American Association of University Professors at The University of Texas at Austin. Join AAUP.

AAUP members are speaking for themselves as private citizens and not on behalf of any group, institution or organization.

Follow us on Twitter @TexasAaup and @aaup_utAustin. For more info, contact Brian Evans at halftoning@juno.com.

How to Testify at the Hearing on Texas SB 17 to Ban DEI

The House Higher Education Committee heard SB 17 on Monday, May 8, 2023, at 8am. Here’s the hearing notice.

SB 17 As Passed by the Senate, April 19, 2023

  • Bans DEI offices, officers, practices, and programs
  • Exceptions include academic courses instruction, student orgs and admissions
  • Employees violating the bill would face discipline, including termination
  • Institutions not in compliance lose one year of State funding

Committee Substitute for SB 17, May 8, 2023

  • Still bans DEI offices, officers, practices, and programs
  • Adds exceptions for federal grants and contracts and accreditation
  • Removes penalties for institutions not in compliance
  • Keep penalties for employees violating the bill

Joint TACT-TxAAUP Statement Against SB 17, May 11, 2023 (TBA)

Why testify on May 8th?

  • Last chance for public testimony on SB 17
  • If the committee approves SB 17, then SB 17 could have a clear path to become law
  • Any changes to SB 17 made by the House Higher Ed Committee could be reversed later on the House floor or in Conference Committee

Testimony presentation options

  • In Person: 2 min. (250-270 words) and have an additional 1 min. ready if allowed -OR-
  • Electronic: submit a testimony online of 3000 characters or less until Monday 8am

Testimony content

  • Start with something like “I’m ____, and I’m speaking for myself as a private individual.  I am testifying [against/for/on] SB 17.  I am also a [professor/staff member/student] in [discipline] at [institution]”.
  • Tell your story; e.g. in your experience, how has DEI on your campus
    • been effective for you and people you know?
    • been effective during the first 18 months of the pandemic?
    • been beneficial to all students?
  • What effect would SB 17’s ban on DEI and its penalties have?
    • Recruiting & retention of students, staff, faculty, and administrators
    • Workforce development — training the next generation of workers
    • Financial impact: Effect on external grants?  These grants are used to train the next generation of workers (workforce development).
    • Quality, prestige, and ranking of public colleges and universities
    • Please see additional talking points next

Talking Points and Resources

Logistics on May 8th:

Here’s example timeline on May 8, 2023:

  •   7:15am Park in Capitol Visitor’s Parking, 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
  •   7:30am Register at the kiosks in the Capitol Extension.
  •   8:00am House Higher Ed Committee hearing starts in E2.010
  •   9:45am House Higher Ed Committee hearing will be suspended until 6pm or 7pm for the House to convene.  While the committee hearing is suspended, you can stay on site (e.g. in the Capitol Grill) or go off site.
  • 6:00pm or 7:00pm House Higher Education Committee resumes and will likely continue past midnight.

Acknowledgement. We’re a collaborative effort among Texas American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Texas Faculty Association (TFA), Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT), Texas Faculty Coalition (TFC), NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Brown Dialogues on Policy, and many other advocacy organizations.

One response to “How to Testify at the Hearing on Texas SB 17 to Ban DEI”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: