Texas lawmakers have passed a bill banning diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and offices from public schools and universities. Senate Bill 17 was sponsored by Republican Senator Brandon Creighton and passed by an 82-61 vote. The bill will go to Governor Greg Abbott to be signed into law. Texas becomes the latest US state to pass such a measure. The Texas Conference of American Association of University Professors has encouraged colleges and universities to find ways to continue DEI services. The bill is expected to take effect on 1 January 2022. Abbott is a Republican and is expected to sign the bill.
In light of the recent report by UPI, Texas has passed a bill that bans diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and offices from public schools and universities. The bill, known as Senate Bill 17, was sponsored by Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton and passed by an 82-61 vote. It will now be sent to Governor Greg Abbott to be signed into law.
This move by Texas makes it the latest state to pass such a measure, following in the footsteps of Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia. Florida has already banned public institutions from providing funding to organizations and programs that promote DEI.
Sen. Creighton claims that prohibiting DEI practices in institutions of higher education will save the state millions and restore a culture of “free inquiry, meritocracy, equal opportunity.” However, the Texas Conference of American Association of University Professors has encouraged colleges and universities to find ways to continue DEI services in a tweet.
“In light of the passage of #SB17 banning diversity, equity and inclusion officers, we ask our public university and community college administrations to look for ways to make the best continuing use of the invaluable service to our campus communities by DEI staff and faculty,” the group said.
Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, asked the House not to give into the politics of “extremism” ahead of a vote, the Texas Tribune reports. “Don’t be on the wrong side of history,” he said. “Don’t let Texas be the next state to get a travel advisory. Don’t let the politics of extremism get in the way of the progress that we’ve made over the years.”
Despite the opposition, Governor Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law, which will take effect on January 1. This move by Texas has sparked a lot of controversy and debate, as many believe that DEI programs and offices are essential in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in public institutions. It remains to be seen how this new law will impact the state’s higher education institutions moving forward.