If you read this past Saturday's edition (August 25, 2018) of the Dallas Morning News, you would have found an opinion column speaking out against the proposed Texas Tech School of Dentistry in El Paso. It's the second time in three months that the Dallas Morning News has published an 'outside opinion column' speaking out against Texas Tech (TAMUS Chancellor John Sharp saying he's against the Texas Tech Veterinary School in Amarillo back in June).

With this week’s upcoming retirement of Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan (effective August 31), it's now apparently 'open season' by Texas A&M against Texas Tech's efforts at system expansion.

Saturday's Dallas Morning News opinion column was authored by two women who founded Concerned Dentists of Texas.

The point of their column? To say the State of Texas doesn’t need a fourth dental school, and that a 25 percent increase in student enrollment of the Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas should suffice in meeting the demand for dentists across the state.

"Why not increase enrollment at the current three dental schools? A new Texas A&M facility is scheduled to open in 2019 with a 25 percent increase in student enrollment."

The crux of their argument also rests on a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board report from six years ago, in November 2012, that said a fourth dental school is Texas is not warranted. Needless to say, Texas' population has grown over the past six years, estimated at 26 million in 2012, and now projected to hit 29.3 million for this year. Perhaps the growth for dentists, and dental hygienists, have grown too.

Even though Jackie Stanfield and Debra Seznik say they are the 'co-founders' of Concerned Dentists of Texas at the end of their Dallas Morning News column, they don't list themselves anywhere on the Concerned Dentists of Texas website. Only a generic office address in Flower Mound and a Gmail address are points of contact listed on the site.

Also, a check of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners website found the co-authors of the column against the Texas Tech School of Dentistry both graduated from Baylor’s dental school. But the Texas A&M connection is still there is you look deeper. In 1996 the Baylor College of Dentistry was taken over the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, and 10 years later in 2006 officially renamed the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. In addition, Seznik's dental license has expired, while Stanfield's is still active.

Another interesting point, while Concerned Dentists of Texas is speaking out against the proposed Texas Tech dental school; Concerned Dentists of Texas is not registered as a Political Action Committee in Texas, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. According to the Texas Ethics Commission's latest PAC spreadsheet (updated Friday, August 24, 2018) there is only one PAC in the whole state that uses the word 'dentist' in its title. The "Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Political Action Committee" based in Corpus Christi.

Over the weekend, Texas Tech officials did not publicly respond to Saturday's column published in the Dallas Morning News.

Some questions to ponder: will Texas Tech respond in-kind to Texas A&M's offensive against TTU System expansion? How will Texas Tech respond? Will state legislators with ties to Texas Tech speak out against Texas A&M? And finally, does Texas Tech administration and system regents understand the fight ahead of them in the upcoming 86th Legislature for the dental school and veterinary school?

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