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Fake pushback: Texas passes law banning DEI at the state universities

Failure Theater!

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.

Genesis cover

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The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

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  • Gary H

    Most Universities in Texas are politically identical to California schools. In fact, some of the better schools are located in cities which mimic California cities..beggars, Teslas and anti-police politics. So. nothing will change their agenda short of budget cuts and many legal challenges. Thanks for following this story…

  • Doubting Thomas

    Agree 100% with Gary.

    Sadly our (mostly) Republican Texas state legislatures (especially House under Speaker Dade Phelan) seem reluctant to stop the slide downward. Some point out, correctly, that by constitutional design, Texas Gov is much less powerful than most state governors but still; Abbott talks a good game but plays a mediocre one.

    Things aren’t bleak yet (like in NY, CA, MN, etc) but getting close to it.

  • Robert Pratt

    It was real pushback but got watered down by the fakes in the final moments. If it doesn’t achieve desired results, the Legislature will clamp down more next session – such is the normal process in Texas. I’m as dissatisfied as anyone with it but it’s what we got; it’s never easy in Texas.

  • Robert Pratt: I though this was a hollow effort when first announced in May. As long as legislators are unwilling to zero the budget of these bigots, the bigotry will go on.

  • wayne

    “Battleground Texas PAC,” was started in 2013 with the express goal of flipping Texas, looks like everything is proceeding as planned.

  • David Eastman

    There was a highly interesting article at Powerline a week or so ago on this bill and how it got watered down to be basically meaningless. Short form, the way the TX government is set up, the Lt. Gov has almost all the power, and he’s a RINO.

  • wayne

    Hans -Hermann Hoppe
    “Thoughts on Physical Removal”

  • Doubting Thomas

    Since Robert Pratt weighed in on this, I guess I will feel a little better. Thank you Robert Pratt for Pratt on Texas and Robert Zimmerman for this site.

    David Eastman – I never thought of Dan Patrick as a RINO. He takes much flak from real RINOs. I always viewed Abbott as far closer to the RINO species.

  • LKB

    David Eastman:

    (BTW, I wrote the PowerLine article.)

    TxLG Dan Patrick isn’t a RINO, and he’s not the one who gutted the bill. That would be Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who practically defines the term RINO. (As I explained in the article, Phelan has his position via a coalition of Dems and RINOs.)

  • Richard Parker

    As a conservative Christian faculty member I cannot find fault with the bolded portion of the excerpt:

    “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.”

    This set aside is necessary. We must allow free speech in the classroom otherwise the left will encode their own bans on professors like me from sharing, for example, how biblical principles inform the work of 18th and 19th C. British and American writers or how the 1619 project lies about the origins of slavery, as illustrated by the advertisement on this page for Robert Zimmerman’s book. Imagine a state law prohibiting any discussion of Christianity or contradictions to the Bible of the 1619. However, banning DEI departments and policies at the administrative level is crucial as those are the very mechanisms used to oppress faculty and staff for using the wrong pronoun or uttering some Orwellian untruth.

  • GWB

    Any time you ban a problematic issue by name you simply push it to re-label itself. That’s why you have to understand the issue, so you can actually work at the true foundation of the problem. “DEI” is not the issue. Religious Progressivism is the issue. They are requiring conformance to their religious doctrines (among which is DEI) – for both faculty and students.

  • Richard Parker: Everything you say is entirely true, and only serves to underline my main point. The only way to really stop this bigotry is to zero out its budget. The taxpayer is not required to fund any organization or individuals, especially if it espouses ideologies of hate, bigotry, and oppression.

    Schools are supposed to teach, not indoctrinate. The difference is real. These universities now focus on the latter, which makes them a failure at their main job. They should be fired.

  • David Eastman

    LKB- I should have re-read the article before commenting here, I was going by memory. Thank you for that piece, it was an interesting, if frustrating, read.

  • Richard Parker

    FYI: Robert, when I tried to add your book (in any edition) to my Amazon saved list it wouldn’t let me. You may want to verify that it’s not just my problem.

  • Richard Parker: Thank you for the heads up. Can you explain what an “Amazon saved list” is? Does this mean you intend to buy, but later? Or is it something else entirely?

  • Robert Pratt

    David Eastman, Lt. Gov. Patrick is not a RINO nor does he have all the power. In Texas it is a weak governor system with the two branches of the legislature holding most power. The Lt. Gov., elected by all the people is very powerful but many argue, and have for a century, that the House Speaker is the most powerful.
    Patrick is not perfect on all but he is a powerful conservative and hated by the RINOs which include House Speaker Dade Phelan whom Patrick has named “California Dade.”
    Most all “watering down” of things the last few years, and this 88th Regular Session included, is happening by the House leadership, not the Lt. Guv who presides over the Senate.

  • Star Bird

    Most all Collages and Universties are run by the leftists NEA

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