Trustee requests censure of fellow board member in Confederate name flap


Austin district trustee Ann Teich asked fellow school board members Wednesday afternoon to consider censuring Trustee Ted Gordon for publicly criticizing the board.

The request, made during a board operations meeting, is the latest move in ongoing board clashes related to the trustees’ delay in deciding whether to remove the names of Confederate figures from five schools.

Teich asked that the board officers — President Kendall Pace, Trustee Geronimo Rodriguez and Trustee Julie Cowan — decide during next month’s board operations meeting whether to place censure for discussion behind closed doors at a future regular board meeting.

Teich said she wanted trustees to consider the censure “for his comments on two different separate occasions about the board of trustees, which includes all of us. They were unprofessional comments, they were not done face to face, they were not discussed with us at all. That, in my opinion, violates our current board handbook provisions about board member behavior.”

Gordon, an associate professor at the University of Texas, was not at Wednesday’s board operations meeting and was not immediately available for comment.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Pace, the board president, said it’s unlikely the board officers will agree to put the item on a future agenda, but said she does “agree that we should have respectful dialogue and interpersonal conversation, especially if there’s disagreement.”

Since trustees on Jan. 8 pushed back a February decision on whether to rename schools, Gordon has at least twice publicly criticized the board’s decision, most recently during Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day speech.

Gordon, the only African American trustee on the board, previously said the trustees had “no moral compass and moral spine” on the issue and didn’t act to “remove the names of traitors who took up arms to defend slavery and destroy their nation… because it is afraid of the tensions that are produced by the prospects of change.”

Teich said she wants the board to consider the censure in executive session.

“I don’t believe in making things public when it comes to individuals because I don’t believe in public shaming even though I was shamed and the whole board was shamed on two separate occasions in public,” she said.

In a text message to Gordon on Monday after his MLK Day speech, Teich called Gordon a “coward,” telling him to make the charges to her face, and criticized him for not having these conversations with his fellow board members and instead airing his grievances in the media or in public speeches.

Administrators already had a timeline and plan for renaming the schools with names tied to the Confederacy and had discussed the issue with advisory councils and students when trustees said they wanted to postpone a February decision to develop a process for how these schools should be renamed.

In 2016, the board renamed Robert E. Lee Elementary after some in the school community pushed for the change.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Beto O’Rourke nearly triples Ted Cruz fundraising in 2018
Beto O’Rourke nearly triples Ted Cruz fundraising in 2018

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has raised nearly three times as much money as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke, a third-term Democratic congressman from El Paso, has raised $2.3 million through Feb. 14 toward his U.S. Senate campaign. Cruz, a Houston Republican seeking his second term, raised $800,000. While O’Rourke touted his bounty...
Workers gather at state Capitol to defend labor unions’ rights

More than a dozen people marched Saturday from the Capitol to a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on the University of Texas campus to defend workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. The event, called the Working People’s Day of Action, was held in conjunction with similar marches across the country Saturday, which was the 50th...
George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff
George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff

In 2014, the future belonged to George P. Bush. Elected to statewide office his first time out, out-polling even Greg Abbott, he was the scion of one of America’s great political dynasties. He was the grandson and nephew of presidents and the son of someone who, at that moment, looked like he might have been about to become president. Young and...
Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems
Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems

As lawyers and scientists continue to review hundreds of criminal cases that might have been affected by the Austin Police Department’s now-shuttered DNA lab, members of a stakeholders advisory group have started meeting to evaluate what went wrong and how to avoid mistakes in the future. The lab shut down in 2016 after a state audit found problems...
Perilous times for historically black colleges
Perilous times for historically black colleges

Two years ago, Amelia Smith received the one thing she thought she always wanted – a blue envelope from Spelman College. She had been accepted to what many consider the finest black college in America. Her grandmother went to Spelman. So did her mother. And her aunt. And her sister, who’s a senior there now. So Smith wasn’t surprised...
More Stories