FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2023
Austin, Texas--Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 17 & SB 18 authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) into law–marking a significant milestone for the future of Texas higher education.
“Education is the greatest equalizer in our nation, and Texas is home to world class and innovative colleges and universities. The decisions we make for higher education today determine our Texas of tomorrow, said Sen. Creighton. “Now that these bills are law, institutes of higher education are better equipped to prepare the next generation of leaders, and keep Texas the economic engine of the nation.”
Senate Bill 17 is the most significant ban on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in higher education in the nation. In recent years, DEI offices have grown in size and influence across college campuses requiring political litmus tests, compelled speech and mandatory diversity statements. Despite hundreds of employees and millions of tax dollars, just here in Texas, DEI offices have failed to make progress advancing or increasing diversity.
“With this bold, forward-thinking legislation to eliminate DEI programs, Texas is leading the nation, and ensuring our campuses return to focusing on the strength of diversity and promoting a merit-based approach where individuals are judged on their qualifications, skills, and contributions, said Sen. Creighton. “What sets SB 17 apart from other proposals is that the legislation delivers strong enforcement with mandates to return Texas colleges and universities to their core mission– educate and innovate.”
SB 17 will close DEI offices on the campuses of state-funded colleges and universities and put an end to all activities that discriminate against students based on their race, ethnicity, or gender. The bill also prohibits diversity statements for job applicants at Texas universities and mandatory DEI training for any purpose.
SB 17 affirms the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title VII, Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause, and does not affect any student-led organizations.
Abbott also signed SB 18, Sen. Creighton’s Tenure Reform legislation.
“Guaranteed, lifetime employment is now a thing of the past at Texas public colleges and universities. This legislation will be a model for the rest of the nation, ensuring that Texas students have hard-working professors who focus on quality instruction and groundbreaking innovation, said Sen. Creighton. “The reforms in SB 18 will modernize the costly and antiquated tenure system, opening up a new era of competition and performance in Texas higher education.”
SB 18 increases the frequency and rigor of tenure review, and establishes guidelines for colleges and universities to dismiss underperforming professors.
“I want to thank Lt. Governor Dan Patrick for taking a stand and prioritizing these reforms, Rep. John Kuempel for advancing the bills in the Texas House, and Governor Abbott for his commitment to raising the bar for Texas higher education.” said Creighton