The University of Houston recently halted its decision to close its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and LGBTQ Resource Center, after signs were displayed indicating their closure.
In May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) approved Senate Bill 17, which prohibits prohibits DEI offices and discriminative treatment based on factors such as race, gender, and sexual orientation at public academic institutions. In the wake of this bill, many Texan universities began discontinuing DEI offices and related programs that could be deemed non-compliant.
Nevertheless, the University of Houston is determined to explore alternatives for sustaining its commitment to campus diversity.
University spokesman Shawn Lindsey explained: “The signage outside the DEI and LGBTQ offices was premature and posted without the full consultation and communication process we pride ourselves on. We understand the importance of keeping our community informed and will have details to share in the coming weeks.”
The debate on DEI practices is not unique to Texas. Multiple states, such as Florida and Texas, have already enacted bans on DEI practices. Furthermore, other states, including Iowa, Missouri, and Arizona, are contemplating similar legislative measures.
Highlighting the university’s approach, Lindsey stated, “The UH System is in the process of creating a full implementation plan, which will be presented to the UH System Board of Regents later this month. As the policy takes shape, we will provide clear guidelines and resources to support our community through this transition. We value the academic, social and broader community benefits that arise from diverse campuses and our commitment to our entire university community has not changed.”
Reiterating the university’s commitment, Lindsey emphasized, “We will continue to work with impacted units to ensure compliance while maintaining our focus on student success. Both offices are still operating. The Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has moved suites.”