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The University Star




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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

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DEI statements eliminated from TSUS hiring processes

dei
dei

On March 2, Texas State University System (TSUS) Chancellor Brian McCall sent out a letter stating that all TSUS campuses must remove all diversity statements from the hiring process, effective immediately. The letter was in conjunction with Gov. Greg Abbott’s requirement that all public universities must remove diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements.
The letter, which was sent to Texas State, Lamar University, Sam Houston State and other TSUS schools, listed four immediate changes that campuses had to make including eliminating a diversity statement for hiring processes, removing language involving DEI and continuously reviewing webpages and hiring policies to ensure that no DEI language is mentioned.
One of the main changes is the change in hiring processes, which according to Texas State President Kelly Damphousse, will involve removing any sort of questions surrounding diversity to applicants such as their beliefs and commitments to upholding diverse values in the workplace.
“What is being changed is any requirement asking applicants to describe their philosophy about diversity, which I think is fair to ask how relevant that is for a job application,” Damphousse said. “We removed those requirements from job applications so that people aren’t required to answer what would basically be a question about their commitment to diversity.”
Under the DEI removal, all public universities in the state are required to not hire people based on anything else other than merit.
“We’re proud that we think we can hire great people without that single question on there. We still have information on there about our belief in equity at the university and how it’s an important value to us,” Damphousse said.
This sentiment of merit is not felt around campus, as some feel that this removal is an attempt to silence certain demographics with the excuse of fairness.
“I feel like it’s kind of silencing. Because to me, I feel they’re looking for a specific set of people, they’re trying to cater their business to certain people who want to work for them,” Ifeoluwa Cole, a health sciences junior, said.
A diversity statement can also be a chance for prospective employees to set themselves apart from other applicants, but with this removal, those opportunities diminish.
Diversity statements can also define the skills that prospective employees can provide to an employer and how their backgrounds lead to their development.
“The purpose of diversity statements is to allow a person to share aspects of their background that have contributed to their skills and explain how they can apply their skills and experience to a position,” Ayanni Cartagena, a health sciences freshman said. “Getting rid of it could prevent people from being able to share how aspects of their personal identity enable them to bring something to the table.”
Since this change is recent, its effects on the Texas State hiring process are not completely clear as of now, but Damphousse feels that in terms of qualified employees being hired, there will not be a change.
“We get great people training for our jobs and the faculty and staff who are doing the recruiting still have the ability to ask people about their qualifications for the job; that won’t stop,” Damphousse said.
The Texas State Division of Inclusive Excellence, which works to provide equity and diversity to the university community, did not comment on the removal of diversity language and its possible effects on the division.
Texas State has many clubs and organizations that have DEI goals at their forefront which is the direct language that is being barred under the removal.
“I’m Nigerian and we have a club on campus that caters to not just Nigerian students but African Americans too. There’s different clubs around campus that help cater to different students,” Cole said.
Clubs that involve diversity at Texas State seem to not be at risk with this change in hiring vocabulary according to Damphousse as the removal only targets the hiring process right now.
With some clubs requiring interviews or applications, there are fears that the removal of diversity statements can reach these clubs impacting both the organizations themselves and the applicants.
“I know that with some clubs on campus you need to be interviewed or send an application in order to join,” Cartagena said. “Once again, I feel like if people aren’t given the option to provide a diversity statement it could prevent them from being able to share anecdotes about themselves that could reflect in their ability to fulfill a role.”
Texas State’s diversity and inclusion policy statement, which promotes seeking diversity, inclusion and mutual respect even beyond the hiring process, still stands.
“I think diversity is important in a university setting because it kind of teaches everyone to accept each other because I feel like in a space where there’s not enough diversity, a lot of people tend to be excluded,” Cole said.

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