By Mitch Holt, Copy Editor
As voters go to the polls for early voting until Friday and official voting Nov. 7 for District 71 Texas State Representative, Susan King, Republican candidate, and her campaign staff are promoting the candidate’s 40-point plan and dealing with questions surrounding her husband’s affiliation with ACU.
In a recent Abilene Reporter-News e-mail interview, the candidate said Dr. Austin King, her husband and co-founder of the Voice Institute of West Texas, has been an adjunct professor at the university for more than 20 years.
Adjunct professor is a title given to an individual who does not have a permanent position at the university and often has a job outside of the institution.
Royce Money, president of ACU, said in a press release that while Dr. Austin King has “functioned in the capacity of an adjunct professor,” he was never officially given this title because the title didn’t exist in the 1980s when he would have received it.
Dr. Jon Ashby, co-founder of the Voice Institute of West Texas at ACU and treasurer for Susan King’s campaign, said this bit of information is trivial and was surfaced and promoted by Kevin Christian’s campaign staff during the primary election in the spring.
Christian lost the Republican primary to King in the spring and now works for the ACU Foundation.
“They didn’t have anything, and this was the only thing they could find,” Ashby said. “It’s a false and semantic issue.”
Dr. Austin King, aside from work with the Voice Institute, has had a private medical practice in Abilene, specializing in ear, nose and throat; served as a volunteer medical consultant at ACU; and regularly participates in medical and academic conferences.
“In the 1980s, there was no official designation of “adjunct professor” for a group of part-time professors,” Money said in the press release. “That practice developed in the 1990s.”
But, Money said, the university is grateful for the relationship Dr. Austin King has had with the Voice Institute at ACU.
The candidates for the District 71 seat in the Texas House of Representatives, a position previously held by Dr. Bob Hunter, vice president emeritus of the university, are Susan King, registered nurse who served in various roles on the Abilene School Board; Dr. Mel Hailey, Democrat candidate and professor of political science and chair of the Political Science Department at ACU; and Vanessa Harris, Libertarian candidate and secretary at the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.