Texas Universities Cut Jobs and Programs After DEI Ban

(LibertySons.org) – In June 2023, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 17 into law. The legislation addressed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and initiatives at public universities in the Lone Star State. In short, it prevents these higher institutions of learning from having DEI offices or policies. Since then, hundreds of jobs have been cut.

On May 14, University of Texas Systems Chancellor James B. Milliken and others were called in to testify in front of the Texas Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education. The lawmakers wanted to know how the universities were complying with the anti-DEI law. So far, Texas colleges have eliminated 311 full and part-time jobs as well as 681 DEI-related contracts, programs, and training. The hearing became necessary, as some Republicans were concerned that public learning institutions were skirting the law. Milliken said while some may “not like the law…it is the law.”

In March, State Senator Brandon Creighton (R) sent a letter to Chancellor Michael Williams and the members of the Board of Regents for the University of North Texas System. While the lawmaker admitted to seeing progress in complying with the new law, Williams said he was worried that some programs were simply being renamed to find ways around the new measure. He said non-compliance with the law could result in universities losing their funding and even threatened legal action.

In the notice calling for the hearing, Creighton outlined the subcommittee’s considerations. The lawmakers wanted a progress report on the DEI ban to ensure the campuses were providing equal opportunities and rewarding individuals on the merits, promoting free speech on campus. They also wanted to review campus policies on free speech and the prevention of antisemitism.

Texas is only one of over 30 states nationwide that have passed bills addressing DEI initiatives. More than 100 bills have been passed about the subject in the US.

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