New York, NY; January 24, 2023 – A few years ago, “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) was another bureaucratic and academic buzzword, often disparaged by America’s Right and celebrated by its Left. Today it is found everywhere, between boardrooms and classrooms. A new study published today by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), Comprehensive Restructuring, details how DEI has gained influence over vast areas of life at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). The report offers a survey of the most influential policies enacted in the name of DEI.
“The University of Texas at Austin is not the same institution it was just three years ago,” said John Sailer, a Research Fellow at NAS and author of the report. “UT Austin, like many universities, has rolled out new DEI initiatives and has sought to restructure everything from curriculum to faculty training to university recruitment policies. This wholesale restructuring has alienated the institution from the population it serves as the flagship university of Texas.”
Comprehensive Restructuring examines UT Austin’s DEI strategies, including its “Diversity and Inclusion Plan,” its “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity,” and the most recent measure, titled “You Belong Here.” In surveying these, John Sailer notes four key takeaways from UT Austin’s pursuit and administration of DEI:
- UT Austin’s DEI initiatives espouse a clear ideological agenda.
- The initiatives call for a vast overhaul of curriculum and instruction, guided by an ideologically charged notion of equity.
- The initiatives make an overt commitment to DEI an effective job requirement for faculty.
- The initiatives create and feed a large bureaucracy devoted to advancing the vague goals of DEI throughout the university.
The bureaucratic language of DEI obscures the frequent espousal of controversial political and social views. Sailer explains in the report that mandatory training sessions hosted by the university’s Council on Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity trained students and faculty in “critical race theory,” in addition to other sessions encouraging participants to identify “microaggressions,” implicit bias,” and “systemic racism”—all buzzwords that have tedious definitions and theoretical foundations but that are treated as representative of the real world.
“Most worryingly,” Sailer continued, “many job applicants at UT Austin must now expound upon their past and planned contributions to DEI through a diversity statement. In practice, this requirement inevitably functions as a test of political or ideological allegiance. Worse, reviewers for the promotion or tenure of existing faculty must explicitly consider efforts related to the promotion of DEI – ensuring that the skeptical professors remain silent or pay the cost.”
NAS President Peter Wood added, “The illusion of viewpoint diversity is dead at UT Austin. Our report provides little doubt of who runs this university. It is our hope that, armed with the details of Comprehensive Restructuring, the people of Texas and its legislature will take notice and guide the university back to its mission: the pursuit of truth.”
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 www.nas.org.
If you would like more information about this report, please contact Chance Layton at [email protected].