Sherry Sylvester

9th Street And Congress

9th & Congress Episode 3: Why Conservatives Win in Texas with Ryan Gravatt

TPPF’s Sherry Sylvester talks with Ryan Gravatt, a pioneering digital strategist who led Texas conservatives into the digital age, regarding what we can expect to see next in the digital communications world of politics and public policy as we edge closer to a presidential campaign year and massive issue battles in Texas from property taxes to parental empowerment.

Ryan is a member of former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s original campaign team and his digital expertise and strategic vision has ensured that the delivery of Texas’ conservative message has always been cutting edge. He launched his firm, Raconteur Media, in 2004, years before the iPhone was released, and he set the bar for website development, social media outreach, email, digital advertising and search engine marketing from the beginning. Ryan is also an award winning expert in developing digital strategies and analytics for audience engagement.

The pair discuss what’s changed in digital communications in the last twenty years – — what conservatives are doing right, what’s going wrong and what’s next.


Is the Texas A&M J School Flap “DEI Hysteria?”

Shortly after the Texas passage of the strongest DEI bill in the nation, Senate Bill 17, Texas A&M decided to revive its long defunct journalism school by hiring Kathleen McElroy. McElroy is a former New York Times writer and head of the University of Texas Journalism School where she describes her primary skill set on her thumbnail profile as “Diversity & Inclusion and Diversity Training.”

Although news reports indicate there was lots of fanfare surrounding her initial appointment, it’s not clear at this point exactly who hired her. A&M’s Board of Regents doesn’t appear to have been involved.

Judging from the play-by-play report McElroy gave to the Texas Tribune, whoever it was has buyer’s remorse. Her tenured position offer was reduced to a non-tenured position, then to a one-year, at-will contract, which she just rejected. She has announced she will remain at the University of Texas where she is a tenured professor.

McElroy reports that she feels “damaged” by what is described as “DEI hysteria” that has overtaken Texas A&M.

It’s not clear why Texas A&M decided to revive its journalism program after getting along fine without it since 2004. Perhaps it was motivated by the fact that the latest Gallup Poll shows that only 7% of Americans have “a great deal of trust” in the media. That clearly sounds like a problem a bunch of smart Aggies should set about to fix.

Still, it’s hard to see how McElroy is the right person for the job. She likes the journalism most Americans have learned not to trust. She told NPR, “We can’t just give people a set of facts anymore. I think we know that and we have to tell our students that. This is not about getting two sides of a story or three sides of a story, if one side is illegitimate. I think now you cannot cover education, you cannot cover criminal justice, you can’t cover all of these institutions without recognizing how all these institutions were built.”

So guess who decides which side of the news story is “illegitimate?”

Her former employers, the New York Times, wrote a short news story about McElroy’s recent issues at A&M, where they decided to “just give people the facts.” They quote a dean who implied the change was motivated by racism, but they also quoted one of her conservative critics, so apparently they did not believe the views of a DEI opponent were “illegitimate.”

It’s also important to note that, although she bills herself as a journalism professor, her comments about “these institutions” closely reflect the stated mission of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education:

“Engaging in ongoing ways to incorporate alternative narratives in the curriculum and provide robust learning opportunities on the history of racism, colonization and conquest on how higher education and other sectors of society have been complicit in maintaining systems of privilege.”

As for the “DEI hysteria” at Texas A&M, when their Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs testified before the Texas House regarding Senate Bill 17, he said there were “pockets of DEI at the university” but the administration was unaware of it.

But A&M’s State of Diversity Report in 2020 insists that “racism, hate speech, safety and belonging issues are evidence of systemic cultural problems that are enduring trends at Texas A&M.”

Whether the “DEI hysterics” are the result of only a few isolated DEI programs or “systemic cultural problems,” it will be hard for anyone to know because McElroy would make sure that only the “legitimate” side of the argument will be reported. Those with “illegitimate” views will be ignored.

Importantly, not one DEI officer who testified against Senate Bill 17 made a case that DEI programs have led to successful academic outcomes for minority and marginalized students. In fact, the data show just the opposite. At Texas A&M, 82% of African Americans reported they felt like they belonged in 2015. By 2020, that percentage had dropped to 55%.

Perhaps that’s because A&M’s multicultural service programs have created racially segregated programs that divide students by identity group, which, among other things, has resulted in racially segregated graduation ceremonies for Asian, African American, Latinx and LGBTQ students.

The journalists who make up the Texas media haven’t reported problems with DEI on any Texas campus, likely because the concerns of critics are viewed as “illegitimate.” Indeed, when McElroy chose to go to the Texas Tribune with her story, she picked a reporter who has described DEI opponents pejoratively as “conservative Texans—from locally elected public school trustees to top state officials—[who] have labeled several books and schools of thought that center the perspectives of people of color as ‘woke’ ideologies that make white children feel guilty for the country’s history of racism.” She didn’t quote any of the critics.

At the same time, without any evidence such as increased minority enrollment, improved grades, graduation rates or job placement, the same reporter writes that: “DEI offices have become a mainstay on college and university campuses across the country for years as schools try to boost faculty diversity and help students from all backgrounds succeed.”

Of course, efforts to help students from all backgrounds succeed on Texas campuses will continue, unimpeded by Senate Bill 17.

Texas A&M may want to reconsider if it really needs a journalism school. Unless it can find someone who believes in reporting all sides of the news, it may want to chalk up the McElroy experience as a bullet dodged and take a pass.


9th & Congress, Episode 2 | Affirmative Action with Dr. Richard Johnson

Sherry Sylvester discusses the Supreme Court’s ruling that America’s colleges and universities could no longer use race as a factor in determining who could be admitted with Dr. Richard Johnson, Director of the Booker T. Washington Institute at Texas Public Policy Foundation.


Texas War to End DEI is Just Beginning

Gov. Greg Abbott signed Texas’ anti-DEI Bill into law on June 14, which should close down so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices on every Texas university campus. But according to Valerie Sansone, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Texas at San Antonio, efforts are already underway to defy the law.

“Conversations of how to push back are being conducted in hushed tones—not in whispers, but not entirely out in the open either,” Sansone said. “We’re not necessarily using our state university emails to communicate about this, Sansone says, “You’ve got to be a little smarter than that.”

Whether or not Ms. Sansone is “a little smarter than that” is an open question, since she chose to share the news of the covert operation with a reporter from Inside Higher Education, a national publication that boosts almost 400,000 subscribers.

Claiming to speak for DEI officers throughout the South, where DEI programs are being scrutinized, Sansone says the fact that so many folks are staying behind despite anti-DEI legislation is a “form of resistance.”

What they are resisting is Texas Senate Bill 17, which states that no program or policy will be allowed on any Texas university campus that “promotes differential treatment or provides special benefits to individuals on the basis of race, color or ethnicity.”

Sansone and her DEI colleagues in “the resistance” are fighting the basic premise of all civil rights legislation and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution—that there should be no differential treatment in America on the basis of race.

According to the Inside Higher Education news story, “DEI Officers Gear Up for Battle in Red States” the DEI crowd describes their enemy as “[university] board members, lawmakers and the voting public.”

Only Texas and Florida (two of the three largest states in the union) have an outright ban on DEI, but nearly 20 other states are considering taking similar steps.

And the battle isn’t just in red states. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) held a debate in April on whether DEI should be abolished. No consensus was reached before the sellout crowd, but there was general agreement that DEI has gone way “off the track.”

For some DEI leaders, the fight isn’t against all voters, just Republicans. Adrianna Kezar, director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of California, suggests that one way to make DEI harder to target is to “disperse” DEI programs throughout academic institutions rather than centralizing it in a single administrative office. She also says renaming DEI to something like Selective Equity Leadership (SEL) can also throw Republicans off the scent.

Like DEI, Selective Equity Leadership doesn’t really mean anything and it certainly doesn’t describe the ideology that fuels “the resistance.” DEI proponents believe that America and all its institutions are racist reflections of a white supremacist culture. In their view, to see it any other way is clearly racism.

That ideological narrative is also “hush, hush.” Instead, throughout the debate over DEI in Texas and in other states, DEI officers misinformed the public and the press, insisting that shutting down DEI programs will harm minority and marginalized students.

But it would be hard to imagine anything that has been more harmful to minority and marginalized students than DEI.

The University of Michigan has the largest DEI program in the country. Its response to current criticism of DEI is to double down on its ideological strategy, with a new Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity officer who says that “’race conscious’ programs continue to be the key” to helping minority students. She says “race neutral” programs will fail. After a decade of DEI at Michigan, the largest university in the state, Michigan still has a student population that is less than 4% black even though African Americans make up 14% of the population.

And in what may be a design flaw, it appears that the more DEI programs do, the unhappier marginalized students are. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “over the past several years, the university [Michigan] has hired more diverse faculty and staff, increased the number of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and incorporated diversity-related material across the curriculum, according to a university analysis, but fewer students reported being satisfied with the campus climate in 2021, compared with those surveyed in 2016.”

These findings were similar to data compiled by Texas A&M which found that the percentage of African American students who felt like they belonged at A&M dropped almost 30 points from 2015 to 2020.

Apparently a constant drumbeat that one is living in a college quagmire of white supremacy and patriarchal tyranny is not a morale booster. Neither are daily assurances that one’s setbacks are the result of oppression and unconscious racism.

Urging minorities to view themselves as victims and others as victimizers is not an education, it is activist training. In the end, it ensures that the only kind of job they will be able to get is working in DEI.

Indeed, a quick visit to the website for the NADOHE shows that their primary objective is to create most positions for DEI officers.

Immediately following the passage of Senate Bill 17, Texas A&M called for a comprehensive review of all DEI programs in what appears to be a serious effort to transform that campus. At the same time, a former DEI advocate for the New York Times was hired to run the journalism school. This is how the anti-DEI resistance will work—like whack-a-mole.

Even before the Texas anti-DEI bill passed, DEI officers in Texas were waving it off as inconsequential, promising to shift staffing to different departments, rename programs and decentralize efforts. The transformation of university health systems, where DEI already has a pernicious stranglehold, is a goal for many DEI advocates.

The Texas anti-DEI bill is the strongest in the country. It includes several layers of oversight as well as empowering the Legislature to withdraw funding if any aspect of the legislation is violated. Still, removing the scourge of DEI from Texas campuses will not be easy. The war against DEI has just begun.

Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

9th Street And Congress

9th & Congress: Dr. Daniel Bonevac on DEI in Higher Ed

TPPF Senior Fellow Sherry Sylvester talks with Dr. Daniel Bonevac, the only University of Texas professor who testified in support of the Texas anti-DEI Bill where he likened DEI to the “campus thought police.” He discusses what it’s like teaching on a Texas campus that has become overwhelmingly woke.


Texas is winning the war against ‘woke’

Gov. Ron DeSantis brags that Florida “is where woke goes to die,” but in the legislative session that just ended, Texas lawmakers passed the strongest legislation in the country to end DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and its ideological framework mandating a belief in systemic racism, non-binary genders and pronoun police, men playing women’s sports, drag shows for children and even Democrat cities defunding the police. Some of the protesters challenged the legislators fighting wokeness, insisting that “woke” is merely a left-wing term meaning “stay aware.”

But even the left-leaning AP Stylebook has been forced to accept that “woke” is conservative shorthand for every crazy idea the left is pushing.

Texas lawmakers attacked those crazy woke ideas starting at their power center—college campuses—by passing the strongest anti-DEI bill in the nation. Texas closed down DEI offices on every state campus, prohibited mandatory DEI training and DEI statements to be hired. They also reined in Democrat cities with the “Death Star” bill that will prohibit city leaders from overriding state law. They blocked men from playing in women’s sports on college campuses and prohibited children from being exposed to drag shows.  Children will also be protected from cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries before they are 18.

new Gallup poll makes it clear that the Texas anti-woke agenda is much bigger than Texas. Most Americans agree with Texans on these issues. The number of people who call themselves social conservatives has increased 8 points in just two years while the number of people who call themselves socially liberal is dropping.

To just look at one issue, support for what is called “trans rights,” which impacts those suffering from gender confusion, is falling. According to Gallup, the number of Americans who oppose transgender men playing in women’s sports has increased to almost 70%, about the same as the percentage of Texans who oppose it. Predictions by the left that “trans rights” would gradually evolve into broader acceptance, like gay rights has, seem to be off base.

The Washington Post reluctantly reports in its own poll that almost 60% of Americans “don’t believe it is even possible” to be any sex other than the sex you were born as.  Similarly, the Texas Polling Project also found that 63% of Texans believe that sex is determined by what is on your birth certificate.

Population data regarding “trans” people are suspect, but, even with all the hype, the Washington Post says only about 0.6% of the population calls themselves “trans.” If you add in those folks who believe they are somehow “non-binary” (some gender other than male or female) that number increases to 1.6%. According to the Washington Post, 2.4% of the population is gay—although the number is much higher among younger people.  As Bill Maher has hilariously pointed out, the number of young people who now say they are gay is escalating so rapidly that the entire population will be gay by 2054.

Interestingly, a Summit poll found that about 69% of Americans attribute the skyrocketing numbers of young people who suddenly believe there are the opposite sex to cultural infusion through the media as well as the influence of big medicine, which produces puberty blockers and sex transition surgical centers. Regardless of the cause, the majority of Americans support Texas legislation that restricts discussions of gender identity and adult sexuality in elementary school classrooms.

Disagreement with so-called “trans” issues isn’t the total reason for the substantial shift toward social conservativism among Americans. Progressives pushing ideas that all American and Texas history is a lie, that white supremacy is ubiquitous and racism is in America’s DNA are another chief cause. So is defunding the police, even as American cities are destroyed by crime.

Ignoring progressive charges of racism and transphobia, Texas lawmakers took on the woke insanity and they won, big time.  The took significant steps to return reason and free speech to our college campuses, protect our children and women sports and help restore safety and vitality to our cities. The numbers in the latest Gallup poll showing an increase in social conservatism makes it clear that Americans across the country would like to see more of the same in their states.

9th Street And Congress

Senate Bill 17 and the Campus Thought Police

Testifying in support of Senate Bill 17, University of Texas at Austin professor Daniel Bonevac told members of the Texas House Higher Ed Committee that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs function as “campus thought police…indoctrinating students and training activists.”

Dr. Bonevac is in a position to know. He’s a tenured professor who has been teaching at UT for more than 40 years. He has seen what DEI has wrought—up close.

He reports that dissent from the DEI orthodoxy is not tolerated on campus and by dissent he means “laughing at the wrong joke, liking the wrong social media post, asking the wrong question in class” — all of which can lead to serious, career-ending consequences.

We have seen these dramas play out across the country. But throughout the debate on Senate Bill 17, the anti-DEI bill by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe and Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin, Texas colleges and universities continued to insist, despite piles of evidence to the contrary, that it wasn’t happening at their institutions.

Texas academic leaders routinely testified that DEI was nothing other than a support program for minority students, veterans and students who are the first in the families to go to college. They ignored video evidence of statements like that of former UT Dean of DEI, Skyller Walkes, screaming at a group of students that “an educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor. Which one will you identify as?”

Walkes left UT to an even higher ranking job at Columbia. After this report came out, her name was removed from UT’s website.

Texas Tech University officials were incredulous when confronted with evidence showing that a biology professor was disqualified from a job there for stating that he treats all his students equally. The head of DEI at Texas Tech announced last week that she is leaving Texas to take a similar job at the Northern Illinois University.

Last month University of Texas Psychology Professor Kirsten Bradbury asked the following question on a test:

Which sociodemographic group is most likely to repeatedly violate the rights of others, in a pattern of behavior that includes violence, deceit, irresponsibility and lack of remorse?

The correct test answer was “wealthy white men.”

Bradbury issued a non-apology. There’s no indication she has suffered any repercussions from the university.

Christopher Rufo found curriculum materials at University of Texas’ College of Communication promoting the idea that “objectivity,” “individualism,” and “worship of the written word” were all “characteristics of white supremacy culture.”

Rufo also found that a professor of educational psychology and African Diaspora Studies teaches that “white supremacy is so pernicious . . . it is responsible for virtually every ill that we see within our communities.”

These and a host of other egregious examples of DEI in action on Texas campuses were all treated by academic leaders as one-offs perpetrated by some rogue professor or administrator. Once evidence to the contrary surfaced, it was usually quickly removed from university websites.

When the Vice President for Diversity and Community and Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin testified on the bill to end DEI in Texas, she was not asked about the DEI doctrine of white supremacy and gender theory. She said DEI programs at UT were focused “on the success of students.” When legislators questioned her about anti-discrimination programs, she didn’t let them know that civil rights, Title VI and Title IX compliance are separate programs and not part of most DEI offices.

When Gov. Greg Abbott demanded that universities stop using diversity statements which require adherence to DEI principles when hiring faculty, Texas A&M quickly renamed their faculty hiring guidelines from Strategies and Tactics to Improve Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE) to simply the Faculty Hiring Handbook. However, the so-called “Berkeley Rubric” from the University of California, which require candidates to be scored based on their diversity statement, was not removed. This means candidates would still be downgraded for using words like merit, color-blind or best-qualified.

At the House Higher Education hearing on DEI, Texas A&M’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs acknowledged that DEI had been “discovered in some pockets of the university,” but he insisted that the administration was unaware of it.

But A&M’s State of Diversity Report released in 2020 details a vast network of DEI programs throughout the A&M system.

The A&M report parrots the credo of DEI, insisting that, “…racism, hate speech, safety, and belonging issues are evidence of systemic, cultural problems and are enduring trends at Texas A&M.” The report concludes that “dismantle[ing] systemic racism” is essential to advancing Texas A&M’s land-grant mission.

It is unlikely that most Texas academic leaders are committed to the basic premise of DEI—that all American institutions (including all colleges and universities) are predominantly racist, whether consciously or not. Instead, it appears that many college administrators have been captured by DEI hucksters and are in too deep to back out now.

To see how these hucksters work, take a look at the website for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Ed (NADOHE). Their mission has nothing to do with student success. Instead, their goal is to create more jobs for diversity officers to do. They see racism everywhere, whether there’s any evidence or not.

Some believe that NADOHE actually foments unrest on campuses so academic administrators will reach out to them for help. You can see how that could happen. As the National Association of Scholars’ John Sailer has documented, the explosion of DEI programs at the University of Texas began after students protested and made demands.

Ironically, NADOHE’s website makes it clear that DEI is little more than a full-employment act for bureaucrats that creates division and resentment on campus and does nothing to help minority students succeed. It is not just the red states that have figured out the truth about DEI. Last month a debate was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) entitled “Should DEI Be Abolished?” Even the side arguing in support of DEI agreed that it has “gone off the track.”

Texas’ passage of Senate Bill 17, the strongest anti-DEI bill in the nation, does not mean that Texans don’t believe racism and sexism still exist and must be challenged. But it does mean an end to the massive and complex network of DEI programs built on the premise that white supremacy and racism are the primary driving force of our academic institutions and American life.

The goal of SB 17 is to end the powerful incentives and career-threatening penalties that are mandated by DEI, and to return Texas campuses to places where free speech, academic freedom and intellectual inquiry are the values that drive the institution.

When Gov. Abbott signs SB 17 into law, we can hope it is the end of the campus thought police.

Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.


TPPF Applauds the Passage of Senate 17 – the Strongest anti-DEI Bill in the Nation

Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation applauded the passage of Senate Bill 17, ending taxpayer support for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. TPPF Distinguished Senior Fellow Sherry Sylvester released the following statement:

“Senate Bill 17, authored by Senator Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe and Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin, is the strongest anti-DEI Bill in the nation.  SB 17 will end Texas taxpayer support of DEI, a political ideology rooted in the premise that white supremacy is the primary force driving every aspect of university and American life.

“SB 17 will close down DEI offices at Texas colleges and universities, end mandatory DEI training and ensure that no job applicant at a state institution of higher education is required to sign a statement affirming their support of any political doctrine in order to be hired.  SB 17 will end the fissures of division that have been created on Texas college and university campuses and help return the principles of open inquiry and free speech to the state’s institutions of higher learning.”


Recapping the 88th Legislative Session with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

As the 88th Legislative Session concludes, Texas Public Policy Foundation Distinguished Senior Fellow Sherry Sylvester will host a live, one-on-one interview with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

They will discuss the various bills passed by the Legislature to advance conservative priorities and ensure that Texas remains a bastion of freedom.

What were the biggest challenges? How will these policies help Texas families? And what work might still need to be addressed in a special session?

Join us to hear the leader of the Texas Senate’s perspective on these questions and more.

9th Street And Congress

What is DEI, really?

The Texas Senate just passed Senate Bill 17, which will require Texas colleges and universities to close their offices dedicated to “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” (DEI).

Senate Bill 17 will also prohibit universities from requiring applicants for teaching and administrative jobs to provide a so-called “diversity statement” that is free of any offensive words like, “merit” and “color-blind.” It also prohibits mandatory DEI training.

Senator Brandon Creighton’s, R-Conroe, leadership on this legislation – a priority for Lt. Governor Dan Patrick – was remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is that DEI offices at Texas colleges and universities, like DEI offices nationally, rarely provide any information on what they actually do.

The truth is buried deep in the website of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. They describe their mission as “engaging in ongoing ways to incorporate alternative narratives in the curriculum and provide robust learning opportunities on the history of racism, colonization, and conquest on how higher education and other sectors of society have been complicit in maintaining systems of privilege.”

DEI officers are working to ensure that every administrator, every faculty member and every student believes these “alternative narratives” which include the notion that America was really founded in 1619 when the first African Americans arrived in Virginia, and that the American Revolution and the Texas Revolution were fought to maintain slavery. The Pilgrims didn’t colonize America for religious liberty, they came here to conquer the native tribes, just like Columbus did two hundred years before. There’s no end to these “alternative narratives,” some of which are linked to a part of our history and some of which are pure fabrications.

Underlying these “alternative narratives” is the bedrock belief of DEI that racism is not an individual act of evil, it is a structural system, geared toward preserving white supremacy.

Higher education is part of this systemic racism, according to DEI’s assessment. So is free-market capitalism, America’s legal system rooted in English common law, medicine, virtually everything American, including our values of achievement, hard-work, equality and independence.

According to DEI, the system is rigged and DEI officers say to “mitigate racism,” they must dismantle all those systems and overthrow those values.

That’s why an applicant for a biology professor job at Texas Tech was disqualified when he said he treated all his students equally. Equality is not a DEI value. Equality under the law, the principle that undergirds all our civil rights legislation, has been replaced in DEI by equity, which is about redistributing resources. That’s why many conservatives draw a direct line from DEI to Marxism.

The bottom line is that DEI advocates believe all white Americans are racist, whether they know it or not. Many non-white Americans can be unconsciously racist too, if they buy into “white values” like hard work, self-reliance and even being on time. Following a schedule, according to DEI advocates, is a white thing.

Viewing the world through that DEI prism creates a new standard of inequality. Students are either privileged perpetrators of white supremacy or victims of it. That’s what DEI teaches.

Texas has a dark history of racism – slavery, brutal reconstruction, the violence of the Jim Crow era and segregation. Every Texas public school student is taught that history so that we will never forget those awful times.

But Texas also has a history of breaking down barriers, especially when it comes to our public schools and universities. The Texas Public Policy Foundation conducted focus groups across the state last year and we found that African Americans and Hispanics do not think of themselves as victims; they think of themselves as Texans. They identify with Texas values of independence and freedom. Those who arrive at Texas universities are proud Texans – perhaps until they are hit with DEI ideology everywhere they turn, insisting that somehow the system is rigged and there’s no way they can win.

That’s why few were surprised by the Texas A&M survey that showed that in 2015, 82% of African Americans felt they belonged at the university. By 2019, after four years of DEI programs, only 55% felt they belonged.

A Baylor University study conducted in 2018 found that having a DEI program at a university had no impact on increasing minority faculty hiring. There’s no evidence that DEI helps increase successful college outcomes for minority and women students, either. And we have almost daily examples of how DEI stifles free speech, with a Stanford Law School dean’s shouting down of a federal judge being the most recent example.

Texas is not the only place where DEI is being scrutinized, and not just by conservatives. Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at Cambridge held a debate entitled “Should DEI be Abolished?” Even those who were defending DEI said it had “gone off the rails.”

Texas college and university budgets and websites reveal that hundreds of DEI officers are employed at Texas institutions of higher learning and Texas taxpayers are spending millions to keep those offices open. The Texas Senate was absolutely right to vote to shut them down. The Texas House and other states should follow their lead.

Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.