‘Pink slip revolution has begun’: University of Texas boots 66 DEI administrators out the door

It’s official.

The Austin American-Statesman confirmed that the University of Texas at Austin laid off at least 66 staff members “who before January had worked in DEI-related positions, as an overcompliance with the state’s ban on diversity, equity and inclusion offices at public universities.”

According to journalist Christopher Rufo, “The ‘pink slip revolution’ has begun.”

As BizPac Review previously reported, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 17 — legislation that bans DEI offices, assignment of DEI duties to employees, DEI training, and DEI statements in hiring — on June 14, 2023. The law affects all publicly-run colleges and universities across the state.

UT Austin President Jay Hartzell announced earlier this month that some positions in support of DEI initiatives would “no longer be supported.”

“Lawmakers from the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and rights advocates are condemning the layoffs,” the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas chapter of the NAACP, joined other activists for a news conference on Wednesday in which he noted that Texas NAACP has a list of 66 confirmed names of people who UT laid off on April 2.

“[B]ut he said the total number of layoffs could be significantly higher,” according to the Statesman.

“UT has not announced how many employees it laid off, and the American-Statesman has confirmed with people with close knowledge of the layoffs that at least 60 employees were axed,” the outlet adds.

“These were not DEI employees,” Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City) stated. “This was a breach of trust.”

“The NAACP also said it confirmed UT lost six programs: the Center for Access and Restorative Engagement, formerly the Center for Equity and Inclusion; the Leadership and Dialogue program, formerly Diversity Education; the Women’s Community Center, formerly the Gender and Sexuality Center; Initiatives for Campus Support, formerly Inclusive Campus Support; Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and the Center for Leadership and Training, formerly Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence,” the Statesman reports.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) wrote the “anti-DEI law,” according to the Statesman. On March 26, he sent a letter to university chancellors “warning them to fully comply with SB 17 ahead of May hearings in which the Senate Education Committee is expected to quiz administrators on how their institutions are following the law.”

“Creighton warned that just renaming offices or titles was ‘unacceptable,'” the Statesman reports.

And UT Austin isn’t the only one ousting DEI staffers.

“On Wednesday, UT-Dallas announced it was closing its Office of Campus Resources and Support, a new office that opened Jan. 1 after SB 17 went into effect, and was laying off about 20 employees, as part of its reevaluation of services,” according to the Statesman. “The school had opened that office ‘to ensure UT Dallas can continue to meet the needs’ of its students in a way that complied with SB 17 after the school closed its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, according to its website.”

“The systemic elimination of important positions because of SB 17 and the Creighton letter is itself an act of First Amendment retaliation and likely discrimination,” Bledsoe said, “and it will only serve to dumb down the university.”

Others on X call it “a good start.”

“Imagine employing 66 activists to ruin your institution,” wrote one user.

“They can all find a job in Biden’s administration,” suggested another. “He’s growing the gov’t. bigly.”

“66 useless administrators,” said a third. “This is why college is expensive. Far too many ‘administrators’ and not enough good teachers.”

“A good start,” echoed one user. “Don’t let off the gas.”


Melissa Fine


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