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Texas Senate passes bill banning critical race theory from being taught in universities

The bill passed along party lines with all Democrats voting against it.

Published: April 13, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

The Texas Senate passed SB 16, Banning Critical Race Theory in Texas Universities, filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler.

The bill amends state education code by requiring public institutions of higher education to “be committed to creating an environment intellectual inquiry and academic freedom so that all students are equipped for participation in the workforce and the betterment of society; and intellectual diversity so that all students are respected and educated regardless of race, sex, or ethnicity or social, political, or religious background or belief,” according to the bill language. It also prohibits these institutions from compelling certain beliefs.

At a committee hearing on the bill, prior to the committee advancing the bill, Hughes said, it would “establish in statute an express purpose statement for higher education that our institutions should be committed to creating environments where students are equipped for participation in the workforce and society while also respecting intellectual diversity, but not indoctrinating students. It will also prevent any faculty member from compelling or attempting to compel students to adopt a belief that any race, sex, ethnicity, or social, political, or religious belief is inherently superior to any other race, sex, ethnicity, or belief.”

Rep. Carl Tepper, R-Lubbock, filed several similar bills in the House to ban public institutions of higher education and government entities from using taxpayer money to “practice woke discrimination, self-segregation and division.” His bills ban CRT and “diversity, equity and inclusion” policies from being implemented at higher public institutions and government entities.

Their efforts expand on those of Gov. Greg Abbott, whose chief of staff last month sent a letter to the heads of all state agencies, universities and colleges receiving taxpayer money telling them that if they were implementing DEI policies, they were violating federal law.

His chief of staff wrote that DEI “has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others. … Rather than increasing diversity in the workplace, these DEI initiatives are having the opposite effect and are being advanced in ways that proactively encourage discrimination in the workplace. Illegally adding DEI requirements as a screening tool in hiring practices or using DEI as a condition of employment leads to the exclusion and alienation of individuals from the workplace.”

Agencies and state-funded universities using taxpayer dollars to fund DEI initiatives, he said, was “inconsistent with the law.”

Many higher education institutions have claimed to halt their respective DEI policies, however a review by The Center Square of some of their policies and language on their websites indicates DEI advocacy is ongoing.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the Senate for passing Hughes’ bill, saying, “Last session, we banned CRT in kindergarten through 12th grade because no child should be taught that they are inferior to others due to their race, sex, or ethnicity. In 2023 this should be common sense but the radical left’s drive to divide our society is relentless.”

“This session, there was no question that we would ban the teaching of CRT in Texas universities,” he added. “Liberal professors, determined to indoctrinate our students with their woke brand of revisionist history, have gone too far.” He thanked Hughes and other Senate Republicans for “standing with me to ban this divisive and ugly practice in our universities.”

The bill passed along party lines with all Democrats voting against it.

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