The University of Texas system is pausing new policies to promote diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the Board of Regents announced Wednesday. The move comes weeks after Texas governor Greg Abbott sent letters to state institutions arguing that the use of DEI policies in hiring practices could amount to illegal discrimination and violate state and federal laws.
UT system Board of Regents chair Kevin Eltife said at Wednesday’s meeting that “certain DEI efforts have strayed from the original intent to now imposing requirements and actions that, rightfully so, has raised the concerns of our policy makers about those efforts on campuses across our entire state,” according to The Austin-American Statesman.
The newspaper reported that the UT system Board of Regents has requested a report on DEI policies in order to allow the governing body to review those practices across the system. Additionally, Eltife said he would welcome legislative action to provide guidance on DEI policies.
DEI practices vary by institution but often include efforts to recruit more historically underrepresented students, to hire more diverse candidates and to make campuses welcoming for a broad cross-section of constituents. Such efforts have, however, attracted significant pushback from conservatives who have argued DEI practices are an imposition of liberal values.
DEI has received increased attention from conservative lawmakers recently, particularly in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has promised to defund such efforts at state colleges and universities and has appointed anti-DEI activists to the board of the New College of Florida.