The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has laid off approximately 20 employees and is closing its Office of Campus Resources and Support in compliance with the state’s ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This decision comes following the enactment of SB 17, which prohibits public colleges and universities from maintaining DEI offices and conducting related activities.

UTD President Richard Benson announced in an email to the community that the layoffs and closure would take effect on April 30. The move is seen as a response to the legislation that prohibits DEI activities and programs at public educational institutions.

Similar actions have been taken by other Texas universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, which recently laid off around 60 employees due to the DEI ban.

The decision has been met with criticism from some groups, who argue that the layoffs are discriminatory against employees previously involved in DEI initiatives. Despite reassigned positions, these employees were affected by the layoffs, sparking concerns about potential violations of their rights.

The legislation, SB 17, prohibits DEI-related offices, staff, training, and programs unless explicitly approved by the institution’s general counsel and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

This move reflects a broader trend across the United States, where numerous states have introduced bills aimed at banning DEI initiatives, with some already being enacted into law.