UT Austin Students Protest Dissolution of DEI Positions and Firings

Craig Bannister | April 19, 2024
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On Thursday, roughly two hundred students at the University of Texas in Austin held a rally and disrupted a virtual faculty meeting in protest of the firing of 60 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion related faculty from the university. The virtual meeting, headed by university President Jay Hartzell, was flooded with scores of students with screen backgrounds that included “No DEI = Not Our Texas” in red letters on an all-black background.

Christian Mira, a member of UT Austin’s Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Color Agency, told NBC News that the protest was done “to show them that we want transparency, we want communication from him, we want his support,” in reference to Hartzell.

A post announcing the rally described the purpose of the rally as a “rally in solidarity with those who were abruptly fired from positions formerly associated with DEI.” The rally also featured a number of different speakers, including Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy, Texas State Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D), and the Texas President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Gary Bledsoe. A number of progressive organizations also involved themselves in the rally, including the NAACP, Students for DEI, the Austin Justice Coalition, and Trans Texas.



The firing of the 60 employees in question occurred as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 17, which mandated the shutdown of DEI-related offices and the abolition of diversity statements. The firing was potentially catalyzed as a result of a letter sent by Texas State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R) to the university, warning about the potential consequences of noncompliance with the bill. In addition to the firings, UT Austin also dissolved the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, and redistributed its non-DEI programs and funding to other divisions at the university.

While UT Austin may have put an end to its DEI programs and positions, it appears that its students are not allowing diversity ideology to fade away, just yet.