(The Center Square) – Texas could have a new law that would end taxpayer support for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at public colleges and universities.
Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton and Texas Rep. John Kuempel authored Senate Bill 17, which passed both chambers.
“The elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion offices will result in millions in savings for taxpayers and restore a culture of free inquiry, meritocracy, equal opportunity, genuine innovation within Texas higher education,” Creighton said in a May 28 news release.
The bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign, would eliminate DEI offices at Texas colleges and end mandatory DEI training.
The bill states, “An institution of higher education may not: endorse an ideology that promotes the differential treatment of an individual or group of individuals based on race, color, or ethnicity.”
Texas Public Policy Foundation Distinguished Senior Fellow Sherry Sylvester said SB 17 is “the strongest anti-DEI Bill in the nation.”
Sylvester said DEI is a political ideology rooted in the premise that white supremacy drives every aspect of university and American life.
In a May 28 news release, the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors said it was “deeply disappointed that the Texas Legislature passed SB 17.”
AAUP said this bill sends a clear message that Texas is not committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds and to building a public higher education system that is inclusive and supportive of all people.
The AAUP news release stated, “We have already seen staff and faculty leaving the state in response to the proposed anti-DEI legislation and anticipate this trend to be magnified in the years ahead now that it has passed.”
Creighton, in the news release, said this bill would help Texas prioritize the advancement of the most qualified individuals and endorse policies that promote diversity and equality.
“Now that SB 17 is on its way to Governor Abbott’s desk, Texas colleges and universities can refocus on their fundamental purpose of education and innovation,” Creighton said.