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The University of Texas fires dozens of staff members amid a state DEI ban.

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Following the statewide prohibition on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in public colleges, the University of Texas at Austin has started to let off a considerable number of staff members—at least 60—who had held roles linked to DEI.

State Senator Brandon Creighton, a Republican, recently emphasized that the state expects adherence to Senate Bill 17, the anti-DEI legislation that was passed in January. The ongoing dispute around programs that promote underrepresented populations in higher education has taken a dramatic turn with UT Austin’s move.

Although the number of posts lost has not been officially announced by the university, it has been confirmed that 40 layoffs took place in the Division of Campus and Community Engagement. President Jay Hartzell has underlined that these terminations, which will take effect in 90 days or more, represent the institution’s response to the shifting legislative situation.

Hartzell underlined the need to reroute funds that were previously allotted to DEI projects in order to give priority to education and research. The current semester’s student support program will not be discontinued, although the restructure has come under fire for its effects on staff and student services.

The Division of Campus and Community Engagement, which was originally called the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, has closed. This serves as a reminder of the larger changes brought about by SB 17. Though all students will continue to get help, worries about how these changes may affect vulnerable student groups in the long run remain.

Faculty and students have bemoaned the loss of safe spaces and necessary services, blaming the university’s actions on excessive legal compliance. Debates concerning the function of DEI programs in higher education and the degree of governmental involvement in academic matters are reflected in this controversy.

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