees.” The template was written by three professors who are working with the African American Policy Forum, in collaboration with the American Association of University Professors.