Correspondence between universities and GOP lawmakers show how schools navigate Texas’ DEI ban

Communications obtained by The Texas Tribune shows that public universities are taking several measures to comply with the state’s new law – at the cost of people’s jobs and potential federal funds.

By Wells DunbarMay 24, 2024 1:01 pm,

Texas Republicans have made an end to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies on public college campuses a priority. Now, a new Texas Tribune investigation takes a closer look at correspondence between university leaders and lawmakers.

The Tribune reviewed communications between conservative lawmakers and the heads of Texas’ public university systems, which sought information on how the schools were enforcing the edit.

“The big highlights here that you will see: closure of multicultural offices,” says managing editor for news and politics Matthew Watkins. “Some universities had offices for LGBT students, for Black students, Hispanic students, things like that – those are deemed illegal under this law and many, if not all of them, closed. They fired or reassigned a lot of DEI staff.”

The correspondence also reveals a bind many universities are facing: complying with the law while competing for billions in federal education funding dollars, many of which place an emphasis on DEI.

“Universities were saying they’re having a hard time balancing the law with access to billions of federal dollars, and a similar situation with accreditation,” Watkins said. “Schools that need accreditation often have to show how they’re furthering diversity.”

Hear more stories from the week in Texas politics in the audio player above.