Houston Matters

Could proposed DEI bans at public universities have economic consequences?

Houston Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson shares his concerns about the impact such bills could have on efforts to attract business to Texas.


The dome of the Texas State Capitol building.


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Last week, the Texas Senate passed SB 17, a bill that would prohibit diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at public universities. It has not yet passed the House.

The bill's author, State Sen. Brandon Creighton of Conroe, says he's in favor of diversity, but that DEI programs are "exclusive...ineffective...and politically charged."

Critics of the bill, like State Sen. Borris Miles of Houston, say you can't increase diversity "by removing policies and offices that work to promote [it]."

While the merits of the programs themselves are debated by lawmakers, the Houston Chronicle’s Chris Tomlinson offered another argument against SB 17 in his column Monday: an economic one.

In the audio above, he explains how that and other bills could jeopardize efforts to develop, among other things, a hydrogen hub along the Gulf Coast.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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