The Texas Lieutenant Governor is calling for a ban on critical race theory (CRT) in public colleges and universities.

After the law banning the study banning CRT in public schools went into effect four months ago, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is now seeking to expand it to include higher education as well.

Patrick’s desire to see the CRT law apply to public universities and colleges across Texas came as a surprise to some professors.

Dr. Rick Halperin, who teaches a human rights class at Southern Methodist University, spoke to Spectrum News 1 about what that could mean for higher-education courses.

According to Halperin, his lessons would be illegal if the critical race theory law was applied to SMU. However, SMU is a private university, and most state education laws do not apply to them.

He told Spectrum News 1, “It’s mind-boggling and disturbing that adults of a certain persuasion would believe that young people should not know of or have the ability to use their own brains to come to a decision.”

In a statement released in February, Patrick mentioned plans to address CRT in public colleges during the 88th legislative session. In addition, he has made eliminating all tenure at Texas public universities one of his priorities.

“To address already-tenured professors, we will change tenure reviews from every six years to annually,” Patrick said. “Additionally, we will define teaching Critical Race Theory in statute as a cause for a tenured professor to be dismissed.”

Two students from Halperin’s human rights class, Kennedy Coleman and Julie Rinker, told Spectrum they would have taken the human rights class even if their degrees did not require it.

Coleman claimed many students at SMU do not agree with the way high schools teach history.

“There was a lot of sheltering and coddling,” Coleman said. “I wouldn’t call it coddling. It was more of hiding from the truth.”

Rinker added, “I think that politicians are seeing that the more that this shared history is unpacked and understood, the more implications it has on the way that we vote.”

The 88th legislative session will start on January 10, 2023. During the session, Patrick said he will address tenure for Texas professors and the possibility of expanding the CRT law into public colleges and universities.

“Tenured professors must not be able to hide behind the phrase ‘academic freedom’ and then proceed to poison the minds of our next generation,” Patrick declared.

When the session starts in January, the higher education committee will become a subcommittee of the Texas Senate’s education committee. The lieutenant governor has named Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) the chair of both.

Patrick explained the change in a news release on March 22, stating that “we must examine education needs as a continuum, from the earliest grades through post-secondary education” and “there should be a seamless path throughout the educational experience.”