A recent report from Blaze News found that an executive order from the Republican governor, an order from the university system’s chancellor and a guarantee that a ban law would take effect in January were not enough to stop Texas A&M University from signing potential new hires ideological conformity to and support of diversity, equity and inclusion. However, the unwanted attention resulting from the same report appears to have had an impact and shows the importance of vigilance and sustained pressure.
Last week, Dr. Scott Yenor, a political science professor at Boise State University, highlighted several obvious examples of departments at Texas A&M hiring “based on ideological conformity and racial preferences.”
While many supposedly DEI-coded posts remain, according to Yenor’s report, one of the most brazen examples has been significantly altered.
What is the background?
Gov. Greg Abbott in February called on public entities in Texas to end DEI hiring practices.
“The innocuous-sounding notion of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been manipulated to enforce policies that explicitly benefit certain demographic groups to the detriment of others,” the memo said.
allegedly written by the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Gardner Pate.
Weeks later, the University of Texas System Board of Regents announced it had suspended any new DEI policies.
Chairman Kevin Eltife, an Abbott appointee,
recommended that while the system aims to promote diversity, “certain DEI efforts have deviated from the original intent and are now imposing requirements and measures that have rightly raised concerns among our policymakers about these efforts on campuses across our state.” .”
On March 2, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp directed university leaders to stop asking job applicants about their commitment to DEI in their applications.
reported the Texas Tribune.
“No university or agency in the A&M system will admit a student or hire an employee based on any factor other than merit,” Sharp wrote.
Texas lawmakers went a step further to ensure there was no major confusion over the Lone Star State’s ban on race- and identity-based hiring practices.
Senate Bill 17The law, ratified by Gov. Greg Abbott and effective January 1, 2024, prohibits Texas public universities from establishing an office of diversity, equity and inclusion. Using DEI criteria in their hiring practices; and requiring employees or potential employees to participate in DEI training.
The law also requires boards of directors to ensure that, among other things, each institutional unit “does not compel, require, induce, or solicit any person to make a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement or to grant preference to any person on the basis of such statements.” give”. Providing a diversity, equity and inclusion statement.
Public higher education institutions are audited every four years to determine whether taxpayer dollars have been wasted on DEI-related programs. Offending institutions that do not correct the problem within 180 days may be excluded from increases in formula funding and institutional improvements.
reported the Austin American-Statesman.
Eltife, an Abbott official, said last week: “We really want to make something clear: whether you like the policy or whether you like this law or any other law, the University of Texas system will respect the process, and we.” will respect the law.
“We will not look for loopholes. We won’t look for workarounds. We will implement the law as passed,” said Eltife.
The DEI system that won’t die
Dr. Yenor noted in his initial report that the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M was hiring four tenure-track assistant professors and asked the candidates in a job posting:
archived on Nov. 15 — to submit a cover letter “referring to the research agenda, past or planned contributions to promoting diversity, and teaching interests.”
The day after Yenor’s report, the posting was changed to say: now omitted the phrase “past or planned contributions to promote diversity”.
Blaze News reached out to Texas A&M’s political science department but did not receive a response by deadline.
Yenor told Blaze News that the sudden about-face revealed that “the job posting clearly violated Governor Abbott’s order eliminating DEI statements for faculty, university or state hiring. It was a direct affront to Gov. Abbot’s executive order.
The change “led them to comply with the executive order, at least in this case,” Yenor said.
Anna Katherine Miller, director of education policy at the Center for American Education, told Blaze News, “Texas A&M’s recent removal of diversity from its job postings after being called out for violating the governor’s directive shows that policies banning DEI will not be easy to enforce.” university campuses. Reluctant university presidents, aided and abetted by the DEI bureaucracy on campus, will do their best to evade these orders.”
Yenor also noted that bans on DEI hiring practices are “pretty easy to get around.” Many of the universities have already indicated that they will do this. The Bush School’s advertising didn’t even try to avoid this. She just violated it.”
Yenor pointed out that one alleged loophole is that, rather than signing a DEI pledge, applicants are “willing to evaluate their application in light of the fact that they have demonstrated a commitment to diversity throughout their lives.” .”
“In other cases, the university says in part of the ad, ‘This university stands for diversity and inclusion,’ and then asks potential applicants if they would like to respond to what the university stands for. This is a different one.” “A way to… give candidates the opportunity to voluntarily subscribe to the ideology,” Yenor continued. “I think the letter of the law is upheld, but the spirit of the law is violated in most of these professions.”
Sherry Sylvester, distinguished senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told Blaze News that since the passage of SB 17, it has become clear that “many at the university are eager to find workarounds and opportunities for noncompliance. You said this directly and indirectly. They talked about the possibility of changing DEI to a different name.”
Despite a name change and a possible facelift, Sylvester made clear what DEI means: division and dehumanization
“The problem with DEI is that it is divisive. His worldview is that America is bad, Texas is bad and the world is either oppressors or oppressed,” Sylvester said. “Your identity is based on immutable characteristics, gender and race, and not on your personal achievements; what you can; what you have learned; what you have overcome. We don’t all start at the same point – no one thinks we do – but people achieve success where they start.”
“[DEI] is anti-individual. … This is something that is at odds with our Texas identity. “We believe that every individual is unique, that everyone finds their way, and that it is our job to ensure that no one stands in their way,” Sylvester continued. “DEI doesn’t think in terms of individual integrity. It thinks in terms of group identity, and people need to understand that.”
I say goodbye to DEI
In addition to creating an expectation among students and potential hires that they must be treated as individuals and not based on immutable characteristics and/or group membership, Sylvester suggested that there are other ways to hold the university accountable.
“The legislation contains several accountability components. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is a group available to monitor…and report lack of compliance. The state auditor will also monitor universities. Every university must intervene and testify before the university committees [state] “The House and Senate confirm that they are in compliance,” Sylvester said.
But even with such checks and balances, Sylvester emphasized that good leadership remains a crucial part of the solution.
“Public universities in Texas should ensure that any leaders they hire are fully committed to ridding the academic institution of DEI,” Sylvester said. “No one who supports DEI or takes a vague position on DEI should be hired for a leadership position at a public university in Texas. Texans do not support DEI. The legislature has made it clear that we do not want DEI to be part of the infrastructure in our institutions. Therefore, no leader should be hired unless they are fully committed to ensuring their academic institution is DEI-free.”
Yenor emphasized that “the only way to truly stop the DEI revolution on campus is for university leadership to be willing to stop it and to put the money and prestige of the university office behind the non-DEI vision of education put.”
The problem, the Boise professor said, is that Gen. Mark Welsh, Texas A&M’s interim president, “has signaled that he is interested in continuing the diversity, equity and inclusion revolution at Texas A&M, moving it forward.” and to deepen. …He’s leaving.” It looks like doing whatever it takes to follow the letter of the law but violating its spirit.
General Welsh has been one for a long time
fan of DEI, at least rhetorically. He recently told In the Washington Post, he would not have supported SB 17, stating, “I don’t think it’s beneficial to what we as a society are striving for in the long term.”
Yenor noted that the public has approximately 30 days to comment on whether the Texas A&M Board of Regents should formally appoint Welsh as university president, noting, “I think this is one of the few chances there is to undo some of these shameful actions. “Texas A&M.”
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