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University of Houston scraps diversity, equity and inclusion statements from hiring practices

The University of Houston system announced it will ditch diversity, equity and inclusion statements from hiring practices after a directive from the governor's office.

The University of Houston system announced the removal of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements from its hiring practices, joining other public universities in Texas to ditch the statements following a directive from the Texas governor.

According to an email sent to the campus community by University of Houston Chancellor Renu Khator, DEI statements or factors will no longer be used in hiring or promotion processes.

"In order to ensure compliance with state and federal law, we will not support or use DEI statements or factors in hiring or promotion anywhere in the University of Houston System," Khator wrote.

Khator also said that the University of Houston System "embraces diversity and understands and believes that it is our responsibility to foster an open, welcoming environment where students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds can collaboratively learn, work and serve." 

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"We will continue to ensure our policies are consistent with state and federal laws, and we stand against any actions or activities which promote discrimination in the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion," Khator wrote.

The announcement comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office said DEI initiatives were illegal and directed all state agencies, including public universities, to end the use of DEI in hiring practices.

Abbott's chief of staff, Gardner Pate, wrote in a February memo that DEI policies have been "manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others."

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"Rather than increasing diversity in the workplace, these DEI initiatives are having the opposite effect and are being advanced in ways that proactively encourage discrimination in the workplace," Pate wrote. "Illegally adding DEI requirements as a screening tool in hiring practices or using DEI as a condition of employment leads to the exclusion and alienation of individuals from the workplace."

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner wrote in a statement opposing the university system's move to scrap DEI statements that it was "extremely disappointing to learn that UH caved to political pressure and will be removing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) from its hiring practices."

"Removing diversity in hiring sends a terrible message that will hurt UH from attracting the culturally rich diverse workforce that helped it become a rising Tier 1 research institution," Turner wrote. "This is yet another act of political theater pushed by the state’s leadership on our agencies and universities that will do nothing but hurt our state."

Other public universities in Texas, including Texas A&M, Texas State, the University of Texas systems and Texas Tech, said they are reviewing their DEI policies after the governor's directive.

The Texas A&M University system announced Thursday it would remove its DEI statements from hiring and admission practices. 

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp instructed all A&M System institutions to review their employment and admission practices and confirm their compliance.

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