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UTSA reverses decision to replace Office of Inclusive Excellence over Texas anti-DEI law

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy speaking at the San Pedro I unveiling event behind a podium with the UTSA seal on it.
Josh Peck
UTSA President Taylor Eighmy speaks at the San Pedro I unveiling ceremony.

The University of Texas at San Antonio has reversed its decision to replace its Office of Inclusive Excellence with an Office of Campus and Community Belonging that was set to open on Jan. 1.

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy announced the reversal in an email to the campus community on Tuesday.

“After continued and considered evaluation, we decided not to launch the new office,” his statement said. “Given our evolving understanding of [Senate Bill] 17, as well as continuing voluntary changes in staffing and personnel reappointments from that office, it no longer made sense to launch the new office.”

Eighmy had announced the closure of the Office of Inclusive Excellence and opening of the Office of Campus and Community Belonging in early December. The Office of Inclusive Excellence was closing, he said at the time, because it conflicted with the recently passed SB 17 in the Texas legislature, which bans diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at public colleges and universities in the state.

That original statement said the Office of Campus and Community Belonging would focus on ADA and accessibility, campus climate, and community partnership bridges, and that it would retain all the former staff from the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

The Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez
The Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

UTSA did not respond to TPR’s request for comment about how many staff have been affected by the decision not to open the new office or about whether they would be retained at the university.

In Eighmy’s statement on Tuesday, he said other offices would carry out the goals of the Office of Campus and Community Belonging.

“Instead, we will leverage the strong capabilities of our existing offices and divisions to realign ADA and disability services, campus climate and community engagement activities across various institutional divisions,” he added. “This integrated approach is more efficient as we continue to serve our campus community.”

The announcement and then reversal of the opening of a new office in light of the anti-DEI measure demonstrates how public colleges and universities around the state are handling implementation of the new bill.

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