“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.DONATE
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