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DEI Swallows Texas A&M
The university has adopted radical politics in order to “dismantle systemic racism.”
This is the second story in my investigative series exposing the DEI bureaucracy in Texas’s public universities. Share the story and subscribe to get the latest updates.
Texas A&M is a systematically racist institution. According to whom? According to the leadership of Texas A&M.
In recent years, the College Station-based public university, originally founded with a focus on agriculture and engineering, has built a vast “diversity, equity, and inclusion” bureaucracy that has adopted the narrative of left-wing racialism, segregated students by race, and told colleagues to “stop centering whiteness.”
I have obtained a collection of documents through public-records requests that reveal this stunning process of ideological capture. According to these materials, virtually every academic and administrative unit at Texas A&M has adopted the politics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and pushed radical and discriminatory measures to promote “social justice.”
The transformation of the university hit full speed following the death of George Floyd in 2020. As with many American institutions, the leadership at Texas A&M immediately adopted the narrative of critical race theory, which castigates the United States as a systemically racist nation and advocates for “anti-racist discrimination” in order to equalize outcomes.
“Racism, hate speech, safety, and belonging issues are evidence of systemic, cultural problems that are enduring trends at Texas A&M,” the university claimed in a report published that summer. “Texas A&M’s disparities in student success and representation of historically underrepresented groups of students, faculty, and staff may be attributable to systemic, racist, and discriminatory practices in higher education and society.”
The report promoted the views of left-wing racial theorist Robin DiAngelo. Quoting from her book White Fragility, it argued that “the default of the current system is the reproduction of racial inequality” and that “bringing racism to white people’s attention” would require administrators to move beyond “niceness.” The ultimate solution, university officials said, was to “dismantle systemic racism to advance Texas A&M’s land-grant mission.”
The new DEI orthodoxy has been replicated throughout the system, with administrators placing heavy-handed “diversity accountability” requirements on all departments—not only in the humanities but also in hard sciences such as agriculture, engineering, and medicine.
The priorities are both ideological and administrative. A&M’s departments aggressively promote DEI ideology through trainings, programs, lectures, reports, committees, and multimedia, involving hundreds of faculty and staff.
The content of these programs is unadulterated left-wing activism. The School of Dentistry, for example, hosted a guest lecture by University of Texas professor emeritus Robert Jensen, who told the audience that the United States is “appropriately called a white supremacist society.” The School of Veterinary Medicine promoted a “21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge” so that white students could address their “white privilege” and “white fragility.” The College of Geosciences promised to “embed discussion of DEI and anti-racism throughout the undergraduate curriculum.” And within the College of Arts and Science, the sociology department was tasked with implementing a “land acknowledgement statement,” the history department received funding to develop “anti-racist and inclusive pedagogies,” and the English department was asked to develop a “Black Lives Matter special topics course.”
Administratively, the new DEI orthodoxy has resulted in a policy of widespread racial discrimination and segregation. The leadership has made it clear that administrators should pursue “structural diversity,” in which the demographics of the university become “representative of the demographic diversity of the State of Texas.”
To achieve this objective at the faculty level, A&M has created a hiring process that effectively discriminates on the basis of race and sexuality. In its official Handbook for Faculty Search Committee Members, the university has stated that “all members of a search committee should be advocates for diversity” and instructs committees to “take steps that are likely to increase the number of semi-finalists and finalists from groups that are underrepresented in your department,” such as including DEI activists in the hiring process and soliciting DEI statements from potential faculty.
Entire programs are designed to reward faculty on the basis of identity rather than merit. The ADVANCE Scholars Program, which provides mentorship and advancement opportunities, is restricted to “first-generation college graduate[s]” and “historically underrepresented groups”—a euphemism for demographic favoritism. The Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Faculty Fellows Program, which offers a pipeline for tenure-track professorships, is also discriminatory. The language is evasive and euphemistic, cloaking identity-based discrimination as a commitment to “building a culturally diverse educational environment” and measuring applicants on their “commitment to diversity,” but the intent appears to be to create set-asides for racial and sexual minorities.
The admissions process for students follows a similar pattern. The university has laid out specific racial quotas, such as maintaining a minimum of 25 percent “Hispanic/Latinx” enrollment. To achieve these demographic targets, admissions officers have adopted “affirmative action” and “holistic admissions” processes, which, in practice, tilt the scales in favor of “historically underrepresented groups.”
A&M has even created racially segregated programs that divide students by identity group. Each year, the Multicultural Services program, for example, organizes racially segregated graduation ceremonies, with separate programs for Asian, African American, and “Latinx” students—all in the name of “spread[ing] the value of inclusivity.”
The final goal of A&M’s DEI programs is left-wing activism. The materials from the Office of Diversity are explicitly partisan and political. In one presentation on DEI-centered marketing last year, DEI officials made it clear that their goal was to promote “critical race theory,” “intersectional feminism,” “decolonizing practices,” and social movements such as Black Lives Matter. They maligned Texas’s Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz as illustrations of “systemic racism” and highlighted inflammatory social media content instructing readers to “stop centering whiteness.” Overall, they said, their role was to “[take] a progressive stand on issues of social justice.”
The obvious question: Why are Texas voters subsidizing this process of ideological capture? Texas A&M might be best known for football and agricultural science, but under the surface, administrators have displaced the pursuit of truth with the pursuit of left-wing activism—and they are openly hostile to the state’s political leaders and cultural values.
Legislators can reverse this process, however. The Texas House is currently considering legislation that has already passed the Senate, SB 17, that would eliminate the DEI bureaucracy at Texas A&M and other state universities. They would be wise to pass it. Otherwise, they will further compromise the principle of colorblind equality and allow the forces of racial discrimination and segregation to entrench themselves more deeply in the public university system.
Originally published in City Journal.
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