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University of Houston Closing LGBTQA Resource Center to Comply with Anti-DEI Law

University of Houston Closing LGBTQA Resource Center to Comply with Anti-DEI Law

<p>University of Houston Closing LGBTQA Resource Center to Comply with Anti-DEI Law</p>

The school had earlier posted flyers announcing the closure, only to say a decision had not been made.

The University of Houston announced it is permanently closing its LGBTQA Resource Center and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to comply with Texas Senate Bill 17 which prohibits the expenditure of funds for DEI at public schools in the state. In their place, the university is opening a Center for Diversity and Inclusion which will provide similar programs and be open to all students.

“Earlier this year, the Texas State Legislature passed, and Governor Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 17. This new legislation prohibits public institutions of higher education from maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, and conducting DEI-related trainings, programs, and activities,” Daniel M. Maxwell, interim vice president for student affairs, wrote in an email posted Wednesday to the university website. “In preparation of this law going into effect, student affairs staff and administrators began working this summer in consultation with other departments and offices across campus to ensure that our programs, activities, and services satisfy the requirements of SB17. As a result, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the LGBTQA Resource Center will no longer operate effective August 31, 2023.”

In its place, Maxwell said the university will consolidate support services for all students in a new Center for Student Advocacy and Community.

“This center will make available wide-ranging advocacy, a support network for both undergraduate and graduate students, comprehensive basic needs services and resources, and facilitate a variety of events and programs to foster student success, achievement, and community building,” Maxwell continued, adding the center and its “terrific new programs” would be available to all students.

The university created confusion last week after signs with news of the closure were posted around campus, only to subsequently tell Inside Higher Education a decision had not been made and the signs were prematurely posted. Davis Darusman, who sits on the university’s LGBTQ Alumni Association board, posted a picture of the notice to X-Twitter.

“UH administration had months to come up with a plan, release an official statement and let queer [Cougars] know this was coming around the corner,” Darusman told Inside Higher Education. “But we’re a week out from classes starting and what they get is a piece of paper slapped on a wall.”

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