88th LegislatureEducationIssuesGovernor’s Office Memo Urges End to ‘Illegal’ Diversity Hiring

DEI is an issue for Gov. Abbott’s office, with newly released reports showing just how pervasive the DEI initiatives are at multiple Texas medical schools.
February 9, 2023
The University of Texas (UT) system has long implemented diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices, and the underlying philosophy driving them has already taken over — to the dissatisfaction of Gov. Greg Abbott.

A memo obtained by Christopher Rufo highlighted the position of Abbott’s Chief of Staff Gardner Pate, who said that the idea of DEI “has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.”

“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 Illegally adding DEI requirements as a screening tool in hiring practices or using DEI as a condition of employment leads to the exclusion and alienation of individuals from the workplace,” the memo reads.

“Rebranding this employment discrimination as ‘DEI’ doesn’t make the practice any less illegal,” said Pate, who accused the policies of violating employment laws.

“Further, when a state agency spends taxpayer dollars to fund offices, departments, or employee positions dedicated to promoting forbidden DEI initiatives, such actions are also inconsistent with the law.”

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On the same day as Pate’s memo, Texas Tech University released a statement about their move away from DEI hiring and desire to “always emphasize disciplinary excellence.”

“Recently, we learned of a department that required a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement in addition to the usual applicant materials as part of a faculty search. We immediately withdrew this practice and initiated a review of hiring procedures across all colleges and departments. We will withdraw the use of these statements and evaluation rubrics if identified.”

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three terms that seem to evade concrete definitions and can be otherwise used as a proxy for instituting a variety of ideological initiatives.

The explicit move towards DEI hiring practices in university systems is not a new issue.

The University of Texas was determined by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) to “espouse a clear ideological agenda” in a report released last year.

In a report from anti-”radical ideology” group Do No Harm (DNH) released on Wednesday, an evaluation of Texas medical schools found that DEI initiatives and “anti-racist” rhetoric have become a key part of many of these institutions.

The DNH report showed how the Dell Medical School at UT Austin has taken on the commitment of “addressing systemic inequities” and instituting health equity “while upholding racial equity as a foundation principle” by integrating their efforts with the Office of Health Equity and Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Additional details from the DNH report tell of how Southwestern Medical School at UT Dallas “does not set a minimum GPA or minimum MCAT score for consideration” for new applicants to its MD program. Applicants in the 2021-2022 cycle were evaluated on a variety of essay prompts, including:  

  • “Describe a time that you have witnessed someone acting unethically or dishonestly, or an experienced behavior of harassment of discrimination.”
  • “Describe an interaction or experience that has made you more sensitive or appreciative of cultural differences, and/or how you have committed yourself to understanding and aiding in the pursuit of equity and inclusion in your academic, professional or personal life.”

UT San Antonio Long School of Medicine, UT Houston McGovern Medical School, UT Medical Branch John Sealy School of Medicine, UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Texas A&M University College of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of Houston College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Christian University Burnett School of Medicine are all included in the report.

According to information in the DNH report, these medical schools are all involved in creating DEI initiatives with everything from a Gender Unicorn infographic to describe gender identities to helpful coping resources,” including articles like “Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Really Going Through It Right Now.”

Many of these medical schools promote implicit bias training and have actively created curriculum frameworks to revolutionize the healthcare ecosystem and focus on socioeconomic, environmental, and other societal factors.

State Rep. Carl Tepper (R-Lubbock) has filed a bill to eliminate DEI offices in institutions of higher education, and in 2021, Texas legislators passed a prohibition against teaching “critical race theory” in public schools.


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Cameron Abrams

Cameron Abrams is a reporter for The Texan. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Tabor College and a Master’s Degree from University of the Pacific, Cameron is finishing his doctoral studies where his research focuses on the postmodern philosophical influences in education. In his free time, you will find him listening to a podcast while training for an endurance running event.