Collin College Accused of Abandoning Academic Freedom — Again
Collin College is facing more criticism from professors, this time over a canceled panel on faculty burnout and supporting each other called “Finding Your Voice.” The panel was set — and initially approved — for Collin’s January faculty development conference on teaching and learning through change. Faculty members were allegedly later informed by the college that the panel needed to be pulled because it was not related to the conference theme. Panelists are members of the college’s non-collective bargaining Texas Faculty Association chapter, leading some on campus and off to believe that the college sought to block the group from recruiting members via the Zoom event. The college did not comment on the matter, saying it declined to participate.
Writing about the incident for the American Association of University Professors’ “Academe” blog, academic freedom expert Hank Reichman, professor emeritus of history at the California State University, East Bay, said, since “one faculty member, who has taught at the school for more than 15 years, told me that ‘morale has never been lower,’ both keynote and session topics would seem quite timely. ‘We’re all still doing the job,’ that faculty member said, ‘but for many our hearts are no longer in it. That is damaging to our students in the long run, and students should come first.’ The session was designed to address that problem.”
Previously, Collin faced criticism for announcing the COVID-19-related death of a faculty member, Iris Meda, deep in a Thanksgiving email, and for failing to defend another faculty member, L. D. Burnett, against public attacks for comments she made about Vice President Mike Pence.