The office of Governor Greg Abbott is reportedly instructing government agencies in Texas to stop using diversity initiatives to recruit and hire new talent. According to a report from the Texas Tribune, Abbott’s chief of staff Gardner Pate informed state agencies that hiring processes cannot be based on factors “other than merit.” Pate claims that utilizing other measures will ultimately discriminate against certain demographics. However, he did not specify which groups would be discriminated against.
“The innocuous-sounding notion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others,” Pate stated.
Abbott is not the only lawmaker in the state to oppose diversity, equity and inclusion programs in the state of Texas. Earlier this week, State representative Carl Tepper of Lubbock filed a bill to prevent higher education institutions from receiving funding for DEI initiatives.
“We call it division, inequity and indoctrination. The DEI office name is a misnomer,” Tepper told KXAN in Austin.
“We feel like it’s purposely being misused, to push a very woke very liberal agenda. You can have any belief you want, you can have any care about race relations or sexual relations or what have you. But we think that on the state dollar, and the state budget, that these universities, these state departments, departments of the state of Texas, should be neutral.”
Within the state of Texas and around the country, Abbott and Tepper have faced pushback regarding their feelings about DEI initiatives. Recently, Austin-based lawyer Andrew Eckhous told the Texas Tribune that Abbott was purposely “mischaracterizing DEI’s role in employment decisions.”
“Anti-discrimination laws protect all Americans by ensuring that employers do not make hiring decisions based on race, religion, or gender, while DEI initiatives work in tandem with those laws to encourage companies to solicit applications from a wide range of applicants, which is legal and beneficial,” Eckhouse stated.
“The only piece of news in this letter is that Governor Abbott is trying to stop diversity initiatives for the apparent benefit of some unnamed demographic that he refuses to disclose.”