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Senator Brandon Creighton: District 4
News Release
March 26, 2024
Contact: Erin Wilson
Senator Brandon Creighton Announces Oversight on Senate Bill 17 Implementation

Austin, TX – Senator Brandon Creighton today announced that he has sent a formal letter to University chancellors and regents, outlining the expectations and oversight processes for the implementation of Senate Bill 17. This pivotal legislation, which came into effect on January 1, 2024, represents the nation's most stringent prohibition on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) mandates within higher education institutions.

"The enactment of SB 17 is a significant step towards ensuring that merit and ability are the sole determinants of success within our higher education institutions," said Senator Creighton. "I am committed to working closely with the Texas colleges and universities to ensure full compliance with this legislation."

Senate Bill 17 returns Texas colleges and universities to a merit-based operational framework, ensuring that every student, faculty, and staff member is afforded equal opportunities and not silenced by DEI-oriented policies.

Key Points from Senator Creighton's Letter:

  • The Senate Committee on Education Interim Hearing: In May, Chancellors and General Counsels from institutions will have the opportunity to present compliance efforts with SB 17 during an interim hearing.
  • Compliance Expectations: The letter emphasizes critical areas of compliance, including the prohibition of DEI offices or officers, the ban on DEI training, adherence to merit-based hiring practices, the exclusion of diversity statements and political oaths in hiring or promotion processes, and preparations for audit compliance by the State Auditor’s Office. Written responses addressing these compliance requirements must be submitted to the committee by May 3, 2024.
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: The letter warns that any attempts to circumvent SB 17’s provisions by merely renaming DEI offices or positions will not be tolerated. The legislation includes strict enforcement measures, including the potential freezing of university funding and legal actions for non-compliance.

“When Texas taxpayer dollars are used to fund offices, departments, or employee positions dedicated to promoting DEI initiatives, rather than basing decisions on merit, that is not only inappropriate, it is inconsistent with state law,” said Creighton. “Now that SB 17 is law, I’m confident that Texas public colleges and universities can return to their core mission of innovation and education— and if they do not, the Texas Senate will be resolute in enforcement of this legislation.”