Posted on February 16, 2023

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Calls Diversity Efforts ‘Illegal,’ Tells State Agencies to Stop

Max Zahn, ABC News, February 10, 2023

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has notified state agencies that the use of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in hiring is illegal, according to a memo obtained by ABC News.

The memo, sent on Sunday by Abbott’s chief of staff, Gardner Pate, said diversity, equity and inclusion programs in hiring violate the law because they “expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.”

The funding of such programs is also illegal, the memo said. It did not specify which groups were harmed.

Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Gov. Abbott’s office, said in a statement: “The letter from the Governor’s chief of staff is a reminder that state agencies and public universities must follow federal and state law in their hiring practices. Both federal and state law make equity quotas illegal.”

“The issue is not diversity—the issue is that equity is not equality. Here in Texas, we give people a chance to advance based on talent and merit,” Eze added.


Contrary to their stated goal, DEI programs worsen discrimination in hiring instead of alleviating it, Pate said in the memo.

“Indeed, 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,” he said.


In 2021, Abbott signed into law a measure that aims to ban the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public school classrooms.