The Texas Legislature just passed a law banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at state universities, sending it to Republican Governor Greg Abbott for signature.
Similar to a recently-passed Florida bill, the law forbids diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, preventing state-funded institutions from considering diversity when hiring faculty or selecting students. It could also impact clubs or courses involving identity, such as gender studies majors, or Black student athlete associations.
While debating the legislation, Democratic State Representative Mary E. González told her Republican colleagues that the decision would drive both students and staff away from Texas universities, particularly the smaller institutions, which would “perpetuate the exodus we’re seeing.”
“If I’m a professor who is considering going to university, why would I consider coming to Texas when I could not get the research funding I need in order to do the work that I want to do?” she said, adding, "I’d rather go to a different state.”
Democratic Representative Nicole Collier pointed out that the legislation would cost the state $1 billion in funding from grants. For example, institutions only qualify for the National Cancer Institute’s $20 million F30 Grant if they have a DEI office.
Democratic Representative Christina Morales also noted that the law would deter young voters from the Republican party.
“When I’m out in my district, I will tell you that when I speak to young voters, this is the one thing they talk about — diversity, equity and inclusion — and they are not happy about this," she told conservatives. "And I can tell you when you vote in favor of this legislation, the young people in your district are watching you."
Democratic Representative Alma Allen shared the sentiment, telling Republicans to “vote no for my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren — and for your children, your grandchildren, and your grandchildren."
“Your children are going to grow up with my children. They may even marry my children. Be thinking about that,” she said.