Anti-Discrimination Bill Passes Texas Legislature

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; May 31, 2023—Earlier this week, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) one of the strongest anti- diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bills in the nation. The bill was authored and sponsored by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) in the Senate and sponsored by Representative John Kuempel (R-Seguin) in the House. SB 17 has the support of the National Association of Scholars, along with many other organizations fighting for equality in America’s colleges and universities.

“Through one bill, the Texas legislature has offered the state’s citizens a freer future,” said NAS President Peter W. Wood. “SB 17 will fundamentally change the way Texas’s colleges and universities operate, by eliminating DEI offices and ensuring that no student, professor, or staff is admitted or hired based on the political litmus tests called ‘diversity statements.’”

SB 17 offers broad reforms for higher education in Texas. The bill shuts down DEI offices, ends mandatory training for students and staff in DEI, and prohibits diversity statements in hiring. Moreover, SB 17 does all of this while protecting the academic freedom of students and professors, ensuring that they may continue to publish and speak about DEI without fear of retribution.

Wood continued: “While many states have proposed anti-DEI legislation, few have managed to walk the fine line between the need to end public funding of divisive programs and the need to provide First Amendment protections. The bill’s sponsors were able to walk that line by providing a robust definition of DEI so that discriminatory actions of DEI offices cannot continue under another name.”

SB 17 also provides an enforcement mechanism by imposing financial penalties on universities that violate the law and denying future funding increases. The bill also allows students and employees to sue their institutions if they’re subject to mandatory DEI training or courses.

“Enforcement is vital for any education reform bill,” explained Wood. “As our very own Senior Fellow John Sailer discovered earlier this year at Texas Tech University, diversity statements are often hidden from the public and weigh heavily on an applicant’s success.”

“The National Association of Scholars looks forward to SB 17’s entry onto the statute book and enforcement, and hopes to see legislative action against DEI discrimination in other states,” finished Wood.

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at


If you would like more information about this issue or about the National Association of Scholars, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].

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