Texas Latest in Fight to Ban Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Offices from Government-Funded Colleges 

University of College / shutterstock.com
University of College / shutterstock.com

Texas is in the spotlight again, this time for attempting to pass legislation aimed at banning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices from government-funded colleges. Following Florida’s lead from mid-May of 2023, Texas is hoping to join a growing list of states banning the use of discriminatory practices in the classroom and used as decision criteria for offers of enrollment or employment. 

Twenty states have banded together and either passed or attempted to pass similar legislation. It is a hard reality check for those seeking to continue the myth of critical race theory, silence those with different views than themselves, and actively indoctrinate students. By allowing Affirmative Action to die a natural death, universities, and employers can relax their “quotas” and focus on hiring and enrollment practices based on merit and performance instead of ethnicity. 

The pushback against alleged “diversity” projects is receiving backlash from Democrats hoping to push the racial divide even further by strengthening them. But Republicans don’t see it that way. 

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised state lawmakers for their “strongest pushback on woke policies in higher education.”  He stated, “The Texas Senate has now passed the strongest pushback on woke policies in higher education nationwide. For far too long, academia has been poisoned by woke policies and faculty seeking to indoctrinate our students. Professors did not believe we would push back on their advances, but they were wrong. Students should be taught how to think critically, not what to think,” he said last month. 

To calm Democrats, The Texas House offered an amendment to Senate Bill 17 which would require annual studies from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to look at how eliminating DEI practices affected students, including recruitment, acceptance rates, and grades. The amendment also made provisions for universities to reassign employees currently in the DEI offices to other positions. 

For Texas, this latest attempt to level the playing field comes after a February 2023 memo from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, notifying state agencies that DEI initiatives were illegal as an employment consideration.  Abbot’s Chief of Staff, Gardner Pate, wrote in the memo that “diversity, equity and inclusion programs in hiring violate the law because they expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.” The memo went on to point out that even funding these programs is illegal. 

Per Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Gov. Abbott’s office, “The letter from the Governor’s chief of staff is a reminder that state agencies and public universities must follow federal and state law in their hiring practices. Both federal and state law make equity quotas illegal.” 

Eze went on to add, “The issue is not diversity—the issue is that equity is not equality. Here in Texas, we give people a chance to advance based on talent and merit.” 

Governor Abbott recognizes that DEI encourages racial division. “Indeed, rather than increasing diversity in the workplace, these DEI initiatives are having the opposite effect and are being advanced in ways that proactively encourage discrimination in the workplace,” Pate said in February’s memo. 

The move was opposed on many fronts, including by Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law at Case Western University who studies employment discrimination. 

“It’s incorrect to say that any kind of diversity, equity, and inclusion activity is unlawful,” Hoffman said, noting that employers can recruit workers at places that might attract minority candidates, such as historically Black universities. Regarding Pate’s 2021 memo, Hoffman states, “Abbott’s memo is motivated by “politics,” also indicating that racism against African Americans is the basis of the memo. 

“There are people who are concerned that the United States won’t be a majority white country anymore and minorities are getting too many opportunities. This kind of a memo would be very appealing to people with those beliefs.” 

Shortly before the end of his term, then-president Donald Trump ordered federal agencies to stop funding workplace training programs based on “systemic racism.” This was one of the many orders President Joe Biden reversed via executive order, emboldening progressives to continue to push their radical agendas for schools and employers across the nation.  

Abbott has been working tirelessly to try to balance both racism and reverse discrimination, going so far in 2021 as to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in public-funded K-12 classrooms. Little by little, Texas is restoring equal rights for all, taking to heart Martin Luther King’s dream of living in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 

It’s too bad progressives can’t let that dream come true.