The board chairman Kevin Eltife stated at the start of the meeting he had a comment that was “not an action or discussion item.”
“The topic of DEI activities on college campuses has received tremendous attention nationally and here in Texas,” Eltife said.
“We welcome, celebrate, and strive for diversity on our campus with our student and faculty population.”
“I also think it’s fair to say in recent times, certain DEI efforts have strayed from the original intent to now imposing requirements and actions that, rightfully so, raised the concerns of our policymakers,” he added.
Eltife went on to announce that all DEI policies would be paused on UT campuses and he will be asking for reports on any current policies still operating.
“We will await any action from the legislature for implementation by the University of Texas system at the appropriate time, and if needed, the board may consider a uniform DEI policy for the entire UT system,” Eltife said.
This announcement follows many reported incidents of DEI policies on UT campuses.
In 2021, Texas Tech University announced it was hiring four new assistant professors for its Department of Biological Sciences. Its social media posts made clear the department’s commitment to DEI hiring.
The department released a rubric for evaluating new faculty candidates’ diversity statements about how well they understand and have knowledge of “dimensions of diversity.”
Texas Tech has already released a statement about its steps toward ending DEI hiring and its desire to “always emphasize disciplinary excellence.”
UT Austin has been accused of using DEI policies to “espouse a clear ideological agenda,” and other reports have shown the pervasiveness of DEI in multiple Texas medical schools.
A medical school applicant, George Stewart, has filed a lawsuit against six Texas medical schools for alleged willingness to “discriminate on account of race and sex when admitting students by giving discriminatory preferences to females and non-Asian minorities, and by discriminating against whites, Asians, and men.”
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office recently made comments about how DEI policy “has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.”
Pew Research Center shows that the majority of Americans across racial, ethnic, and partisan groups say race or ethnicity should not be a factor in the college admissions process.
That includes 79 percent of white, 68 percent of Hispanic, 63 percent of Asian, and 59 percent of black respondents who said race or ethnicity should not be a factor, as well as 87 percent of Republicans compared to 62 percent of Democrats.
In recent polling from Gallup, 61 percent of American adults rated their feelings on race relations in the nation as either “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.” That is up from 35 percent in 2014.
The same polling showed that nationally, 23 percent of adults rated the relations between white and black people as “very bad,” which was at just 7 percent in 2001.
The deterioration of relations among different groups in the country has been examined on multiple levels of analysis, and some see DEI initiatives as a solution.
In an article in Harvard Business Review, researchers stated, “Your organization will become less diverse, not more, if you require managers to go to diversity training, try to regulate their hiring and promotion decisions, and put in a legalistic grievance system.”
DEI services have become increasingly lucrative as the global market for Diversity and Inclusion is estimated to reach $15.4 billion by 2026, a 50 percent increase from its $9.3 billion value in 2022.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that education-related issues, like the elimination of “critical race theory” from institutions of higher education, will be a top priority for the Senate this legislative session.
The elimination of DEI practices is a priority for some Texas legislators and has led to a variety of bills being filed.
Rep. Terri Leo-Wilson (R-Galveston) filed a bill that would give protections to Texas educators who refuse to participate in an LGBT inclusion training program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State Rep. Carl Tepper (R-Lubbock) filed three bills — House Bill (HB) 1006, HB 1033, and HB 1046 — in an effort to eliminate DEI practices on college campuses.
“Diversity on college campuses is in itself a noble mission, but so-called DEI initiatives are not welcome in Texas,” said Tepper in a statement.
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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.