"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
With their accreditation hanging by a thread, the University of Texas' Rio Grande Valley campus demonstrates some...odd priorities:
The bilingual course I visited is a pilot for an initiative known around campus as B3 — “bilingual, bicultural, biliterate” — that aims to transform the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) into the United States’ first comprehensively bilingual public university. The project’s goals, proponents say, are far-reaching: to not only produce the bilingual professionals in high demand along the Texas-Mexico border, but also to begin to redress a historical legacy of what queer Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, a Valley native, calls “linguistic terrorism” against border Spanish speakers denied the legitimacy of their native tongue. As the initiative moves from rhetoric to reality, though, UTRGV finds itself grappling with questions of identity: What does it mean to be a bilingual and bicultural university?Read the whole thing here, though we caution that slogging through this predictable litany of academic identity politics doesn't add much.
“It’s about being much more aware of the language that is being spoken, and making sure that the space is safe for my students,” Saldívar told me after class in his office, which is decorated with an oversized pennant from Stanford, his alma mater. Saldívar, who in the fall of 2016 taught the first of what is expected to be dozens of bilingual or Spanish courses, has plenty of common ground with his students. Now in his late 30s, he grew up in the rural South Texas community of Edcouch-Elsa; his parents were punished in school for speaking Spanish and encouraged him to speak only English at home. Language could play a role in helping students feel a sense of comfort and belonging at the university, Saldívar said, but he wanted to impress on me that what the students were talking about was as noteworthy as how they chose to say it. “I think the American ethos is you pull yourself up by your bootstraps in order to be successful,” he said. “And that’s great. But I want my students to recognize the challenges and the disparities. And when faced with those challenges, ask: ‘What do we do?’ Because I want them to be able to handle that.”
For the class I visited at UTRGV’s Edinburg campus, students had read an article by Juan Carrillo called “I Always Knew I Was Gifted: Latino Males and the Mestiz@ Theory of Intelligences.” It led with an epigraph from Anzaldúa: “Theorists-of-color are in the process of trying to formulate ‘marginal’ theories that are partially outside and partially inside the Western frame of reference (if that’s possible), theories that overlap many ‘worlds.’”
The critical theory made for challenging reading for first-year students in what has often been taught as a remedial course.
[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
But why is this happening in Texas in the first place?!?
That's because the University of Texas system has a well documented history of doing whatever it wants and daring their Board of Regents, and the elected officials to whom they report, to stop them.
We know how that's worked out in recent years.
Prior to his first round of Regent appointments, Governor FoxNews stated:
"I will give them marching orders about what I want them to achieve, and I expect them to achieve it without micromanaging."One would think an allegedly conservative Governor would give 'marching orders' to Regent appointees that would put a stop to hard left gobbledygook, but Abbott's first round of regents did nothing of the sort and his second round are well documented defenders of the status quo.
And the Texas Senate just rubber stamped that second round so, absent a new set of "marching orders" from the Governor (which, now that the Regents are confirmed, they are under no obligation to follow) or direct intervention from the Chancellor, you can't even begin to address this nonsense for another two years.
We put in a request for comment from the Chancellor and the Abbott appointees on the Board of Regents but had not heard back by the time of publication; if they reply, we will include it in a separate post.
As we told Senator Birdwell at the confirmation hearing: if that second round of regents were confirmed, political correctness on campus would get a lot worse.
The Senate chose to disregard our warning, they confirmed the regents, and look what's already happening.
And the Texas Senate, along with Governor FoxNews, OWNS this nonsense.
Bottom Line: Buckle up, because it's going to get a lot worse over the next two years.
Governor Greg Abbott: (512) 463-2000
Chancellor Bill McRaven: (512) 499-4201
UT System Board of Regents: (512) 499-4402