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Texas universities cancel over 600 programs related to diversity

Robert Besser
19 May 2024

AUSTIN, Texas: This week, Texas school officials told lawmakers that in response to one of the nation's most sweeping bans on diversity programs on college campuses, their universities eliminated or changed hundreds of jobs in recent months.

As part of the most comprehensive public accounting of the new Texas law, University of Texas Systems Chancellor James Milliken said, 300 full and part-time positions had been cut from its nine academics and five health campuses alone.

He added that those campuses also canceled more than 600 programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

"You may not like the law, but it is the law," Milliken said.

Texas and about a third of U.S. states have taken steps to limit or prohibit DEI initiatives and practices.

In a letter to chancellors in March, Republican state Sen. Brandon Creighton said that some campuses could be trying to avoid the law or find loopholes, such as renaming employing titles or campus offices.

"This letter should serve as a notice that this practice is unacceptable," Creighton said.

An Associated Press analysis using the legislation-tracking software, Plural, showed that so far this year, Republican lawmakers in some two dozen states have filed bills aimed at restricting DEI initiatives this year.

Meanwhile, Democrats have sponsored measures supporting DEI in at least 20 states.

Last month, the University of Texas campus in Austin, one of the largest campuses in the U.S. and the flagship of the state's university system, said that to comply with the ban, it closed its Division of Campus and Community Engagement and cut jobs.

The state's legislation "makes it crystal clear" that "if you tread back into the bad waters, something bad is going to happen to you," Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp told lawmakers.

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