UT System Board of Regents announce pause on new DEI policies, review of current policies

Vivien Ayers, Senior News Reporters

The University of Texas System Board of Regents announced an active pause on all new diversity, equity and inclusion policies at all system institutions Wednesday in addition to requesting reports on currently implemented policies. 

“To be clear, we welcome, celebrate and strive for diversity on our campuses in our student and our faculty population,” chairman Kevin Eltife said of the policy change during the meeting. “In recent times, certain DEI efforts have strayed from the original intent to now imposing requirements and actions that rightfully so raised the concerns of our policymakers about those efforts on campuses across our entire state.”

The announcement comes a week after Gov. Greg Abbott’s office sent a letter that was obtained by the Texas Tribune to state institutions warning them that the use of DEI policies in hiring practices violates employment laws. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his top legislative priorities list last week where two of the items address banning DEI and critical race theory in higher education. Eltife attributed part of the decision to review current DEI policies to this influx of proposed legislation. 

DEI policies, as defined by the UT System, acknowledge and guarantee equal access and inclusion to all community members regardless of “race, ethnicity and gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance (or) diversity of thought.” According to the UT System, these current policies could potentially be affected by the recently announced pause and review.

“We will await any action from the Legislature for implementation by the (UT) System at the appropriate time,” Eltife said. “If needed, the board may consider a uniform DEI policy for the entire UT System.”

Eltife did not specify in the meeting which current or proposed policies crossed the proverbial line and called a pause and review of all policies out of caution. 

UT-Austin administration declined to comment about the subject.