AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As Gov. Greg Abbott tells state agencies that using diversity, equity and inclusion criteria in the hiring process is “illegal,” lawmakers in the legislature are pushing against the practice in Texas universities.
State representative Carl Tepper, R-Lubbock, filed a bill to prohibit higher education institutions from funding or supporting diversity, equity and inclusion offices. HB 1006 also prohibits any efforts to formulate diversity “beyond what is necessary to uphold the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
“We call it division, inequity and indoctrination. The DEI office name is a misnomer,” Tepper said. “We feel like it’s purposely being misused, to push a very woke very liberal agenda. You can have any belief you want, you can have any care about race relations or sexual relations or what have you. But we think that on the state dollar, and the state budget, that these universities, these state departments, departments of the state of Texas, should be neutral.”
Tepper’s alma mater Texas Tech University, now in his district, said its Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion works “to foster, affirm, celebrate, engage and strengthen inclusive communities.” They provide mentors to first-generation students, cultural centers for minority students and outlets for the campus to engage with the intercultural community.
Tepper said he hopes his bill will get rid of those outlets. He called Texas Tech’s Black Cultural Center “self-segregation.”
“I would do away with that. We have some wonderful facilities for everyone,” he said. “We want our students to learn together and play together, interact together, not as a segregated society. We want to see distinguished Black alumni, the portraits of distinguished Black alumni all over campus, not just in the Black Cultural Center.”
Some attorneys worry the recent restrictions of DEI policies are misguided. Jay Ellwanger,