". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Texas University System Fires DEI Staff ahead of Senate Hearings

April 15, 2024

The University of Texas system is doing away with its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff in compliance with a new state law. The Austin American-Statesman confirmed on Friday that the University of Texas at Austin (UT) has fired nearly 70 DEI administrators, closed its Multicultural Engagement Center and Division of Campus and Community Engagement (DCCE), and shut down at least six DEI programs, including the Center for Equity and Inclusion and the Gender and Sexuality Center.

Layoffs occurred earlier this month in accord with a state law, Senate Bill (S.B.) 17, which took effect in January. UT notes that under the law, “public institutions of higher education cannot engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion activities.” The University of Texas system explains in a statement:

“Pursuant to this law, each University of Texas System institution shall maintain an environment that promotes learning, academic freedom, and the creation and transmission of knowledge free from any requirements to exhibit or reflect a specific ideology or political view and without providing advantages or disadvantages to individuals based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”

“Texas taxpayers will no longer be forced to finance the indoctrination of Texas university students. Removing the funding streams for these neo-Marxist thought centers is important. But these believers will not just stop preaching their messages of hate and division,” Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Education Studies Meg Kilgannon commented to The Washington Stand. “We need to pray that the removal of DEI offices and officials, and the status associated with those official roles, will embolden others on campus to push back against this agenda and eject it from faculty meetings, classrooms, fraternities, sports teams, class catalogues, and any other place identitarian ideology lurks.”

Kilgannon also noted, “The staff positions being eliminated may not necessarily mean those staffers no longer work at the university, but that they no longer have a DEI title and salary bonus associated with their employment. And that is a tremendous accomplishment.”

On social media, author and investigative reporter Christoper R. Rufo, an outspoken opponent of DEI initiatives, quipped, “The ‘pink slip revolution’ has begun.”

Earlier this month, the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) also announced that it has eliminated DEI-related offices and positions. In a statement, university President Richard Benson emphasized that he and his administration had “ensured that we were fully compliant with SB 17 as of January 1, 2024, the effective date of the legislation,” but, he wrote, “Since then, we have continued to evaluate our SB 17 response and how to realign many of the programs impacted by the legislation. As a result, effective April 30, 2024, the Office of Campus Resources and Support (OCRS) and approximately 20 associated jobs will be eliminated.”

“I know that this decision will not be welcomed by many in our campus community,” Benson concluded. “I remain committed to ensuring that UT Dallas is a supportive community focused on developing the knowledge, the research and the people that are vital to our future. Thank you all for your ongoing work and commitment to these goals.”

Last month, Texas state Senator Brandon Creighton (R) announced that he and the Senate Committee on Education would be calling on university chancellors and board members to describe how they have complied with S.B. 17. “Recognized as the most robust DEI … prohibition in the nation, this bill mandates a fundamental shift in the operation of our higher education institution,” Creighton wrote. “The Texas State Legislature, along with the people of Texas, anticipate that each institution will undertake sincere efforts to align with the bill’s provisions, ensuring a merit-based environment where every student, faculty, and staff member can strive for and achieve personal excellence.”

Committee hearings are planned for May. Representatives of the universities will be expected to describe institutional policy changes to eliminate DEI offices and officers on campus, ban DEI training, and prohibit diversity statements and preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in hiring and promotion processes.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.