The chair of the Senate’s Education Committee has outlined the process of how higher education institutions are to expel Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives in letters to the chancellors of Texas’ state-funded universities.

The letters announced an upcoming oversight hearing to review the implementation process of Senate Bill 17—which prohibits institutions of higher education from establishing a DEI office, using DEI criteria in their hiring practices, or requiring employees or prospective employees to attend DEI training.

SB 17 was signed into law in June 2023 and took effect on January 1 of this year.

Now, the University of North Texas System, the Texas A&M University System, the University of Texas System, the University of Houston System, the Texas Tech University System, and the Texas State University System are all being checked for compliance.

“The Texas State Legislature, along with the people of Texas, anticipate that each institution will undertake sincere efforts to align with the bill’s provisions, ensuring a merit-based environment where every student, faculty, and staff member can strive for and achieve personal excellence,” the letter reads.

The Senate Committee on Education is planning a hearing for May where system administrators will present their progress on DEI elimination.

The letter lists five questions that available representatives of each system will be requested to address at the upcoming hearing.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton’s (R-Conroe) questions include:

  • How has your institution ensured that there are no DEI offices or officers on campus or no individual or organization performing the duties of a DEI office or officer?
  • How has your institution ensured that DEI training is not required for students, staff, and faculty?
  • How has your institution acted to comply with the provision which prohibits providing preference based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to an applicant for employment?

Two other questions target the abolishing of required diversity statements in the hiring process and how institutions plan to prepare for the required DEI oversight audit.

“When Texas taxpayer dollars are used to fund offices, departments, or employee positions dedicated to promoting DEI initiatives, rather than basing decisions on merit, that is not only inappropriate, it is inconsistent with state law,” said Creighton in a press release.

“Now that SB 17 is law, I’m confident that Texas public colleges and universities can return to their core mission of innovation and education— and if they do not, the Texas Senate will be resolute in enforcement of this legislation.”

Will Biagini

Will was born in Louisiana and raised in a military family. He currently serves as a journalist with Texas Scorecard. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for Campus Reform.