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UTSA to close Office of Inclusive Excellence in compliance with new DEI law

San Pedro I, UTSA's new building downtown that will host the School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center. It sits along the San Pedro Creek, shown in the bottom right corner of the image.
Josh Peck
San Pedro I sitting along the San Pedro Creek in downtown San Antonio.

The University of Texas at San Antonio announced in an email to staff and students last week that it will close its Office of Inclusive Excellence on Jan. 1 to comply with a new state law.

Senate Bill 17 bans Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or DEI, program and offices at all public universities in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in June. It goes into effect on Jan. 1.

UTSA created the Program, Activity and Initiative Review (PAIR) team earlier this year to collect and review information related to the university's DEI activities.

The Office of Inclusive Excellence will close as a result.

A new office — the Office of Campus and Community Belonging — will take its place and focus on three pillars: ADA and accessibility, campus climate, and community partnership bridges.

All individuals who worked in the Office of Inclusive Excellence will take on new roles with updated responsibilities to support the new office.

The university will work closely with those impacted by the changes to ensure a smooth transition.

“[The] new path ahead upholds the law while still advancing our values to ensure a welcoming, collaborative and supportive environment where all faculty, staff, and students can thrive,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy in the email. "Together, we can continue paving pathways to success while maintaining a welcoming and supportive environment to all."

UTSA’s PAIR team also reviewed more than 300 campus-wide programs related to DEI earlier this year.

It determined that nearly half of all the items reviewed may continue without change or revision.

Only 10% of items reviewed will not be permitted to continue under SB 17.

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