“How Texas A&M Went Woke,” my report from the Claremont Institute, has prompted the Texas A&M administration to respond. First, A&M has reportedly hired someone to continue the process of scrubbing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies from its website. Second, A&M is circulating a memo charging that “misinformation” lies at “the foundation of the report.” A&M compares more than a dozen “Statements from Yenor” against “Facts from Texas A&M University.”  But their “facts” are simply the evasions and obfuscations of a guilty party. Their rebuttal presents an object lesson in sophistry. 

One category of sophistry is refuting a charge not made. I contend that that A&M “has more DEI administrators than UT-Austin.” A&M responds that a comparison of “executive-level DEI operations” in central administration shows that A&M has fewer. I say A&M has more total DEI administrators; A&M says it has fewer central administrators. Both statements are true. A&M had many more lower-level DEI officials than UT at the time of the counting. I say that A&M created a diversity committee to consider removing statues on campus; A&M responds that no statues have been removed (yet!). Again, both statements are true. A&M has not refuted anything I said.

Sometimes, they claim ignorance; A&M evidently has so many DEI programs that it can hardly keep track of them. One is the LEAD program, which trains department chairs in DEI ideology, among other things. A&M is “not aware of a training for department chairs called LEAD.” A snapshot from ADVANCE, the university’s faculty affairs website, shows that this program still exists under a different name. 

Another technique is to deny, deny, deny. A&M administrators describe their own ACES program, which is housed in the Office of Diversity. A&M often lauds ACES as a premier diversity program. It lists ACES in its evaluations of diversity programs. A&M now denies that ACES is “a diversity effort.” Who you gonna believe—A&M or your lying eyes?

Sometimes A&M concedes that their DEI programs exist, but that they have discontinued them or that they will discontinue them. 

I have responded to every A&M criticism by adding a third column to the chart below, so that readers can judge for themselves. 

The University of Texas System issued a pause on new DEI efforts and ordered a top-down review of existing DEI efforts. A&M operates under a different Board of Regents, and its efforts are not subject to that pause and review. Such a review is needed. A&M cannot be trusted to conduct an audit of itself. My “How Texas A&M Went Woke” report is the best place to start. 

The report can inform the legislature as it deliberates about how best to rein in the DEI machine in Texas higher education. Many of the reforms under consideration will not get the job done. If the legislature bans DEI statements, for instance, A&M has already announced that it will just measure commitment to DEI in other ways. The university has announced in advance how it will get around the A&M system’s recently-announced ban on DEI statements. 

The legislature should defund DEI administrative offices in all Texas universities and colleges. All who are currently employed in such offices should be let go. This will make it clear that DEI is bad for one’s career in Texas higher ed. Second, the Texas legislature should adopt the Kalven Report as a vision for university professionalism. Politicized teaching and disciplines should be judged against the standards of the Kalven Report. If disciplines are so thoroughly infused with DEI ideology or any other leftist activism, the legislature should cease to fund them. Disciplines with DEI inscribed into their DNA should not receive public funds.

Most importantly, the Board of Regents must take its job more seriously. It must issue directives to eradicate DEI from universities and then follow through with them by firing university presidents who openly defy the Board or obfuscate their DEI efforts. Personnel is policy. The Left has clamored for DEI practices for generations, and university presidents have responded by permitting the DEI bureaucracy to bloat. It is time for these university presidents to fear conservatives in the legislature more than they do the Left, and this can be done only when select university presidents are fired. If this Board of Regents will not do it, then it too must be released and replaced. 

These universities bear the name Texas. They are chartered by Texas and funded in no small part through the Texas legislature. They belong to the state of Texas. It is about time Texas politicians started to act like it.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Scott Yenor

Scott Yenor is Senior Director of State Coalitions at the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life. He authored a study of DEI at Texas A&M in February.