Activists at U. Texas-Austin Have Driven the DEI Agenda Into Every Corner of the School
“Throughout our analysis, we have found an entrenched bureaucracy with an ever-expanding ideological agenda.”
We recently highlighted a comprehensive report by John Sailer on the destructive nature of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) agenda in higher education and beyond.
Sailer has done a deep dive on this topic, specifically at the University of Texas at Austin. At this school, student activists have taken advantage of a compliant administration to drive this agenda into almost every aspect of campus life.
The National Association of Scholars provides an introduction:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Hangs Its Hat in Texas
A few years ago, “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) was another bureaucratic and academic buzzword, often disparaged by America’s Right and celebrated by its Left. Today it is found everywhere, between boardrooms and classrooms. A new study published today by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), Comprehensive Restructuring, details how DEI has gained influence over vast areas of life at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). The report offers a survey of the most influential policies enacted in the name of DEI.
“The University of Texas at Austin is not the same institution it was just three years ago,” said John Sailer, a Research Fellow at NAS and author of the report. “UT Austin, like many universities, has rolled out new DEI initiatives and has sought to restructure everything from curriculum to faculty training to university recruitment policies. This wholesale restructuring has alienated the institution from the population it serves as the flagship university of Texas.”
Sailer’s new report is just as comprehensive as the last one and shows how student activists were the driving force behind this:
In 2016, student activists at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) issued a letter to the university’s administrators, calling for sweeping changes to university policy in the name of social justice. The letter began:
Amidst growing pressure from university student organizations and campus-wide coalitions around the country led by Black students, universities like Missouri and Yale have become the focal point for student organizing and mobilization pushing for comprehensive restructuring of academic policies to address the institutionalized racism that Black students are facing. We, representatives of the Black community here at UT, want to bring the conversation regarding the failure of universities across the country, including our own, in addressing the needs and grievances of students of color.1
Those students called for a total overhaul. UT Austin has acquiesced, issuing multiple plans to embed “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) into the fabric of the university.
In 2018, in response to the students’ call to action, UT Austin published its “University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.”2 By the next year, it published a series of progress updates on all the facets of the plan, showing how the university had restructured everything from curriculum to faculty training to university recruitment policies. Already, the plan marked a considerable institutional overhaul, infusing the vague priorities of DEI into the mission of the university. The update notes, for example, that the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost had instructed every college and school to create a committee on diversity and inclusion, to embed these priorities at every level of the university’s administration.
But this was only the beginning. In June 2020, students issued another list of demands, and the university’s president was quick to respond with yet another series of promises.
This agenda is political and decidedly left-wing, as Sailer notes:
- UT Austin’s DEI initiatives espouse a clear ideological agenda. Consistently, the initiatives amplify controversial claims about race, gender, oppression, and privilege. Under the banner of DEI, the university has trained faculty and students in “critical race theory,” promoted the thinking of Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, and implemented curricula laden with the watchwords of identity politics, such as “microaggressions,” “systemic racism,” and “intersectionality.”
- The initiatives call for a vast overhaul of curriculum and instruction, guided by an ideologically charged notion of equity. The Dell Medical School has adopted a long list of health equity competencies; many colleges and schools have created new DEI-themed courses, such as “Equity in STEM,” or required DEI materials; and the university has created various layers of DEI training for students and faculty alike.
- The initiatives make a commitment to DEI an effective job requirement for faculty members. The “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity” mandates that each college and school develop mechanisms for evaluating faculty contributions to DEI. The Cockrell School of Engineering revised its promotion and tenure guidelines “to explicitly consider efforts related to DEI in the context of all three of research, teaching, and service.” The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs now incorporates “dimensions of DEI into peer observations.” This marks a huge shift in the basic priorities of the university, tying employment to political goals.
The DEI agenda is tied to Critical Race Theory, gender theory, and every other progressive concept promoted throughout higher education. It is all connected:
UT Austin’s DEI initiatives display a consistent ideological orientation. To many, the term “diversity, equity, and inclusion” might sound like a benign commitment to fairness—DEI offices often encourage this perception, couching their work in bureaucratic language that obscures any substantive or controversial elements. This creates the impression that no reasonable person would disagree with the edicts of a DEI office.
The DEI initiatives at UT Austin, however, frequently espouse controversial political and social views, whether through mandatory training sessions, book groups and administrator-endorsed reading lists, or curriculum guidelines. Consistently, these initiatives prove to amplify, spread, and inculcate controversial claims about race, gender, oppression, and privilege.
Even the medical school has been infused with these policies:
The Dell Medical School provides what is perhaps the most striking example of this ideological agenda pushed forward under the banner of DEI. The medical school’s undergraduate curriculum focuses on “core competencies,” designed to inculcate certain “knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes.”12 In the summer of 2021, the school added an additional competency: “Health Equity.”
The health equity competency, described in detail on the Dell Medical School’s website, dictates that students master a long list of DEI-related concepts and skills.
UT-Austin will be the norm and not the exception within a short time.
This sort of transformation is underway at other schools.
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Academia now selects for *conformity*, not merit – and America suffers the consequences.
Sen. Kennedy questions Bjelkengren, Brookman, Merchant in Judiciary hearing for Federal District Court judgeships
The new outraged right goes for conformity too.
There is a difference between reigning in stupidity and requiring conformity.
I think this article overstates the problem. DEI has its limits, even at the University of Texas. They absolutely refused to change their racist fight song!
Was that because of the kids or the adults? I suspect it wasnt because the adults suddenly sprang a couple of balls and a backbone??
It wasn’t racists. It was set to the tune of “I’ve been working on the Railroad” and because that tune was sung in minstrel shows in the 1800’s, the tune was deemed racist by the idiot outrage police.
And, the “ideiot outrage police” should have been told to shut up and sit down way back then. If people stand up and fight, and stare them down, they will indeed sit down and shut up.
It is like with all the black demands. It’s like way back in the days of segregated admissions, or segregation in general, there were black colleges, some of them darn good ones. Desegregation came, as did the blacks. They started demanding changes to school mascots and songs, and eventually wanted their own housing and their own separate student unions. In short, they segregated themselves. Why not just go to Fisk or Morehouse, or Grambling, or Meherry in the first place if you want to be among “[your] own”?
Nobody should wish Grambling on anybody.
Just for the record for those who didn’t like my comment, I don’t think that the fight song is racist. The comment was meant to be parody. I think the University’s response to the uproar about the fight song was more motivated by money and the realization that the alumni of the university would not be on board with it. It shows where the university administrations true heart is, i.e. not with “equity.”
But working on the railroad was actually a Chinese thing, was it not?
STOP ASIAN HATE!
Verbum dei – word of god (genitive singular)
or dei might be nominative plural, gods.
It’s sad what has happened, and is happening, to Austin. I’m sitting at my desk looking out the window at the UT Tower as I write this. I’ve loved my ~15 years living here, and I found a wonderful wife who was born here and lived here her entire life.
It was always a ‘liberal’ city with plenty of hippies in the music scene and liberals at the university. But it was also always the center of Texas politics which are very conservative at a state level, and a high-tech hub with a focus on business and innovation.
But like everywhere else, the extreme left wing has taken over every facet of day to day life. The city council acts as if they just don’t care what the voters say… the decisions they’ve made piling on debt to build their toy train to nowhere, cutting the police budget by 1/3, etc are going to destroy this place. You get absolutely raped on the school taxes, and then we had to pay for private schooling on top of that because we weren’t going to let the loons indoctrinate our kids.
After years of talking about it, my wife and I are taking the plunge and purchasing property in the Hill Country where we’re going to build our retirement home. The next couple of years will be crazy as we plan and build, and I’m swallowing a knot in my throat making a big financial move like this in times of turmoil… wish us luck!
Kerrville is nice–my parents had many happy years there.
Kinky Friedman ran a losing campaign for mayor of Kerrville. He was hitting Imus for campaign donations anyway.
Has been taken over by liberals
Kerrville WAS nice. Not anymore. It’s an over-urbanized nightmare from Ingram to Center Point.
This is the problem with Texas now. I used to think that living on 5 acres or so outside of Ft. Worth in Weatherford would be ideal. Now it seems everything is urbanized and so full of people, even that far out. I was in law school in Austin in the late 80s and early 90s, and it was getting crowded then. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to get around town now.
You really can’t get around Austin without sitting in your car forever. This city is boxed in by the geography of the escarpment to the west and the river/lake to the south. Couple that with decades of poor decisions re: transportation along with massive population growth and we’re screwed.
Luckily I run my company out of my house, so I sit in my office and look at the city and down on Mopac… poor suckers. My friends all rib me that I never leave my ‘compound.’ They think this place is a ‘compound?’ Wait till they see my new place in the Hill Country 🙂
Paul: I do indeed wish you luck.
Thanks Grizz, I’ve enjoyed reading your comments about your move to the mountains in TN.
I’m not one of those freaky “furry” types, but AM a grizzly in my heart. We need greenery and seasons.
The next couple of years will be crazy as we plan and build, and I’m swallowing a knot in my throat making a big financial move like this in times of turmoil… wish us luck!
you are fortunate to have married a native–she lived in and remembers an austin that is sadly gone forever–we left in ’95 as by that point austin was already headed downhill–not just from the sjw / karen infestation but from the sheer volume of people that were coming / settling there–naisbitt was indeed a prophet
understand the butterflies–normal–but once you get out of there (will actually take a couple of years or so) you will come to wonder why in the hell you waited so long–blue skies and silent nights
I lived in Austin, it’s become a shit show, but you forgot the thousands of homeless in Austin, it’s the SF of the South…
The hill Country is beautiful and populated with conservative like minded people
My husband and I unfortunately sold our beat piece of the hill country a few years ago on Lake Buchanan, but that’s a story for another time. …
Apparently Gov. Abbott doesn’t have the same testicular fortitude that Gov. DeSantis does, otherwise he would have stopped this before it started. (UT-Austin is a publicly funded university, and if it inists on going down this route, then the State of Texas could cut off funds to the university.)
Abbott seems largely oblivious to the culture wars. You’re right, DeSantis is showing the way forward for conservative states to fight this societal rot.
Yep. Exactly correct. The culture war issues are what a growing number of the base wants to see action on. The establishment wing is stuck in 1995. They don’t like wading into the trenches on culture war issues b/c they don’t want to confront their peers across the aisle and really on these issues they don’t agree with us, at least about the solutions. Instead they search for half measures from the start v going for broke and then negotiating to get the best deal politically possible. See amnesty, dreamers, immigration reform.
Abbott isn’t oblivious to the culture wars. He’s just not willing to fight them.
He’s appointed EVERY regent on the boards of EVERY Texas state college. None of them raise even a sniff at the DEI cancer that is destroying those schools. Indeed, Abbott refused to reappoint the ONLY “reform” regent UT has had in recent times (Wallace Hall (Gov. Perry appointee), whose investigations uncovered all sorts of funny business between UT and powerful politicians, and caused the downfall of UT President Bill Powers).
Whether Abbott’s behavior on higher ed is due to simple cowardice or the fact that he’s part of the old Bush Texas GOPe (RINO) machine, it doesn’t really matter. The point that he’s not a leader like DeSantis and never will be. He was a decent Attorney General, but as a governor he’s just minding the store.
It started a LONG time before Abbott, but yes, Abbott is useless
I don’t think DeSantis would stand for the multimillions of illegals running over his boarder, but who really knows. He’s allowed to do so much by his handlers…
My daughter took a summer class in 2005 at UT and her professor was the head of the Social Studies department , he was a militant gay and had them reading his pornographic diary in class and some ridiculous assignments, all geared towards homosexual behavior.
Complaints did nothing…
It was eye opening
They seem fond of teaching theories. How about the cold winters theory?
When referring to this hogwash, why not make it “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity” — DIE. Sending a subliminal message is always good strategy.
I’m sure they saw that in the beginning and switched it.
But your right and the right should use it
Every single time
DIE doctrine is equitable and exclusive.
DIE doctrine under the Pro-Choice ethical religion.
Are the Universities really aqcuiescing or bowing down to pressure or are they just pretending to? Seems to me they are like the green activists and the EPA working in concert with one side suing and other side doling out govt $$.
The student protest are mere pretext for the university admins to implement their DIE agenda. The university admins are filled with DIE ideologues, don’t think they are actually bowing to pressure. The acquiescence is mere pretense.
In the case of UT, it’s sheer cowardice.
When he was the UT business school dean, Jay Hartzell ran a pretty good department. When UT appointed him to be president (replacing former UCal Berkeley president Greg Fenves, who was the original architect of wokeism at UT), many of us thought that perhaps some degree of sanity might be returning to the UT administration.
Wrongo. Turns out Hartzell has a spine of linguini, and seems to be pathologically afraid of offending the wokesters. To avoid offending them, he’s appointed some of their truest true believers to be in charge of the DEI commissars who now have to approve just about everything that happens at UT.
Look at what happened with the Liberty Institute. A group of conservative alumni put together a huge endowment for what was supposed to be UT’s version of the Hoover Institute: it would operate under the UT umbrella, but would be autonomous from the UT adminstration, and would focus on free market and limited government issues. State legislature appropriated the funds to get it off the ground, and all looked well. Then the wokesters yanked Hartzell’s chain, and he dutifully and swiftly caved to their demands, and lobotomized the whole thing.
A number of longtime UT profs I know who used to work with Hartzell in the business school have since quit or retired in disgust. The man is a disgrace.
We don’t call Austin “Moscow on the Colorado” for nothin’, folks. Austin is the home of three public institutions in Texas: UT, the state’s government and the state’s largest mental hospital. They are virtually indistinguishable.