Austin students protest attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion
Austin, TX – On Wednesday, April 5, Austin Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) met on Speedway at UT Austin with the Texas Students for DEI Coalition to protest recent Texas legislative and administrative attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. The rally was also called in solidarity with the Tampa 4, a group of University of South Florida SDS members currently facing felony charges after being brutalized and arrested while protesting Florida's attacks on DEI programs.
“While Republican lawmakers like Governor Greg Abbott try to claim that these laws are in the interest of fairness, we know that is a lie. These are targeted attacks against Black, Chicano, Latino, indigenous and all other students who benefit from diversity, equity and inclusion programs,” SDS member Jake Holtzman said in a speech.
He continued, “In late February, the University of Texas Board of Regents put a pause on all new diversity, equity and inclusion programs. It is clear that the board of regents and UT’s top administrators are closely linked to Texas Republican lawmakers. For all we know, they were probably some of the top donors to Governor Greg Abbott’s campaign. UT’s upper administration is not on the side of students, but they are simply doing whatever will line their pockets with more money and keep people like Greg Abbott in power.”
Student speakers also emphasized the need to struggle for more than only protection of DEI programs, and are further demanding that the university hire more Black and Chicano faculty and increase funding to multicultural programs.
After speaking to students making their way on the busy street, members of SDS marched up and down Speedway chanting, “No hate, no fear, DEI is welcome here” and “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Greg Abbott go away!” while passing out flyers calling for justice for the Tampa 4.