Texas lawmakers have voted to end all diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at publicly funded universities in the state.
legislature in both chambers agreed The final version of Senate Bill 17 will be released on Sunday and will now go to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for signature.
If approved, SB 17 would require Texas public universities to dismantle their DEI offices, programs and training over the next six months. The bill also prohibits institutions from requiring DEI training as a condition of employment or university admission, and mandates that all hiring practices must be “color-blind and gender-neutral.”
The legislation would have no impact on course teaching, faculty research, student organizations, guest speakers, data collection or admissions.
DEI offices have become an integral part of the university campus in recent years. With the goal of supporting students from diverse backgrounds, DEI departments often help recruit faculty and coordinate mentoring, tutoring, and other programs for underrepresented students. Critics say the programs fuel racial divides and unfairly prioritize social justice over merit and merit.
Before Texas lawmakers voted Sunday, Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) warned his peers, “Don’t be on the wrong side of history.”
“Don’t let Texas be the next state to get a travel warning,” he continued, referring to the NAACP’s recent warning against travel to Florida. “Don’t let the politics of extremism interfere with the progress we’ve made over the years.”
Educators opposed the bill in a statement Saturday at the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors.
The organization said it was “deeply disappointed by the conference committee’s report,” adding, “The bill sends a clear message to students, faculty and staff that our state has no obligation to welcome students of all backgrounds and is a public Building the higher education system.” It’s really inclusive and supportive for everyone.”
The educators group also said it’s concerned the legislation could put public universities at risk of losing government and private grants, which often require applicants to show they’re making efforts towards diversity and inclusion.
Florida was the first country to ban universities from using state or federal funds for DEI in early May.
According to one, similar legislation has been proposed in over a dozen other states Associated Press analysis found using Plural invoice tracking software.