Showdown At Texas Tech By Brett Campbell and Paul Prick GPC, could only point to the case of an elderly woman who was afraid to take in a roommate because she feared that if fellow city employees thought she was “funny” she might lose her job not exactly the kind of horror story that shakes the conscience of a society. This kind of documentation enabled John Goodner to go around proclaiming, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In addition, Goodner pointed out that several years ago Mayor McConn issued an executive letter which prohibited discrimination due to sexual orientation; official city policy, he said, therefore already banned that type of discrimination. WHETHER THE strong emotions stirred up in this campaign will become a factor in the upcoming municipal elections \(set When Councilman Anthony Hall first brought up the anti-discrimination measures last year, he was quickly accused by his political opponents of trying to buy gay support for an upcoming mayoral bid. Hall has, on occasion, expressed a desire to become the city’s first black mayor. Now, with the high visibility he received as the sponsor of the measures, he may become a prime target for anti-gay conservatives and may well face an uphill battle to retain his seat on the council. Although no candidate has formally announced against Mayor Kathy Whitmire, it is expected that she will face major opposition in her bid for reelection later this year. That opposition could come from Councilman John Goodner, who has announced that it is “very possible” he will challenge Whitmire if his supporters can match the $300,000 the mayor has in her campaign chest. He has also indicated that he believes he could beat Whitmire if he were to focus on such issues as the city’s personnel problems and her lack of leadership. Bob Stein says his poll results indicate that the voters will not hold Whitmire’s support of the referendum against her. He also indicated, however, that the mere fact that people believe Whitmire is in potential trouble may itself become a factor in the upcoming race. He believes if a strong conservative candidate opposes her, her base of support could be weakened to the point that a third candidate could step in and become elected. Poll results even suggest who that potential third candidate could be. According to Stein, city council member Eleanor Tinsley, a two-term incumbent, has as high a favorable rating as the mayor, yet her unfavorable rating is less than half that of Whitmire’s. Since Tinsley is considered a liberal member of the council, she shares basically the same constituency as Whitmire, which makes her a prime candidate should the mayor’s support begin to falter. Whatever the outcome, it is clear that the referendum campaign has polarized voters, which will result in more clearly defined liberal/conservative battles in the future. In addition to city politics, the effects of the referendum vote could easily spill over into other areas as right-wing moralists push for stronger laws against pornography, adult bookstores, and nude modeling studios, in an effort to clean up local neighborhoods. Harris County Republican party chairman Russ Mather has even expressed dismay that Texas’ sodomy law was judged unconstitutional, and conservatives might begin pushing for a new law which could possibly pass a judicial test. In trying to pass anti-discriminatory policy, members of the Houston City Council have been caught in a politically disastrous position, with the anti-gay conservatives_claiming a public mandate for their programs. The outcome of this battle promises to have a lasting impact. Lubbock, Austin IT TAKES A LOT to wake up Texas Tech, a quiet, orderly school embedded in quiet, orderly Lubbock. But that orderly quiet was shattered on Wednesday, October 10, when 545 professors 81.1 percent of those voting opened a ballot and checked this statement: “I do not have confidence in Lauro Cavazos as President of Texas Tech University.” Nor were these merely a few insomniacs disturbing the majority’s contented sleep. The 672 professors who voted represent 83 percent of the tenured or tenure-track faculty. Clearly, something must be very wrong to kick up so much dust on a campus characterized by one Brett Campbell, an Austin freelance writer, is on leave from UT Law School. Paul Price is a Master’s candidate in geology at Texas Tech. professor as “seething with rest” even during the 1960s. The culprit: a new tenure policy written by the administration and imposed by the Board of Regents that appears to violate traditional standards of academic freedom. The tenure flap is but the latest in a string of disputes that have shaken Tech since Cavazos arrived in 1980. This one, though, may be the final straw: already the controversy has driven off some prospective professors and prompted other universities to recruit actively some of this sleepy school’s best faculty. Texas Tech is in trouble. The John Martin Case It started back in 1980 when a nutrition professor, John Martin, was denied tenure. He appealed the decision, and, as always in the past, the faculty investigated. For the first time in memory, T&P found evidence to sug gest academic freedom violations and recommended convening a special panel to hear Martin’s allegations. But Cavazos balked, claiming that T&P was not allowed to determine probable cause. \(The rule requiring T&P to investigate had been inadvertently left out of the 1976 reprint of the rulebook. But no one T&P committee resigned in protest after Cavazos refused even to negotiate. Martin sued Tech, but settled out of Milt But the incident brought the tenure policy to the president’s attention, and he set out to replace it with another more to his liking. After a year-long struggle, the policy that emerged described by one prof as “one-half of enlightened despotism” ignored most faculty concerns while incorporating some authoritarian ideas probably suggested by members of the Board of Regents, the ultimate authority on policy matters. Yet, despite drawing fire from every quarter including many Tech faculty groups, the academic deans, three statewide faculty governance organizations, the Association of American Colleges, and 88 percent of the faculty, the new policy was approved by the regents with minor revisions on September 28. 8 FEBRUARY 8, 1985
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