Home » UT Austin students protest school’s DEI layoffs amid state ban

UT Austin students protest school’s DEI layoffs amid state ban

by NBC News

Backlash to the layoffs and changes have been swift. A group of professors with the school’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors sent a letter to Hartzell last week demanding that the job cuts be reversed. The professors argued that the DEI layoffs were discriminatory and violated the employees’ right to freedom of expression. The Texas Legislative Black Caucus condemned the decision and the Texas NAACP released a statement asking for transparency from university officials and more information about the terminations. 

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Faculty members, students and staffers are calling for accountability and a reversal of the firings. Students have consistently spoken out against the shuttering of the programs they said supported them through college life. 

“It’s beyond Black and brown students. It’s also students who have disabilities who are sad. There are students who represent different genders and sexualities who are sad,” graduate student Zion James told NBC News. “Overall, the campus morale is sad. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know where to go, or how to move forward.” 

James lamented losing staff and faculty who he’d come to call mentors and friends. “I feel like I’m being robbed of my family,” he said. 

On April 8, a week after Hartzell’s initial message, at least 100 students gathered for a demonstration on campus with signs like “Not Our Texas,” condemning the DEI changes. At least 500 students, staff, alumni and campus organizations signed a letter demanding transparency from university and state officials on the matter. 

“That there is a very present and active student body of marginalized students who are not just going to sit here and accept these changes that are happening without our buy-in, without our consent, without at least attempted collaboration,” said Amanda Garcia, a member of Texas Students for DEI, 

Texas follows Florida to become the second…

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