[Fox News] Another Texas university drops DEI office, ‘approximately 20 associated jobs eliminated’ due to state law

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University of Texas at Dallas (UT) will clear out its diversity, equity, and inclusion offices due to state law, according to an announcement from the university.

In an effort to comply with Texas’ SB 17, operations of the Office of Campus Resources and Support (OCRS) will cease.

“As a result, effective April 30, 2024, the Office of Campus Resources and Support (OCRS) and approximately 20 associated jobs will be eliminated,” President Dr. Richard C. Benson announced in a letter posted on the school’s website.

UT Dallas adds that all services for disabled populations will continue.

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“A limited number of functions will be moved to other administrative units to ensure continuity of services to our students, faculty and staff,” Benson said.

Benson went on to say, “I know that this decision will not be welcomed by many in our campus community. I remain committed to ensuring that UT Dallas is a supportive community focused on developing the knowledge, the research and the people that are vital to our future.”

The announcement came after UT Austin took heat from students over the move to comply with state law.

One of the students blasted the school for complying with the “extremist Texan government” and called the layoffs of DEI employees “wrongful termination.”

“State efforts to undermine initiatives that seek to uplift and protect marginalized groups have no place on our campus,” Maddox Réal, class of 2026, told Fox News Digital.

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UT laid off dozens of employees who worked in their DEI programs to comply with a new state law, the university announced last week. The Austin American-Statesman reported that a person with knowledge about the situation said 60 positions that were related to DEI work were eliminated at UT-Austin. That didn’t necessarily mean 60 people were fired from the university, as these jobs have at times been part of dual roles for employees.

The law mandates that all governing boards of public colleges and universities ensure that their institutions prohibit the establishment and maintenance of a DEI office and the issue of “DEI Statements.” In addition, hiring practices and trainings are no longer able to use DEI statements.

The universities cleared DEI offices amid pressure from GOP State Sen. Brandon Creighton, who outlined expectations of how universities will comply with the state law. He wrote a letter expressing the serious nature of the bill, saying that the measure “mandates a fundamental shift in the operation of our higher education institutions.” He added that universities are expected to facilitate a “merit-based environment.”

Furthermore, he explained that the Texas Senate Committee on Education is expected to hold a hearing in May, probing chancellors and “general counselors” of higher education institutions to show how their universities are complying with the law. If universities fail to comply with the state law, they could lose funding, Creighton warned. 

Among five specific questions on compliance, university spokespeople are expected to explain, “How has your institution ensured that there are no DEI offices or officers on campus, or no individuals or organizations performing the duties of a DEI office or officer?”

Creighton, like other critics of DEI programs at the university level, argued they were simply discrimination by another name in explaining his opposition. DEI supporters argue they address increasingly diverse student populations and are a form of correction against systemic inequities.

The University of Florida last month eliminated all DEI positions and administrative appointments in compliance with a similar law in the state.

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