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DEI efforts continue to face an uphill battle especially in Texas after the House of Representatives passed bill banning DEI programs. Photo: Fanatic Studio/Gary Waters/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The end of diversity in Texas

Texas House passed a bill to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion offices in public colleges and universities.

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On Monday, the Texas House passed one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s legislative, 83-62 vote, that would ban diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices and programs in public colleges and universities. If enacted into law, governing boards overseeing higher education institutions will be responsible for ensuring there is no breach of the ban. 

The bill, supported by conservative lawmakers that believe DEI efforts are hindering higher education and criticized by black lawmakers in Texas—State Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, a Democratic member representing the 120th District and vice chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, said to CNN, the bill will “put in jeopardy billions of dollars in grant/research funding that will exclude us from necessary discovery and industry-leading innovation.”

Despite the bill passing, the Republican Party of Texas is seeking a third bill, with Jill Glover, a member of the party's governing board, wrote in a newsletter update Monday that “at this point, if the bill cannot be restored, to its original goal in conference, it is preferable for the bill author, Senator Creighton, to kill his own bill rather than pass the substituted bill,” adding that “not only does the House version of SB 17 now codify into Texas law sexual orientation and gender identity, it also does not implement the original intent.”

The Texas Tribune reports, “Creighton is not expected to agree to the House version as passed and will request a conference committee.” As the original author of the bill, introduced in March that ensued several Senate debates—at the time, he argued the efficacy of DEI programs, noting it favored certain groups over others. 

“DEI is present in some form in almost every Texas campus,” said Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin, who filed the House version of the bill during the House debate on Friday. “We must recruit the best people in every field regardless of race and gender.”

The amendment offered by Rep. Kuempel requires the state to audit higher education institutions. Also, allow college students and employees to sue their colleges or universities if mandated to participate in DEI training. 
 

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