If you have been watching lately, you will see a major dustup developing at Texas A&M over the watering down of the terms of hiring a new proposed dean of its college of journalism. It seems routine enough, but read deeper and you will see that this is a sign of a major battle brewing in the dismantling of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs that will be required by the recent law adopted by the legislature that bans all DEI programs in Texas public universities. The law is SB 17, and when implemented it will abolish the entire DEI bureaucracy and related programs, and as I have mentioned previously, it may prove to be the most important bill to come out of the recent legislative session. I have also written about the insidious nature of DEI, the agenda of which is disastrous for free expression, academic integrity, and the very notion of a university, and which has been fast becoming the organizing principle of the leading institutions of higher education in the country. And it has become so deeply imbedded in many of these institutions, including Texas A&M and UT-Austin, that compliance with the new law will require major transformation and policy reversals in hiring practices, contracting, research, and even mission. So this is more than a routine disagreement over employment terms; it’s the first blow of a transformation of objectives and values that will require years to unfold and, as I have suggested with affirmative action, will ultimately not be complete until we have completely eliminated “diversity” as a compelling state interest in higher education. As my favorite scholar on this issue, Heather MacDonald, says, “You can have diversity or a meritocracy, but you can’t have both”.
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