Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University


An Inventory of Its Records, 1956-1966, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Texas Technological College
Title: Censure Records,
Dates: 1956-1966
Abstract: Materials dealing with fallout at Texas Technological College following the Board of Directors' firing of three professors.
Collection # U 38.1
Quantity: 1 Wallet (0.5 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository: Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Biographical Sketch

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.

Scope and Contents

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.


Access Restrictions

Open for research

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library are derived from the Library of Congress and/or locally developed.
Subjects (Persons)
Abernethy, Byron R.
Greenberg, Herbert M.
Jones, E. N. (Edward Newlon), 1899-1984
Haley, J. Evetts (James Evetts), 1901-
Stensland, Per
Watkins, W. D.
Subjects (Organizations)
Texas Technological College
American Association of University Professors
Texas Technological College--Faculty
Texas Technological College--Faculty--Discipline
Texas Technological College--Administration
Texas Technological College. Board of Directors
Texas Tech University--Faculty
Texas Tech University
Academic freedom--Texas
Teaching, Freedom of--Texas

Related Material

For related materials located in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, see the following collections:

  • Faculty Records, 1957-1999
  • Floyd Alpheaus Woolridge Papers, 1925-1966

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Censure Records, 1957-1999, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Collection accession #(s):

Gift, 2001

Processed by

Lynn Whitfield, 2003

Collection Inventory



box folder
1 1 American Association of University Professors [AAUP] Report on Texas Tech (2 copies), 1958
2 Board of Directors Meeting Excerpts, July-November, 1957
3 Correspondence, 1957
4 Correspondence, 1960
5 Correspondence, 1961
6 Correspondence, 1962
7 Correspondence, 1963
8 Correspondence, 1964
9 Correspondence, 1965
10 Correspondence, 1966
11 Faculty Handbook, 1956 and 1964
12 News Clippings (folder 1 of 3), 1957
13 News Clippings (folder 2 of 3), 1957
14 News Clippings (folder 3 of 3), 1957
15 Printed Materials on Faculty Dismissals, Academic Freedom and Tenure, 1958-1965
16 Tenure Policy, Undated
17 Tenure and Privilege Committee, 1961