Dallas College Appears To Break State DEI Law

Dallas College
Dallas College | Image by Dallas College/Facebook

Dallas College will purportedly review and remove a dozen job descriptions posted on its website due to an investigation by The Dallas Express.

DX contacted the community college after 12 postings mandated employees advance or adhere to DEI (diversity, inclusion, and equity) as a condition of employment in what appeared to be a contravention of state law.

In response to its inquiry, DX received the following reply:

“Dallas College is committed to following all applicable laws and has worked diligently to comply with the requirements of SB 17 which became effective approximately three months ago.  The College conducted a thorough review of its job descriptions and job postings prior to the effective date of the law, however, in an institution with hundreds of roles and hundreds of job postings it is possible that, despite its diligent efforts, additional work remains to be done.  The referenced job postings appear to have been posted since the effective date of SB 17 and appear to contain language that might run contrary to Dallas College’s commitment to compliance with SB 17 and those postings, and others, will be removed and reviewed to ensure compliance with this new law.  Dallas College will continue to train employees on the requirements of SB 17.”

SB 17, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2023, banned DEI initiatives in Texas higher education institutions after going into effect on January 1, 2024.

The bill “prohibits public institutions of higher education from establishing or maintaining DEI offices, officers, employees, or contractors that perform the duties of a DEI office. The bill also prohibits requiring related training,” per a bill analysis committee report. The bill also reaffirmed other prohibitions on race-preferential hiring in public employment.

The offending job listings, which were still posted online as of early Tuesday evening, are for a number of different positions and explicitly mandate DEI adherence in various ways.

The Department Chair, Culinary Arts and Hospitality role, a high-ranking faculty position, requires several years of experience advancing DEI. Under minimum qualifications, the job description states a candidate must have at least “three years of higher education-based experience including… a demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity in education through leadership, scholarship, teaching, or service.”

Other high-ranking administrative positions had nearly identical requirements.

The Vice Provost, E-Learning role requires the candidate to have “an adaptability to diversity” and a “deep appreciation for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a track record of promoting these values within the academic school.”

Other job descriptions for lower-ranking positions also made the expectation explicit.

An Awards Coordinator position, responsible for coordinating students with scholarships, had a similar description.

The posting called for applicants with a “[d]emonstrated knowledge of principles of equity and inclusion and a demonstrated commitment to the promotion of diversity.”

Some job descriptions had DEI diffused across the duties and responsibilities sections beyond the contiguous “diversity, equity, and inclusion” formula.

The job posting for Student Success Coach required the public employee to “[e]mploy equity-minded strategies aimed at ensuring engagement and support for historically marginalized and underserved student populations.”

This position was also charged with “address[ing] historic and systemic inequities for student success.” The description did not specify what these present-day systemic inequities are within a DEI context.

A Military-Connected Services Program Lead role requires the employee to have a “proven track record of enhancing… institutional [italics added] diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Numerous faculty positions required applicants to advance “academic equity.”

The overtness of these postings may be the first of its kind. However, as previously reported by DX, they seem to align with plans suggested by various Texas university officials to skirt the ban.

The University of Houston had appeared to shutter its DEI offices and an LGBT resource center before launching its new “Center for Student Advocacy and Community.”

Similarly, after closing its DEI office, the president of the University of North Texas reallocated staff from DEI programs to its finance and administration division.

The tension between the state and its universities resembles the heated debate surrounding SB 17’s passage.

Opponents said the bill would damage intellectual inquiry.

“By stifling open discussions on race, gender, and social justice, this legislation denies our young minds the opportunity to understand the diverse world they live in and perpetuates the cycle of ignorance and discrimination,” Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) tweeted.

SB 17’s author, Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), asserted the legislation would “ensur[e] our campuses return to focusing on the strength of diversity and promoting a merit-based approach where individuals are judged on their qualifications, skills, and contributions.”

Update: This article has been updated as of March 13 to include the unabridged statement from Dallas College. 

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