Special to The Dallas Examiner
State Sen. Royce West expressed his disappointment in the recent announcement made by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, regarding the removal of diversity, equity and inclusion as a factor in the university’s admissions process.
“Diversity has always been a crucially sensitive issue at Texas A&M University, and the decision by Chancellor Sharp to remove DEI as a factor in admissions will have an even more detrimental impact on the university’s efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion throughout its system,” West said. “Chancellor Sharp did not reach out to any ethnic minority legislators before announcing this decision.”
The announcement came after Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement to the leaders of state agencies and local universities in early February, declaring “DEI policies violates federal and state employment laws.” He pressured them as leaders, saying that it was their responsibility as leaders to follow the law.
DEI policies were created to ensure underserved communities – all minorities, LGBTQ, disabled, veterans, older citizens, etc. – an equal opportunity in employment and enrollment.
Sharp has become the first chancellor in Texas to say that DEI will no longer be a factor in the admissions process and has directed staff to review employment practices, including faculty and staff application requirements.
“The exclusion of input from minority legislators on this very sensitive issue sends a clear message that Texas A&M is willing to sacrifice the benefits of a diverse student body for the sake of political expediency,” West said.
Sharp’s statement that ‘no university or agency in the A&M system will admit any student, nor hire any employee based on any factor other than merit’ also raises concerns about the impact on athletes at the university. As stated by Sharp, it will now prioritize academic merit as the sole factor in admissions decisions and the university will no longer consider athletic ability as a factor, West expressed.
“As it implements this policy, I’m calling on the A&M System to certify that each athlete who is recruited and given a scholarship to ensure that the scholarship is also based on academic merit,” he added. “Further, ‘merit’ needs to be defined and A&M must now make sure each student admitted meets the definition. While DEI considerations have to go, do legacy admits get to stay?”
Should this policy remain in place, the removal of DEI as a factor in university admissions could result in Texas A&M failing to properly prepare its students for the realities of a country that is growing more diverse, West warned. He urged the university and its chancellor to reconsider their decision and work towards a more diverse and inclusive campus environment.