An Inventory of Its Records, 1956-1966, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library
On July 13, 1957, the Board of Directors held an executive meeting and initiated the dismissals of three Tech faculty members and the ended the Adult Education program. Dismissed was Dr. Byron Robert Abernethy, professor of Government for 16 years; Dr. Herbert Marvin Greenberg, assistant professor of Psychology for two years and associate director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Program; Dr. Per Stensland, professor of Education and director of the Adult Education program for 5 years.
Both Abernethy and Greenberg had clashed with the Board of Directors due to their political and social views. Abernethy had been active in "liberal" Democratic circles while Greenberg had been vocal on his stance on pro-integration, stating that the Supreme Court decision should be upheld and he had conducted a psychological survey of faculty on their views of integration.
A large part of the controversy was the secretive manner in which the decisions were made. Tech President E. N. Jones was told the terminations were discussed in the June meeting but he himself had been barred from attending either the June or July board meetings and claimed to have no knowledge of complaints against either professor. "I reiterate that dismissal from a college faculty should be done with due process," stated Jones, who worried that Tech might lose its accreditation due to such actions. Other requests for an open meeting discussion of the dismissals were vetoed 8 to 1, with board member J. Evetts Haley ironically being the one member to vote for a public discussion. The board also declined to make public the reasons for the dismissals. Reasons later pieced together point to Abernethy's consultant work income, two student petitions requesting Greenberg's firing and letters of complaint about Abernethy and Greenberg. Stensland, on the other hand, lost his job when Adult Education program was terminated due to financial issues and no complaints seem to have been involved with his ousting.
The loss of academic freedom and censorship forced several faculty members to be unwilling to discuss the situation. Later, the Board of Directors, in response to all the complaints including those of the Faculty Advisory Committee, approved the creation of a committee to consider issues involved with faculty tenure and outside activities.
In an approximately 8,000 word report published as a special supplement to the March edition of the AAUP Bulletin, the American Association of University Professors membership cast a unanimous vote of censure against Texas Technological College on April 25, 1958.
The collection deals with the dismissal of three Texas Tech faculty members and the resulting fallout among the faculty, administration, community and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). A majority of the correspondence is between Tech administration, Board of Regents members and the AAUP concerning the AAUP's citation of censure against Texas Tech.
Conservation Note: Most of the newsclippings were pasted down onto paper with rubber cement and were thus yellowed and deteriorating, often torn or crumbling as well. All were photocopied for preservation purposes.
Open for research
Censure Records, 1957-1999, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Collection accession #(s):
Lynn Whitfield, 2003