Scholarships For Minorities Impacted by New Texas DEI Ban

todayJune 18, 2024 18

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Devin Oliver, and her classmate, Aubree Butts, both basketball players at Texas A&M University-Commerce, were tragically killed in a car crash in Paris, Texas. In their memory, a memorial scholarship was established to support Black female athletes.

However, this scholarship, along with 130 others across Texas, is now frozen or being modified due to Senate Bill 17, according to Dallas Morning News. This new law, authored by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, bans diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at public universities.

SB 17 prevents colleges from having programs designed for students of specific races or genders. Although the law focused on diversity training and initiatives, scholarships were not significantly discussed by lawmakers.

The impact has been significant:

  • Texas A&M University: 80 scholarships on hold or being changed.
  • University of Texas: 45 scholarships affected.
  • Other Public Universities: Six scholarships impacted.

Despite private donations funding many of these scholarships, they are being reviewed for compliance. Some, like the Biotechnology Diversity Scholarship at Texas A&M, have been renamed by removing “diversity” from their titles. Others are modifying their criteria to focus on “disadvantaged” students instead of minorities.

Impact on Specific Scholarships:

  • Texas A&M at Commerce: The Devin Oliver and Aubree Butts Memorial Scholarship is on hold.
  • University of Texas at Dallas: Three scholarships, including the Sarah Montgomery Marple-Cantrell Memorial Scholarship for women in engineering, are pending modification.
  • Prairie View A&M University: The Sandra Bland Memorial Scholarship is being reviewed.

Sen. Creighton claims the law saves money by closing DEI programs, but the community mourns the loss of targeted support. As universities navigate these changes, the focus remains on complying with the law while trying to preserve the spirit of the original scholarships.


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