UNT to dismantle DEI office after passage of new Texas law
'We are thoughtfully considering how we reorganize the Multicultural Center, Pride Alliance, and all related programs that support our students’ engagement and success.'
To comply with Texas' recently enacted Senate Bill 17, the University of North Texas will eliminate its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) office.
The University of North Texas will dissolve its diversity, equity, and inclusion department in order to comply with a new Texas state law.
The announcement follows the July 17 passage of Texas’ Senate Bill 17, which effectively bans DEI offices, DEI statements in the hiring process, and mandatory DEI training at public universities.
In an announcement on Aug. 1, President Neal Smatresk said that the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) office will be officially discontinued when its vice president, Joanne Woodard, retires on Oct. 1.
On Aug. 13, UNT’s remaining IDEA offices of Title IX, Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action will transition to the Division of Finance and Administration.
The university is exploring options for restructuring some of IDEA’s other offices, however, with Smatresk saying, “We are thoughtfully considering how we reorganize the Multicultural Center, Pride Alliance, and all related programs that support our students’ engagement and success.”
UNT is also considering ways to retain affected employees by assigning them to different roles. Smatresk stated, “Senior administrators and I are doing our best to create a plan that ensures we will continue to support all our community members’ needs and take advantage of the talented staff members currently within the division by working to reassign them throughout the university in ways that improve our academic community.”
”As a university committed to the education of Texans, we will remain steadfast in living our values and serving our diverse community,” Smatresk stated.
Texas is not the only state to tackle DEI initiatives on college campuses. Florida’s recently passed Senate Bill 266, which took effect on July 1, prohibits universities from using state funds on DEI programs.
In July, Campus Reform reported that the NAACP called on over 1,600 colleges to support its “Diversity No Matter What” pledge following the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in university admissions. “Our future depends on Black children having access to high-quality education, and for our community to have access to sound hiring opportunities. America can only thrive when Black America thrives, period,” the NAACP states.
Campus Reform has contacted all relevant parties for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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