SDS condemns the closure of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs across Texas as a result of SB-17

SDS condemns the closure of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs across Texas as a result of SB-17

On April 19th, 2023, the Texas Senate passed SB-17, a bill that forces the state’s public universities to close their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices. These offices were established to promote equitable access to higher education, foster diversity among staff, and create a safe and more supportive environment for the state and nation’s various multicultural and multiracial student bodies. The passage comes as a devastating blow to the often insufficient, yet admirable progress made by diversity initiatives across the nation.

The closure of these offices were justified by the claim that the programs are ineffective and exclusive, thus making them counterproductive to the goal of diversity. This argument is simply debunked by their policy alignments surrounding minorities. The despots behind this bill have no interest in protecting diversity. SB-17 is symptomatic of the profitability of racist policies on the state level, reminiscent of recent anti-trans laws, or legal segregation.

This bill is an attack on the already meager opportunities of Black, Chicano, Native, and Latino students at college campuses, many of whom already face financial and social barriers to higher education. These students often do not have adequate SAT/ACT preparation due to funding cuts, leaving test scores lower and college acceptance an ever more distant goal. Food insecurity, over-policing, and lack of physical safety add insult to injury. DEI programs held the ambitious goal of educating others on these struggles and their impacts, providing much needed support. While these programs are not perfect, without them, students of color will be further discouraged from applying, lowering an already sparse Black, Chicano, Latino, and Native attendance rate at many schools.

Similar closures were enacted in Florida and Arkansas, and slashes to DEI budgets are underway in states such as Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This bill is part of a larger attack on diversity across the nation, in line with policies such as Ron DeSantis’ blocking of AP African American studies in Florida high schools and budget cuts to ethnic studies at universities nationwide.

Students For A Democratic Society calls for the total condemnation of this racist policy, the reinstatement of these programs, and the increased enrollment of Black, Chicano, Latino, and Native students!

Defend DEI!
Stop Attacks on Diversity Programs!
Increase Black, Chicano, Native, and Latino Enrollment!