Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a measure that requires all state-funded colleges and universities in Texas to close their diversity, equity and inclusion offices. The law is considered by some to be the most significant ban on diversity offices in higher education in the United States. Its introduction follows the seemingly imminent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to consider race as part of admissions decisions.
Public colleges or universities that do not certify their compliance with the measure under the Texas law may lose state funds allocated to them. The law also mandates state officials to conduct studies every two years, up to 2029, to determine the impact of the law on students, including their rates of application, acceptance, matriculation, retention, graduation and grade point averages. The law provides no explanation for the purpose of these studies.
According to CNN:
The office of bill sponsor state Sen. Brandon Creighton described the law as “the most significant ban on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in higher education in the nation.”
“With this bold, forward-thinking legislation to eliminate DEI programs, Texas is leading the nation, and ensuring our campuses return to focusing on the strength of diversity and promoting a merit-based approach where individuals are judged on their qualifications, skills, and contributions,” Creighton added Wednesday in a statement celebrating Abbott’s signature.
Meanwhile, opponents of the bill slammed the move, arguing that it “perpetuates the cycle of ignorance and discrimination.”
Last month, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to defund DEI programs at public colleges, and in April, North Dakota GOP Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law a ban on mandatory training for students and employees on “divisive” concepts, including race.
Yesterday, Abbot signed a bill prohibiting transgender women from participating in women’s collegiate athletics, adding to a 2021 law extending the guidance for public school teams. The “Save Women’s Sports Act” requires collegiate athletes to compete based on their biological sex or the gender designated on their birth certificate.