TX Senator Blames Anti-Israel Protests on DEI

Anti-Israel protester at an encampment at Columbia University campus in New York. | Image by LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images
Anti-Israel protester at an encampment at Columbia University campus in New York. | Image by LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images

The Texas Senate held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the impact of the recent anti-Israel protests on the state’s college campuses, as well as the implementation of Texas’ recent “diversity, equity, and inclusion” ban.

Anti-Israel protests have erupted across campuses in Texas, leading to hundreds of arrests. The University of Texas at Austin made headlines as two separate protests in April led to mass chaos. UT Austin’s administration faced backlash over its decision to call in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to shut down campus protests.

Freeman Martin, deputy director of homeland security operations for DPS, said at the hearing on Tuesday that DPS’s response to the protests stemmed from the agitators’ seeking to “occupy and disrupt,” according to the Texas Scorecard. Officers reportedly found a stockpile of rocks, bricks, and other weapons, such as pepper spray and knives, at the scene of the protest.

UT Austin’s faculty council passed a resolution on May 8 that, in part, condemned “the lack of campus-wide communication preceding the April 24 and April 29 uses of [Department of Public Safety] personnel in riot gear.” The resolution called upon the school to create clear, public criteria for when DPS can be called to future campus protests and explain why troopers were deployed in April, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The rest of the Senate hearing focused on the implementation of the recently enacted state law that bans diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) departments in Texas’ public universities. UT Dallas, in particular, cut at least 20 DEI positions, as reported by DX. The law went into effect in January of this year.

Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), who authored the law, said that DEI programs could be blamed for creating a culture that encourages protest encampments and riots.

“DEI ideology mirrors old Marxist talking points, dividing the world into oppressed and the oppressors,” said Creighton at the hearing. “DEI advocates believe group characteristics such as race, sex, and nationality, define someone’s privilege.”

“Given this context, it’s no surprise that a small group of students and faculty felt they could take over campuses to spread this radical ideology, and they feel comfortable occupying campuses to propagate the view … that Israel and the Jewish community are privileged oppressors, colonizing helpless Palestinians,” said Creighton.

“In the past, these groups got what they wanted by shouting loud enough, leading universities to allocate tens of millions of dollars, reshaping hiring and promotions, and establishing hundreds of committees and offices to please them,” he added.

Creighton claimed that minority faculty recruitment and hiring numbers went backward under DEI laws.

J.B. Milliken, chancellor of the UT System, told senators at the hearing that over $25 million was being saved or reallocated after the university closed 21 DEI offices and canceled 681 DEI contracts, programs, and training, which eliminated 311 full and part-time DEI-centered positions.

John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, also told senators that his university has “worked hard” to comply with the new law. He has instructed Texas A&M schools to fully implement the law by September 1 instead of waiting until the January 1 deadline.

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