The law comes at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is anticipated to ban colleges and universities from considering race as a factor in their admissions decisions later this month.
According to Reuters, one of the law’s sponsors in the Texas state Senate called it the most significant ban on diversity offices in higher education in the country. Any public institution or university in Texas that does not confirm it complies with the bill would not be allowed to use state funding granted to it, according to the law that Abbott signed on June 14th.
Additionally, the law requires state officials to conduct studies to evaluate the law’s effects on students broken down by race every two years through 2029. It will examine application, admission, enrollment, retention, graduation rates, and grade point averages. The law does not provide any justification for conducting these studies.
The new Texas law comes as opponents of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI measures, accuse them of being divisive or anti-white. At the same time, supporters say they can help individuals from different backgrounds learn to work together.
“Texas is leading the nation and ensuring our campuses return to focusing on the strength of diversity and promoting a merit-based approach where individuals are judged on their qualifications, skills, and contributions,” state Senator Brandon Creighton, a Republican who was one of the bill’s authors, said in a statement.
However, Paulette Granberry Russell, the president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, said in a statement that the law marked a “sad occasion for all students at Texas’ public universities.”
“By dismantling diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and offices at these institutions, Texas lawmakers have chosen to prioritize a political agenda instead of the success of these students,” said Russell. She added that having a diverse student body benefits all students, regardless of race, and her organization will continue pushing for Texas universities to “become more accessible and inclusive.”