Posted on April 14, 2024

University of Texas at Dallas Lays Off DEI Staff

Tasha Tsiaperas, Axios, April 10, 2024

UT Dallas is the latest Texas public university to lay off staff due to the new law barring diversity, equity and inclusion programs at state institutions.

Why it matters: Texas is one of at least nine states to pass legislation limiting or prohibiting DEI programs on college campuses.

  • Anti-DEI bills have been introduced in 21 states since 2021.

State of play: Senate Bill 17, which took effect in January, bars public universities from maintaining offices or programs dedicated to supporting historically underrepresented groups, such as people of color or members of the LGBTQ community.

  • Critics of the programs say they are discriminatory and emphasize assisting only certain groups.

The latest: UT Dallas is eliminating 20 jobs and its Office of Campus Resources and Support at the end of the month to comply with SB 17, university president Richard C. Benson announced this week.

  • The move comes a week after UT Austin laid off at least 60 people who had worked in DEI positions. {snip}

Friction point: The bill author, state Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), sent letters last month to the chancellors and boards of regents at Texas public universities saying the organizations have made progress complying with the law but many appear to have simply renamed their DEI programs.