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The GOP's Regressive Plans To Push Whiteness In Texas Colleges And Universities
The DEI ban was only the beginning. Senator Creighton alluded to banning Black and brown students next, and now Rep. Tepper is taking action.
Last week, when SCOTUS announced that they were ending affirmative action, my mind immediately went to something Senator Brandon Creighton said during the debate to ban DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) on college campuses.
We followed the DEI bill closely as it went through the legislature earlier this year. The bill was about ensuring that fewer Black and brown professors would be hired, even though white people only make up 38% of the population in Texas. They make up 77.1% of college and university professors. Some of the top universities have over 90% white faculty. DEI offices sought to reduce this inequity by hiring more diverse professors.
However, Republicans (especially Brandon Creighton) expressed that hiring Black and brown faculty was unfair to Conservatives.
The DEI ban was passed with the goal of making college faculties more white.
During his debate with Creighton, Senator Borris Miles asked if the DEI bill would also limit Black and brown college admissions. Creighton responded that it would be done after SCOTUS overturned affirmative action, which he anxiously awaited.
Republicans didn’t skip a beat.
The same day the SCOTUS ruling was announced last week, House Rep Carl Tepper filed HB 54, ending all affirmative action practices in Texas.
Currently, Texas colleges and universities demographically look like our state’s population.
Carl Tepper’s bill will likely not move along this special session, but we can expect to see a similar bill at the forefront of Republicans’ 2025 agenda in the 89th Legislature. We know from watching the DEI bill this year, and the CRT ban in 2021, that it will be with the intended goal of making Texas universities more white.
Experts have previously said that the reason our college admissions are reflective of the population in Texas is because of affirmative action. Guaranteeing admission to students from all parts of the state, including high schools that are chiefly Black or Latino, has helped increase geographic and racial diversity in the admissions process.
So, how did we get here?
Edward Blum is behind the Supreme Court decision that made affirmative action unconstitutional in universities across America. Blum is not a student. He’s not a lawyer. He isn’t even the head of some organization. Blum is just a man who has been so committed to ending affirmative action that he’s been at this for the last three decades.
Blum has filed over two dozen lawsuits against affirmative action practices and voting rights legislation. His entire schtick is, “Affirmative action is reverse racism, and we should live in a meritocracy.”
However, if Blum were so concerned about university fairness, he would have gone after legacy admissions first. Because of legacy admissions, no group stands to benefit more from university admission preferences than white people. Almost every elite college gives significant legs up to children of alums, athletes, faculty, and donors (collectively known as ALDCs).
According to data produced by the plaintiffs in this SCOTUS case, Harvard admits 34% of legacy applicants, compared to an overall admissions rate of about 4.6%. About 43% of white students at Harvard are ALDCs.
So, we’re all on the same page. This is not about fairness. This is about white supremacy.
The Abigail Fisher SCOTUS case.
In 2016, Edward Blum found a young woman, Abigail Fisher, to be the face of his then-lawsuit against affirmative action. Fisher sued the University of Texas for being unfairly rejected because she was the “wrong color.”
While students with lower scores than Fisher were accepted into UT, according to ProPublica, only five were Black or Hispanic, but 42 were white. On top of that, 168 Black and Hispanic students with better grades than Fisher were not accepted that year.
Edward Blum knew these facts but chose to omit them during the 2016 case.
Unfortunately, this time, Blum chose to make Asian Americans the face of his latest lawsuit against affirmative action. He decided this time, let’s not pit the whites against the non-white. Instead, let’s pit the minorities against the minorities. And it worked in this 6-3 Ultra Conservative Court.
Although the court decided that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous people were stealing the university spots of white and Asian students, they conveniently ignored trust fund babies. Legacy admission students are the biggest culprits of preferential admissions.
A light at the end of the tunnel.
As Texas has become increasingly diverse, so have our public schools. The demographic makeup of our state’s population is reflected in the student body, fostering a sense of inclusivity and providing opportunities for students from all backgrounds.
Members of our white supremacist government like Brandon Creighton and Carl Tepper are outnumbered already. It’s only a matter of time until racial gerrymandering and voter oppression no longer work in a state as diverse as ours.
It is crucial for us to recognize the forces behind these regressive measures and fight against them. The actions of individuals like Brandon Creighton and Carl Tepper, who champion policies aimed at maintaining white dominance and limiting diversity, highlight the urgent need for advocacy and activism.
We must continue to expose the motivations behind these actions, challenging the false narratives that seek to preserve systemic inequalities.
We can build a future where diversity is embraced, equality is upheld, and the remnants of an unjust past do not hinder the pursuit of fairness. We have a tough road ahead, but with determination and solidarity, we can create lasting change and a more inclusive Texas for generations to come.