Six TX Schools Possibly Breaking DEI Law

Bell Tower at Texas A&M University | Image by Liero/Getty Images

Multiple Texas universities may be running afoul of a state law prohibiting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in higher education.

Six public universities have been identified in an investigation by The Dallas Express as potentially having unlawful DEI language in their job descriptions.

The investigation has provoked an array of responses from university officials and caused some campuses to alter their job listings or scrap them entirely.

One job description at Texas A&M for a Senior IT Professional mandates that the employee “champion workplace diversity and inclusiveness.”

The University of North Texas (UNT) had similar job descriptions. A Community Director position directly responsible for student life was expected to promote “diversity and inclusion” in the student living environment.

In the description for an Assistant Professor of Health role, the department “welcomes” candidates who are “dedicated to advancing research, community engagement and education … [in] social justice … and health equity.” The position also charged the professor with researching “health equity.”

After DX contacted UNT as part of its investigation, the chief communications officer for the university claimed that the “job posting for Community Director contained outdated language” and noted that it had been taken down. However, they insisted that “the Assistant Professor job posting is in compliance with current legislation.”

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) had a nearly identical “health equity” requirement for a Tenure Track Nursing Faculty role.

When asked for a statement on the legality of this requirement and if UTA intended the mandate as a test of the state’s DEI law, an official responded:

“[UTA] is not trying to test the limits of the law, nor will the University tolerate non-compliance of the law. The job posting in question is seeking a nursing scholar committed to ensuring that individuals, families, and communities, regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic background, have access to quality healthcare. In fact, as part of its commitment to limiting service barriers, UTA recently established its Center for Rural Health in an effort to grow the professional nursing workforce to meet the needs of rural communities.”

Sam Houston State University has an opening for an Expert in Homeland Security.

In addition to curating course materials, the successful candidate was originally supposed to “advance” the university’s commitment to “diversity and inclusion,” but the university has since struck this language from the posting. A spokesperson for the institution claimed the language “was an error and is now corrected.”

The Director of Clinical Education at Tarleton State University is supposed to deliver students an “equitable clinical education experience.” When DX contacted Tarleton State, the university refused to comment.

Under a “what you’ll do” header for the Assistant Director for Residence Life at Lamar University, the job description informs applicants that prior officeholders have trained students and staff in DEI.

DX contacted Lamar University to ask if this meant that future assistant directors would be expected to conduct DEI training. The university had not responded by the time of publication, but the text has since been removed.

Neither Texas A&M nor Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office returned a request for comment.

These universities are the latest in a series of investigations identifying job descriptions at public Texas universities that could violate SB 17.

A report by DX previously highlighted numerous potential violations at the state’s flagship school, the University of Texas at Austin, and Dallas College, one of DFW’s major community colleges.

SB 17 took effect on January 1, 2024.

The law “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 legislation also prohibits “requiring related training,” per a bill analysis committee report.

SB 17 also banned DEI statements and forbade an institution from requiring or inducing an applicant to give one.

The Texas legislature passed the law amongst a flurry of passionate statements in support and opposition.

“Texas is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and our institutions of higher education should reflect that diversity,” said Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) in a press release supporting the bill at the time of its passage. “However, the elevation of DEI offices, mandatory diversity statements, political litmus tests, and diversity training have the opposite effect and only further divides. DEI programs have become a million-dollar industry at taxpayer-funded institutions–yet they have made no progress advancing or increasing diversity.”

“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) wrote in opposition.

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