As Texas’ new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ban in public universities nears its effective date, the University of Texas McCombs School of Business is set to host a DEI Roundtable. 

According to a flyer shared by Republican State Rep. Brian Harrison of Midlothian, the event will be open to all students to discuss changes they “wish to see in McCombs concerning race and ethnicity.“

The event is being sponsored by the Undergraduate Business Council, which “serves to connect the students and faculty of the McCombs School of Business to create a stronger UT community and better student life.”

Harrison told Texas Scorecard that he will be demanding answers from the school.

“I am proud to have successfully strengthened the bill to ban DEI after the liberal leadership in the Texas House tried to water it down,” said Harrison. “It is indefensible if UT Austin is flaunting this new law with my constituent’s tax money [sic]. I’ll be demanding answers and will remember this next time UT says they ‘need more money.'”

While UT continues its DEI push, there is a new state law that is set to take effect on January 1, 2024. Senate Bill 17 by State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe) was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in late June. The law bans Texas’ public universities from establishing a DEI office, using DEI criteria in their hiring practices, and requiring employees or prospective employees to attend DEI training.

Notably, the restrictions do not apply to academic instruction, student organizations, student admissions, guest speakers, or scholarly research.

Currently, UT has multiple DEI offices, including one situated in the McCombs School of Business. 

In February of 2022, the school published its ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan,’ which is supposed to be reviewed and updated every two years. 

The plan stated, “To achieve our highest academic excellence, we seek to draw from the strengths reflected in the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. We believe that embedding diversity, equity and inclusion principles in all aspects of McCombs will result in more meaningful and fulfilling learning and work environments, trusting relationships, and improved collaboration and innovation.”

The plan outlined ways for DEI to be implemented throughout the program, including creating and implementing a strategy to “broaden the delivery and impact of focused DEI-related workshops and events.” The plan also promoted developing and delivering programming around quarterly DEI focus topics for the McCombs School faculty, staff, and students. 

Texas Scorecard reached out to David Quintanilla, the Interim Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the McCombs school, but received no response before publication.

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.