It has been observed that if California Gov. Gavin Newsom learned that the University of California system included professors and staff who persistently engaged in pushing free-market, merit-based achievement, and pro-capitalism messages, he would shut them down immediately. If he found out that the administrations of state colleges and universities were almost exclusively made up of individuals whose only job is to promulgate theories of American exceptionalism, he would not hesitate to fire them all.
So how is it that state universities in Republican states like Texas persist in allowing taxpayer-funded universities and colleges to continue their war against the principles and ideals of entrepreneurialism and traditional values that have made our country great and Texas prosper? Left-wing thinking and crazy “woke” notions on race and gender are now the norm on virtually every Texas university campus. Students who have a different opinion are censored and, consequently, are too often afraid to speak up. Conservative professors are in constant fear of being identified and exiled.
At the University of Texas and most other Texas institutions, every teaching or administrative job applicant must provide what is known as a “diversity statement” explaining what they have done personally to further “diversity” in their professional career.
Diversity, along with equity and inclusion, are deeply rooted American values that embody our founding belief that all people are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, in the woke world of college campuses, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been twisted into code for an anti-American mindset based on the belief that racism and inequality dominate every aspect of American life including our commerce and culture and certainly the university.
Job applicants on Texas campuses must explain what steps they have taken and will take to make the university “anti-racist.” Job killing climate change policies and wealth redistribution are included under this required anti-racist, anti-American rubric. Guides on writing “diversity statements” warn applicants that saying “I treat all students equally” will be counted against them.
Requiring “diversity statements” means that every applicant must sign a statement affirming their commitment to left-wing Marxist ideology in order to get a job at a Texas college or university.
At Texas A&M University, fully 46 administrators, including deans with six-figure salaries, have the words DEI in their title. The University of Texas and Texas Tech have roughly the same number of DEI administrators. Their job is to ensure that DEI is the framework for all curriculum and programming, keeping campus culture and environment firmly ensconced on the far left fringe. Leadership, merit, personal achievement and discipline are de-emphasized and discredited.
Students learn about identity politics and multi-culturalism with no freedom to challenge the concepts. They are taught to believe that all inequities in America are part of the legacy of slavery and cannot be overcome with on-going efforts to ensure equal access to opportunity. The DEI regime rejects historic civil rights laws and Title IX designed to protect everyone from discrimination, insisting instead on exclusionary efforts in hiring and student recruitment that ignore achievement in favor of preferences based exclusively on factors like race, ethnicity and gender.
When you wonder how the environment on Texas campuses got so far off track, DEI and other left-wing ideologies on college campuses are the answer—and they continue to do it all with funding from Texas taxpayers.
Even more importantly, these colleges and universities also train public school teachers, which is how these distorted ideas, including critical race theory, made it into public school curriculums.
Wokeism has existed for decades on college campuses, but it has now become ubiquitous in every aspect of American life. The root source of wokeism is academia. It must be shut down and to do so will require a comprehensive strategy on several fronts. The accreditation cabal, which insulates campuses against public feedback and change must be drastically reformed. All DEI offices on the campuses of state colleges and universities must be closed and the use of left-wing litmus tests like diversity statements must be stopped. DEI training must also be strictly prohibited.
Instead, our universities must aim to be truly inclusive ensuring that every Texas student can pursue their dreams. Discrimination against any faculty member or student based on their point of view must end. University boards must challenge faculty councils and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom and open inquiry. Legislators (and taxpayers) must hold them accountable when they fail.
While a number of leaders of Texas colleges and universities support these reforms, the woke infrastructure anchored in faculty governance will fight back at every turn. In 2016, the Tennessee Legislature ended DEI at the University of Tennessee—the reforms lasted for about a year. The academic leadership rolled over the new state laws as if they hadn’t passed.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick affirmed earlier this week that he is committed to challenging the forces at Texas academic institutions who suppress freedom of speech and intellectual diversity. It’s time for every Texas legislator to stand up to entrenched DEI and wokeism on Texas college and university campuses. When it comes to higher education, Texas lawmakers need to ask themselves, if the situation were reversed at California colleges, “what would Gavin Newsom do?”