School Fires 60 Diversity Employees

( – In a victory for academic merit and common sense, the University of Texas at Austin has announced it has axed its 60 employees in charge of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), and is also slashing the funding to all of its DEI programs.

This move comes in response to a 2023 law, SB 17, prohibiting DEI offices in the state’s public higher education institutions.

Consequently, the university will dismantle its Division of Campus and Community Engagement, reallocating programs unrelated to DEI, like disability services, to different departments.

President Jay Hartzell shared these plans in a Tuesday afternoon email to the university’s faculty, students, and staff.

“Additionally, funding used to support DEI across campus prior to SB 17’s effective date will be redeployed to support teaching and research,” Hartzell stated in the email, cited by The College Fix.

“As part of this reallocation, associate or assistant deans who were formerly focused on DEI will return to their full-time faculty positions. The positions that provided support for those associate and assistant deans and a small number of staff roles across campus that were formerly focused on DEI will no longer be funded,” he elaborated.

Hartzell acknowledged the contentious nature of SB 17 and its impact on the university community, emphasizing the importance of respecting diverse viewpoints and experiences as these changes are implemented.

The Austin-American Statesman reported that the university has terminated at least 60 staff members formerly engaged in DEI roles, as per information from three individuals familiar with the layoffs.

While the University of Texas has not confirmed the specifics of the job cuts or the number of affected employees, a source indicated to the American-Statesman that 60 individuals were laid off, including 40 from the Division of Campus and Community Engagement alone.

These layoffs are set to take effect after a minimum of 90 days.

Central to these developments is the law that explicitly forbids public higher education institutions from establishing or maintaining DEI offices or hiring individuals or contractors to fulfill such roles. Exceptions are made for academic course instruction, research or creative endeavors by students or faculty, and student group activities.

Further complicating the situation, the Texas Tribune highlighted concerns from the AAUP and NAACP regarding the layoffs, particularly since many of the dismissed employees had recently transitioned to non-DEI positions.

These organizations expressed intentions to gather more information to address what they perceive as potential threats to First Amendment rights.

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