Editor's note: The following article first appeared in City Journal.
The University of Texas has created a radical DEI bureaucracy that equates "objectivity" with "white supremacy," recommends the word "wimmin" as a replacement for "women," and affirms "polyamory" and "polyfidelity" as positive sexual identities.
I have obtained a cache of documents through public-records requests revealing the DEI bureaucracy’s stunning conquest of Texas’s flagship state university.
The transformation began in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots, when university officials adopted the narrative of critical race theory, arguing that America was saturated with "white supremacy." During this period, UT’s College of Communication promoted the idea that "objectivity," "individualism," and "worship of the written word" were all "characteristics of white supremacy culture." The Department of History promoted the idea that academic research archives—the staidest domain imaginable—were in fact rife with "white supremacy," which the university must "dismantle." As a professor of educational psychology and African and African Diaspora Studies explained, "white supremacy is so pernicious . . . it is responsible for virtually every ill that we see within our communities."
This narrative justified a massive expansion of "diversity, equity, and inclusion" programming. The university’s DEI bureaucracy has now embedded itself within virtually every administrative and academic unit. These programs employ dozens of full-time staff and organize hundreds of seminars, trainings, courses, reports, student groups, and political activism.
One example is the university’s Multicultural Engagement Center. The MEC manages racially segregated student groups, hosts workshops on "social justice" activism, and explicitly trains students to "be the agents of social change," as opposed to dispassionate and careful scholars. The program’s workshops follow the basic narrative of critical race theory: America is a nation defined by "systemic inequities," one that accrues "social benefits that some people have because of their identities," and in which minorities endure a constant barrage of "microaggressions," "microinsults," "microassaults," and "microinvalidations."
For the MEC, identity is the foundation of politics. The program’s workshop series begins by focusing students on their identities and categorizing them along the axis of oppressor and oppressed. In the "Power and Privilege" training, MEC administers a "Privilege Self-Assessment," which includes checkboxes about race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
According to intersectionality theory, "dominant group[s]"—that is, white, straight, cis-gender (identifying as the sex one is born as), male, Christians—occupy the oppressor role, and, consequently, must work to "equalize power." To that end, the MEC proposes a series of "action steps," in which students are instructed to "acknowledge whatever privilege [they] have," "be an ally for those who do not have privilege," and work on "undermining the system of oppression and privilege that hurts all of us."
The ultimate goal of the program is political activism. The MEC directly instructs students to "lobby, organize, campaign, protest, recognize, and act against both external and internal forms of oppression and privilege"—in other words, to use the publicly funded university system as a base for partisan, left-wing advocacy.
The other primary ideological line for the university’s DEI bureaucracy is radical gender theory. The Gender and Sexuality Center is the center for the perpetuation of queer theory and transgender activism on campus. The GSC manages several student groups and activist programs, which promote the narrative that American society is overrun with "systematic, institutional, pervasive, intentional (or subconscious), and routine mistreatment" of women and sexual minorities.
The sexuality training seminars begin with a "land acknowledgement," implying that European whites are illegitimate colonizers on land "traditionally inhabited by Comanche, Coahuiltecan, Apache, Tonkawa, [and] Mexica" tribal populations. As with race, the university promotes the idea that straight, heterosexual students must atone for their "cisgender privilege" and "heterosexual privilege." On the other hand, following the logic of intersectionality, administrators promote the adoption and automatic affirmation of anti-normative sexual identities such as "non-binary," "pansexual," "asexual," "queer," "transgender," and "two-spirit"—all of which offer an avenue for sexual liberation.
Following the ideology of queer theory, the GSC wants to "break the binary" between man and woman. The university recommends against using terms such as "ladies," "gentlemen," "boys," and "girls" in favor of genderless language and neologisms, such as "babefriend" and "datefriend." In addition, UT provides a guidebook for the use of pseudo-pronouns, such as "they/them" and "ze/zir," and instructs students to "apologize right away" if they violate usage rules. If not, administrators note, students could be found in violation of the official non-discrimination policy, with potentially severe consequences.
Finally, the GSC has published guidebooks on sexuality, including materials affirming the practices of "asexuality" and "polyamory." In a document titled "Affirming Asexuality," the university explains that "unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are." Students are instructed that they may be "gray-sexuals," who "experience sexual attraction infrequently," or even "demisexuals," who can "experience sexual attraction only after developing a close emotional bond with someone."
The GSC also promotes "polyamory" and "polyfidelity," which the university describes, respectively, as "the practice of loving multiple people simultaneously" and as "a group in which all partners are primary to all other partners and sexual fidelity is to the group." These anti-normative sexualities are presented as glamorous and progressive, with the university offering students resources on "coming out" as polyamorous and navigating "multiple-partner relationships and families." The GSC includes a recommendation for practicing "pagan polyamory" and connects students to a local polyamory organization that advertises a "kink based social networking site" and "live performances about sexuality."
The University of Texas at Austin is wasting untold millions on race and gender narcissism. Its DEI bureaucracy has embraced every fashionable left-wing delusion, from pseudoscientific concepts such as "post-traumatic slave syndrome" to preposterous language substitutions like "wimmin," which the university recommends in place of "women," so that students and faculty can "avoid the word ending ‘-men.’"
Texas voters, who reliably send conservatives to the state legislature in Austin, should not have to subsidize these left-wing programs, which add nothing to scholarship and, in fact, undermine the culture required for the pursuit of truth. University DEI bureaucrats do not facilitate the production of rigorous academic work; they enforce ideological orthodoxies and encourage students to engage in partisan activism.
Texas legislators have noted the progression of ideological capture and are currently considering reforms, including a bill that would eliminate the public university system’s entire DEI bureaucracy. This should be the minimum. Conservative lawmakers should stop writing blank checks for on-campus activism and seize the opportunity to restore the principles of classical liberal education to the UT system.
The university will no doubt cry "academic freedom," but legislators should remember that DEI employees are not acting as private citizens with robust free speech rights; they are acting in their capacity as publicly funded bureaucrats, subject to legislative oversight and reform. Texas legislators should not hesitate in stripping all public funding from these programs.