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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The Great Renaming: Adios to DEI, hello to 'Belonging' bureaucrats

Is DEI dead -- or just disrupted? Texas' state colleges and universities were forced to close diversity, equity and inclusion offices and programs on Jan. 1, reports Lily Kepner in the Austin American-Statesman.

It's a rose-by-any-other-name scenario, writes Jordan Boyd on The Federalist.

University of Texas -Austin mascot Bevo takes the field.

Colleges must comply with Senate Bill 17 or lose funding, she writes. They can't "hire someone based on their sex, race, or ethnicity or require faculty applicants to submit a 'diversity statement' or promote preferential group treatment.

But they can rename DEI offices, retain all the staff and reframe old initiative as "belonging."

University of Texas in Austin announced it was “halting” all DEI policies but Jay Hartzell, the president, said the flagship university will continue its "commitment to attracting, supporting and retaining exceptionally talented staff, faculty and students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and fostering and celebrating diversity across our community.”

The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement will rebrand as the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, reports Boyd. The business school's "Outreach & Inclusion" director has been renamed “Outreach & Scholarships.”

At University of Texas at San Antonio, the Office of Inclusive Excellence will become the Office of Campus and Community Belonging, said the president in a statement.  

The University of Houston Downtown renamed its DEI office the Center for Student Advocacy & Belonging.

On Free Press, Oliver Wiseman is looking for ideas on new names for old DEI offices.

"Belonging" seems to be the popular replacement for "inclusion," but how should "diversity" and "equity" be reframed?

Fire the speech monitors, writes Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. "These assistant deans, DEI consultants, sensitivity readers, and disinformation 'experts' enforced speech taboos that changed too quickly to be fully grasped."

. . . campus bureaucrats at selective colleges have sought for years to police “microaggressions,” to create “safe spaces,” to stigmatize speech that undermines subjective feelings of “belonging” on campus, and to define what is permissible by invoking the experience of the offended rather than objective standards.

But not for the Jews.

Rather than adding Jews to the list of protected groups, colleges should eliminate the list, Friedersdorf argues. Return to the old free-speech norms.

DEI is very unpopular with traditional Democrats, writes Ruy Teixeira on Liberal Patriot. "Most voters, especially working-class voters, think racial preferences are not fair and fairness is a fundamental part of their world outlook."

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