After a state law went into effect requiring all public colleges and universities to dissolve any internal DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs, a new report shows that many schools are circumventing the law by changing the names of their departments. 

According to a report by The Federalist, four different universities around Texas have skirted the law and changed the name of the departments in order to continue pushing the leftist ideology. 

In August, the University of Texas at Dallas’ President Richard Benson declared that no employees working in DEI offices would lose their jobs and promised a commitment to DEI goals. Additionally, he said that the department would go under a different name with the same actions taken by the previous department. 

“If you look past what maybe you call it, you know, diversity and inclusion, if it’s things like mentoring, recruiting and the like, support, we will continue to do those things. And so it’ll go under a different name.”

“But I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the actual actions of what we do,” added Benson.

Similarly, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s President Taylor Eighmy informed her school that the DEI office would be renamed to the “Office of Campus and Community Belonging.” The department will focus on three pillars: the Americans with Disabilities Act and accessibility, campus climate, and community partnership bridges. 

The Federalist also obtained internal University of Texas at Austin (UT) communications that showed the university’s vice president of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Dr. LaToya Smith, announcing the department would be renamed the Division of Campus and Community Engagement and plans to continue pro-DEI principles. 

“While we continue the work to adjust programming to meet SB 17’s requirements and reflect this change in our focus, it is important to reiterate what will not change: our Division’s commitment to fostering access and belonging,” wrote Smith. 

Additionally, UT’s McCombs School of Business’ DEI office was renamed from “Outreach and Inclusion” to “Outreach and Scholarships.”

The University of Houston Downtown also renamed its DEI office to the Center for Student Advocacy and Belonging. Its mission statement says it is “to empower the university community to build a more inclusive and welcoming campus environment for all members of the UHD community through programming and training, and by engaging in outreach and advocacy efforts to add [sic] all students.”

Furthermore, Texas Scorecard reported on the University of North Texas’ plan to dissolve its DEI office. However, according to UNT’s President Neal Smatresk, he planned to reorganize the campus’ multicultural center, pride alliance, and other programs currently under the DEI office. He also moved offices such as Title IX, equal employment opportunity, and affirmative action to the division of finance and administration.

Although UNT’s DEI Vice President Joanne Woodard retired in October, Smatresk had said he would reassign other staff from the DEI office to different offices within the university. 

“Our leadership team has been working hard to make sure we continue to support our diverse student body, faculty, and staff in our values-based environment,” said Smatresk.

“The changes we are making have been undertaken with the guidance of the UNT System’s Office of General Counsel to ensure we are adhering to state and federal law as a state institution,” he continued.

On Thursday, Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) sent a letter to House Speaker Dade Phelan asking that “banning all race-based admissions, employment, and contracting practices in public universities, private universities that accept federal money, and all government entities” be studied by a committee before the next legislative session. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.