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Unexpected layoffs and closure of DCCE sparks reaction from UT staff and students after SB17 – Austin American-Statesma



Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

The University of Texas recently announced the closure of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, previously known as the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. This decision has left dozens of employees who served in diversity, equity, and inclusion-related positions facing the loss of their jobs within 90 days or more.

The changes were made in response to Senate Bill 17, a new anti-DEI law that came into effect on January 1. The remaining programs of the division will be transferred to other departments where they will complement existing services.

Critics have called on UT to reinstate the eliminated positions and programs and to be more transparent about the layoffs. A staff member of the Campus and Community Engagement Division expressed hurt and sadness about the closures, emphasizing the impact on programs that supported Black, Hispanic, and female students.

UT has listed 19 of the division’s programs that have been relocated to other divisions, including the Sweatt Center, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, and Disability and Access. Students and community members have reacted with anger, shock, and determination to support affected staff members and move forward.

The programs at the division were described as essential for bolstering graduation rates and retention on campus for marginalized students. This loss comes on the heels of the closure of the Multicultural Engagement Center, the end of a program supporting undocumented students, and cuts to the sponsorship of MEC agencies.

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The future remains uncertain for those impacted by the closure of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, but efforts are underway to support staff members and ensure the continued support of marginalized students on campus.

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