Failure theater: This week Texas’ Republican governor Greg Abbott signed a new law that formally abolished all diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at the state’s public universities and schools.
“An institution of higher education may not establish or maintain a diversity, equity, and inclusion office or hire or assign an employee of the institution, or contract with a third party, to perform the duties of a diversity, equity, and inclusion office,” states the legislation, Senate Bill 17, which takes effect at the start of the spring semester of the 2023-24 academic year.
Exceptions spelled out include “academic course instruction,” “research or creative works by an institution of higher education’s students or faculty,” and activities by student groups.
The new law also bans “ideological oaths,” or DEI statements, for hiring and enrollment. [emphasis mine]
Hooray! The unicorns have come out and the world is now good and pure. All racist teaching at Texas universities will now forever cease!
Bah. This law was first proposed in May. At that time I wrote the following:
I remain doubtful however whether this bill will achieve anything at all. For example, it does not appear to decrease the funding to the colleges. The universities have simply been told the money they formally spent on DEI can no longer be spent on such racist operations. Since they have the cash anyway, what will prevent college administrators to create a new office with a new name, let’s call it the “Openness and Support Office”, and hire the fired DEI staffers that have been terminated from a different college. By simply rearranging the chairs, these administrators — who apparently all enthusiastically support DEI’s Marxist and racist program — can recreate it without making it obvious. And the legislature has agreed to give them the funds for doing so.
The new law (available here) attempts to address this possibility with this language:
If the state auditor determines pursuant to a compliance audit conducted under Subsection (g) that an institution of higher education has spent state money in violation of this section, the institution: (1) must cure the violation not later than the 180th day after the date on which the determination is made; and (2) if the institution fails to cure the violation during the period described by Subdivision (1), is ineligible to receive formula funding increases, institutional enhancements, or exceptional items during the state fiscal biennium immediately following the state fiscal biennium in which the determination is made.
In other words, a college will have half a year to fix a violation, and if it doesn’t, its only punishment will be a limitation in funding “increases”, “enhancements,” or “exceptional items”.
My heart be still. This is another example of utter failure by a state government entirely controlled by Republicans. Rather than use their power to force change, they make believe that’s what they are doing, and hope their supporters won’t notice.
The leftist public colleges in Texas are simply going to change the names of these offices. If they close them, they will then instead use those now available funds to pay these fired DEI officials to come and teach “special courses” or give lectures, as allowed by the exceptions included in the law. Leftist and Marxist student groups can still push these values, and can get funding from the schools. These in turn will continue to pressure teachers and students to obey DEI’s racist anti-white and anti-American Marxist values, with likely the full support of administrators and faculty.
And so, this law accomplishes little if nothing. Though it should have some immediate positive influence, I guarantee that with time the leftists in charge of these universities will find a way around it.
When they do, they will prove once and for all that the only real way to end their racist teaching is to shut these institutions down, entirely. Start over. Open new schools with entirely new staff running them. Only then will we have a chance to end this new entrenched bigotry.
Will Republicans ever have the courage to do this? Maybe in a century or so, after the country has been thoroughly destroyed, turned into our own version of socialist Venezuela.