Texas University Fires Diversity & Inclusion Dept. Employees

The Department of Campus and Community Engagement oversaw DEI initiatives at the University of Texas in Austin and has declared its demise. With the new legislation that abolished DEI institutions at public colleges and universities across Texas taking effect on January 1, the university is also working to comply.

According to someone knowledgeable, sixty jobs at UT-Austin were cut because of DEI efforts. All public college and university boards are required by law to ensure that their schools do not have a DEI office or issue “DEI Statements.”

In May, a hearing will be held by the Texas Senate Committee on Education. During the hearing, university chancellors and general counselors will be asked questions to reveal how their colleges follow the law. There is a risk that institutions may lose financing if they do not comply. The statute also impacted cultural graduations since the university’s Multicultural Engagement Center (MEC) had to close, which affected Black, Latinx, and GraduAsian ceremonies. Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s idea was to halt federal money for schools that need DEI pledges or declarations from their kids.

Whether or not schools debate and encourage diversity has recent ramifications, the most recent being layoffs in Texas’s higher education system and institutions nationwide. Just this month, the University of Florida fired its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff in response to a comparable state statute enacted in 2023 after the Supreme Court invalidated race-based affirmative action last summer. S.B. 17, which banned DEI offices at state-funded institutions and colleges beginning January 1, sparked a diversity policy controversy at Texas A&M University in the autumn.

While the university did not immediately address the criticisms against the terminations, those in favor of them claimed that they were a direct result of that letter.

Discussions with impacted persons over possible First Amendment breaches are being considered, and the NAACP may seek federal agency involvement or urge research funding entities to weigh in. A gathering of “all the stakeholders” is now underway.