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Texas legislature sends anti-DEI bill for public universities to Gov. Greg Abbott

The bill would require state universities to abolish their DEI programs, offices, and mandatory trainings in the next six months.

Published: May 29, 2023 6:55pm

The Texas state legislature has passed a bill banning some diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at publicly-funded universities, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to sign. 

The legislature approved final language of the bill on Sunday, The Hill reported. If Abbott signs it, then Texas will follow Florida in enacting such legislation. 

Senate Bill 17 would require state universities to abolish their DEI programs, offices, and mandatory trainings in the next six months and mandate hiring practices to be “color-blind and sex-neutral.” 

The bill does not affect student organizations, data collection, course curriculum, admissions, or faculty research. However, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be required to conduct a study every two years on the effect of the changes on enrollment, retention and graduation of students, examining the results by sex, race, and ethnicity. 

Sen. Brandon Creighton (R), who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement to The Texas Tribune, “The days of political oaths, compelled speech, and racial profiling in university hiring are behind us. Moving forward, Texas will prioritize the advancement of the most qualified individuals and endorse policies that promote diversity and equality for our great state.” 

Abbott had instructed state agencies in February to cease consideration of diversity in hiring, while also warning heads of public universities that DEI policies violate anti-discrimination laws.

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