UT Austin Rebrands Liberty Institute, Higher Director

A neoconservative conservative center is being set up at the University of Texas at Austin, it has dropped its functional moniker, the Liberty Institute, and has been rebranded as the Civitas Institute. The name was changed following an objection raised a few months ago by First Liberty Institute, a Christian conservative law firm in Texas, which owns the Liberty Institute trademark.

The Civitas Institute has also named a director, Justin Dyer from the University of Missouri, where he has been a professor of political science and director of the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy. Texas Tribune Monday report. The publication notes that Dyer described himself as “a conservative, straight from the central casting, a lifelong evangelist who is the father of the American founding father and an unforgiving fan of the US Constitution.”

The institute sparked an outcry last fall when UT faculty members first learned of plans to establish a conservative think tank backed by private donors and Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who has been criticized for attacking academic freedoms. Both the state and the University of Texas system have pledged millions of dollars in funding.

Dior’s rent comes in the pushback of professors involved in the program, public record request Texas Tribune Some unveiled faculty members believe the university has deviated from its original plan and have expressed concern about the impact of donors on faculty recruitment, among other things. Dyer himself has been the subject of some complaints from faculty affiliated with the program, who believe he does not have the “necessary expertise” to establish the center.

Dyer is set to start July 1st.

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