In a December 2020 conversation with a group of friends and acquaintances, the topic of student indoctrination by liberal college professors came up.
When one father asked where I graduated, I proudly said,” Texas State, but when I went there it was good ol’ Southwest Texas State University!”
The response was not what I expected.
“We are pulling our daughter out of there,” he replied. “One semester there and she’s like a different human being. She won’t be back in January. Our friends warned us that it’s turned into an indoctrination factory and now I see why.”
I was startled and a bit embarrassed, but ready to defend MY university, after all, as a proud graduate I’d supported some alumni functions throughout the years. Among my favorites were speaking before journalism classes back in the 1990s.
As an executive at a major retailer in Texas, I had participated in mentoring programs speaking of the virtues of being a proud Bobcat.
“Our son is at Kerrville Schreiner College getting basics out of the way,” said one lady. “But we have been hearing the same. He’s not going to San Marcos (home of TXST) as we planned. They said they didn’t even recognize their children.”
“Kind of like coming back as a Stepford Wife, huh?” another father asked.
“Exactly,” she replied. “They said they were coming back like they’ve been hypnotized.”
Embarassed, I just listened.
That’s when one of the parents mentioned Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the failed candidate for Texas governor and wannabe U.S. president, would be teaching at both TXST and University of Texas at Austin during spring 2021.
The conversation turned to how O’Rourke, as a city councilman in 2006, supported a controversial El Paso real estate deal that would have enriched his father-in-law while threatening Mexican-American residents with losing their property via eminent domain (This was reported by the New York Times in 2018).
Because I didn’t know much about it, it was best I follow along and research later.
On March 2, 2021, I received an email from the Senior Director of Development who indicated she had “recently joined the Texas State University Development team and will be your new contact for all things maroon and gold. As an SWT graduate (c/o 2000) and former Strutter, I am thrilled to be back on-campus and look forward to working with all of our wonderful faculty, staff, alumni and friends.”
“It would be a pleasure to visit with you for a few minutes within the coming weeks to share updates from campus and learn more about your time at the university and extraordinary career in journalism and beyond,” she continued. “Having the opportunity to engage and strengthen our network of Bobcat support is so important for our continued success as we build toward the future.”
She then suggested some dates and times of her availability to discuss my support of the university.
“I’m happy to provide additional availability if necessary to accommodate for an in-person discussion in Boerne,” she closed. “Of course keeping COVID precautions in mind, my schedule is flexible on most days to arrange a virtual meeting if that is preferred at this time.”
My reply was straightforward.
“No thank you. After learning TXST hired Beto O’Rourke as a lecturer, I no longer want to support the university I so dearly loved. The thought that he would be even considered tells me that indoctrination of students is the agenda.”
During my research in December and January, I learned more about O’Rourke that supported the parents concerns about their children attending TXST (and UT, Austin).
When he attempted to run away from the scene of an accident where he smashed into a woman while he was Driving While Intoxicated in 1998, it wasn’t his first criminal offense.
In 1995, he was arrested for burglary. Here’s the Texas Tribune take on the crime:
Why would the Chair of the Political Science Department at TXST be so giddy about having O’Rourke as a lecturer for $7,500, plus expenses?
On March 9, I received an email back from Texas State acknowledging “The hiring has definitely been a hot topic.”
“Good Morning, Mr. Dennis –
Thank you so much for responding and sharing your thoughts with me.
Our goal at TXST is to provide students with a well-rounded academic experience. O’Rourke will indeed be teaching an elective class in political science as well as T. Vance McMahan, a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush; both adding great value to the course offerings and learning opportunities available to our students. The hiring has definitely been a hot topic so I’ve included the following link to an article that you may wish to review: Opinion: Beto O’Rourke’s arrival is an opportunity, not a political move | Opinions | universitystar.com
Respecting your current stance regarding support, I would still be delighted to connect and nurture your relationship with the university if that is a possibility, now or sometime in the future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for all things TXST.”
The opinion she sent, from the student newspaper, only solidified my stance. In 1977, I was the managing editor of the University Star and would have never dreamed of being an echoing mouthpiece for the University over such controversial choices.
I was called in several times (with Journalism Chair Dr. Heber Taylor or professor Jeff Henderson and Chief Editor Rhonda Black) because my articles exposed “consultant fees” (kickbacks), and other wrongs regarding the design of a new $17,000 University logo, outrageous parking fees (which led to a fair on-campus bus system from satellite parking, a scheme to sell more tickets than there were seats to university events, violations in fire codes, etc.).
The only article I was forbidden to publish was about a devil worshipping gang who sacrificed animals and practiced their coven activities at Devil’s Backbone (natural amphitheatre in the valley above the ridges across from the rest area) outside of San Marcos.
Trying to counter with “all is well” because they have someone also teaching who worked in the George W. Bush administration might convince a 19-year-old, but it wasn’t going to cut it with me. I’ve actually interviewed George W., and Bill Clinton, and even Jimmy Carter (just days before his loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980).
In 1976, I won Investigative Reporter of the Year out of all universities at the annual Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association (RMCPA) in Tucson.
The following year, thanks to Jeff Henderson, the organization held their annual meeting at Southwest Texas State University. I stepped down as Managing Editor of the Star to become Student President of RMCPA which counted as my journalism internship.
During this same period, I was the first vice-president and cofounder, along with president Terry “Tex” Toler of establishing Sigma Delta Chi (Society of Professional Journalists) at the university.
I was a teenager when I began publishing in national, state and local publications…But look what O’Rourke wrote when he was in his teens:
Here are major contributors to O’Rourke in the 2017-2018 election cycle. It’s no wonder individuals who work in our education system brandish their desires for him to teach among them.
Scanning through online articles, mainly liberal ones, the feedback of readers was predominately negative. Here are samples:
“I stand by my decision and will not be supporting Texas State,” I replied this morning. “The ‘well rounded” statement is nonsense. Having O’Rourke there is pure indoctrination…”