(FORTUNE Magazine) – In his autobiography, Boone, corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, 60, recalls that even when his aunt Ethel was his teacher in the fifth grade, he did not get an A. Judging from his imbroglio with the faculty of West Texas State University in Canyon, Pickens is still having trouble in school. The argument focuses on an investigation made by a committee empowered by WT's board of regents to look into faculty and student allegations that their academic freedom was being abridged by a highhanded university president. Pickens is chairman of the board of regents. When the committee concluded that ''academic freedom is virtually nonexistent at West Texas State University,'' Pickens and the board rebuffed the findings of the report they had commissioned, saying it ''contained no verifiable evidence for any of the charges made.'' The denial earned the regents strong censure from the Texas Faculty Association and a passel of ill will for its chairman. Says James Calvi, associate professor of political science at WT: ''A saying about Pickens is going around the Texas Panhandle that there's no one too small for him to crush.'' ''Money is a report card,'' Pickens philosophized in Boone. By that grading system, Pickens, who has pledged $1.5 million to WT, would earn an A in generosity, even from his aunt. But how would Aunt Ethel grade him for ''Getting Along With Others''?