Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Texas bans higher education DEI policies.

Texas Senate Passes Bill to Ban DEI Policies in Public Higher Education Institutions

The Texas Senate has passed Senate Bill 17, filed by Sen. Brandon Creighton with eight cosponsors, which seeks to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies in public higher education institutions.

Bill Summary

The bill, titled “Banning Discriminatory DEI Policies in Higher Education,” would amend the state education code to prohibit public higher education institutions in Texas from establishing or maintaining DEI offices, officers, employees, or contractors that perform the duties of a DEI office.

The bill also seeks to prohibit these institutions from requiring or giving preferential consideration for certain ideological oaths or statements that undermine academic freedom and open inquiry and impede the discovery, preservation, and transmission of knowledge.

Furthermore, the bill would also prohibit public higher education institutions from spending taxpayer money allocated by the state for a fiscal year until the institution’s board submits to the legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board a report certifying the board’s compliance with provisions of the bill. Each institution is required to submit to the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House of Representatives a report certifying the institution’s compliance with a section that prohibits them from compelling, requiring, inducing, or soliciting a student enrolled at the institution, an employee or contractor of the institution, or an applicant for admission to or employment or contracting at the institution to endorse an ideology that promotes the differential treatment of an individual or group of individuals based on race, color, or ethnicity.

The bill also prohibits the institutions from providing preferential consideration to a student enrolled at the institution, an employee or contractor of the institution, or an applicant for admission to or employment or contracting at the institution on the basis of the person’s unsolicited statement in support of DEI ideology.

Reaction to the Bill

Sen. Brandon Creighton stated that the bill “returns the focus on Texas campuses to harnessing the strength of our diversity, ensuring that everyone is treated equally and that no one is excluded.” He also added that the bill promotes true diversity in higher education.

After the bill passed, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said that DEI hiring practices have caused division and must be stopped. He added that Texas universities improve and the educational environment is enhanced when institutions recruit the best faculty based on merit and equal opportunity, not arbitrary quotas based on equity.

The bill has been received in the House but has yet to be assigned to a committee. Similar bills were filed in the House by Rep. Carl Tepper, R-Lubbock which would ban public higher education institutions from implementing DEI policies but also ban government entities from using taxpayer money to practice woke discrimination, self-segregation, and division.

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