University of Texas Fires at least 20 Employees of Former DEI Departments

Last week, US Senator Brandon Creighton sent a letter to Texas universities threatening them of the repercussions of not following Senate Bill 17 which bans diversity, equity, and inclusion in the state. As an initial attempt to avoid these issues, University of Texas changed the names and position titles of its DEI departments. However, on Tuesday, April 2, an abrupt meeting held by university heads led to at least 20 (with speculation of up to 60) employees being laid off, effective July 5.

As expected, these employees were completely caught off guard by this news, especially those in the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, which was completely shut down. This department was previously named the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and was transformed to comply with the bill that went into effect on January 1. Now, UT President Jay Hartzell is stating that the changes won’t be enough to be in compliance with SB17.

University of Texas President Jay Hartzell

So to avoid punishments during the May education hearing held by the Senate, the university has decided to close departments that were previously DEI related as well as lay off employees and staff who worked in those departments. The employees were told, however, that they were eligible to apply for open positions in other departments.

While SB17 has several flaws, and many Texans have voiced that it should have never been passed, one of the most prominent issues regarding the bill is the supporting senators’ belief that DEI is only beneficial to people of color, specifically Black people. The true purpose of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies is to ensure that all citizens are represented, be it minorities, women, those with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.

The State of Texas continually shows its residents who are truly valued and supported here, and now the University of Texas has done the same.

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3 Comments

  • What is our response to this as a community going to be? These leaders are methodically dismantling programs whose purpose has been to address and rectify systemic racism and civil rights’ violations against Black and other minority communities, under the guise of DEI being racist. There should be policies whereby states that enact policies that systemically harm minority communities cannot receive federal funds. The federal government needs to do the same thing to the state the state is doing to public universities. This will keep getting worse until we come up with a response that addresses and resolves these acts meant to subjugate and take away our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • I have to agree with AC. If we do not address these ridiculous exclusionary laws that harm minority communities, the civil rights of minority communities will disappear. First, we all need to VOTE! We need to get the hate mongers out of office. Next, we need to petition our supportive Congressmen/women to tighten the federal purse strings on those that marginalize minority citizens.

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