Senate Education Chairman Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, has alerted Texas universities that he will be calling them to the Capitol in May to provide an update on their progress in ridding Texas campuses of DEI, as required by Senate Bill 17. With the support of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Creighton wrote the strongest anti-DEI legislation in the nation and his letter reminds university leaders that failure to comply with the law could ultimately affect their funding.

To be clear on what Sen. Creighton is talking about, DEI is the acronym for “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” a deceptively named race-based ideology that divides people into two groups—oppressors, who are mostly white people, although increasingly Jews and Asians are included in the oppressor group, and victims, who are African American, Hispanic or gay. Sometimes women are included in the victim group, though rarely white women. Victims also include those who are suffering from gender dysphoria.

DEI advocates have been working for over a decade to re-segregate university campuses in Texas and across the country so “victims” aren’t required to interact with “oppressors” in classes and activities. Many Texas universities have segregated graduations for Black students and Hispanic students. “Lavender graduations” are held for gay students.

Arguing in favor of DEI programs, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where only 5.5 percent of students are African-American despite two decades of DEI programs, said, “I don’t feel like I go to a (predominately white institution) because I’m always around my Black friends.”

Imagine if a white student boasted, “I don’t feel like I go to a racially integrated university because I only hang out with my white friends.”

There has been massive blowback on Texas campuses following the passage of Senate Bill 17. The Austin-American Statesman reported that both students and faculty are rattled, exhausted and confused. DEI has infiltrated every aspect of university life because it seems administrators have put forward almost anything in the name of DEI without assessing the impact on students and its relevance to the educational mission of the academic institution.

For example, in a move that harkens back to the “Whites Only” signs before the Civil Rights Act, in the name of DEI, at least one flagship university established separate study rooms in the library for only LGBTQ students. When the library was crowded, other students were required to sit on the floor whether the separate study rooms had people in them or not.

Students at Texas A&M lamented that when the so-called “Pride Center” closed down there would be no place for women students to get binders to smash down their breasts so they looked like men. But administrators at the University of Texas at Dallas bragged that they were able to keep their “transition closet” open to provide cross-dressing outfits and supplies for students who believe they are the other gender. The officials insist they are now using “transition” as a broader term.

When the University of Texas announced that it would change the name of the Gender and Sexuality Center to the “Women’s Community Center,” it stated its mission was to provide “a place for Longhorns of all genders to connect, find resources, and get support around experiences of intersectionality, community, and gender solidarity.”

“Longhorns of all genders?” The wacky notion that there are Longhorns who are some gender other than male or female, like the evil idea that it is good for black students to only hang out with other black students, are two of the prime directives of DEI that permeate campus culture. Instilling these beliefs and others rooted in critical race and gender theory is the mission of DEI at every level.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a survey of a number of Texas universities and found some leaders were taking comprehensive steps to adhere to Senate Bill 17. But change will not be quick.

An official at Texas A&M was caught on tape saying that DEI programs were simply being “rebranded.” At the University of Texas at Tyler, an administrator said they were getting around SB 17 by “being creative.” At Texas Tech, an administrator said DEI programs were now all operating under the Campus Access and Engagement program.

Sen. Creighton made clear in his letter to university leaders that none of this is permissible under the law.

These frantic administrators who are clinging to DEI seem unaware that the biggest indictment against it is that it doesn’t work. A British study is the latest to reveal what we have seen in TexasDEI makes no difference in increasing the recruitment of minority and marginalized students or improving their academic outcomes or career opportunities. Sen. Creighton is right to remind university leaders across the state that the mandate of SB 17 to shut down these racially divisive and ineffective DEI policies isn’t a suggestionit is Texas law, and could cost them their funding.


Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.