To the Editor,
Today, Governor Greg Abbott officially signed SB 17 and SB 18 into law. SB 17 by Senator Creighton would ban diversity, equity and inclusion offices at public colleges and universities, while SB 18, also by Creighton, would alter the terms of tenure and change it fundamentally as we once knew it. These pair of bills will have significant impacts on the world of higher education here in Texas for years to come and dismantle our ability to compete with academic institutions all across the country when it comes to attracting tenured professors and diverse students from not just in this state, but across the country.
This afternoon, Texas took two massive steps back in the realm of higher education in the form of these two pieces of legislation. SB 17, which bans DEI, sends a distressing message that Texas, a state which has the largest population of African Americans, is unwilling to confront systemic inequities and provide an inclusive learning environment for all students. By stifling open discussions on race, gender, and social justice, this legislation denies our young minds the opportunity to understand the diverse world they live in and perpetuates the cycle of ignorance and discrimination. Furthermore, SB 18’s assault on tenure erodes the very foundation of higher education in Texas. Tenure has long protected academic freedom, allowing scholars to explore controversial and groundbreaking ideas without fear of reprisal. Ending tenure as we know it undermines the pursuit of knowledge and undermines the intellectual rigor necessary for a thriving society.
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus condemns these regressive measures and stands firmly against any legislation that promotes discrimination, suppresses important conversations, and undermines the rights of educators. We’ll continue to speak truth to power and advocate for equity, justice, and the fundamental principles that make our society stronger. We stand ready to fight for an inclusive Texas, one that cherishes diversity, upholds academic freedom, and ensures equal opportunities for all. Together, we will overcome these challenges and build a brighter future for generations to come.
Chairman Ron Reynolds
Texas Legislative Black Caucus – Missouri City