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UT-Austin spends $13.6 million on DEI salaries every year: report

Report comes as Texas lawmakers on verge of approving legislation to ban DEI offices in higher education

The University of Texas at Austin spends more than $13 million annually on diversity, equity and inclusion salaries for nearly 200 employees, according to an investigative report by the Epoch Times.

Citing documents obtained by public records act requests, the Times reported May 20 that Texas’ flagship public institution’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement paid 171 employee salaries totaling some $12.2 million, and another $1.4 million in salaries for 14 associate deans called Coalition of Diversity Equity and Inclusion officers.

The College Fix conducted a similar investigation in 2018, reporting then that UT-Austin employed more than 100 diversity-related employees that cost about $9.5 million in salaries and benefits. With that, UT-Austin’s DEI programming appears to have possibly grown by $4.1 million and roughly 100 employees in the last five years.

“DEI administrators and workers tend to be well-paid at UT Austin,” the Epoch Times reported.

“Documents showed 28 employees making $100,000 or more annually, including 21 [Division of Diversity and Community Engagement] workers and seven diversity coalition officers. Octavio Martinez, senior associate vice president and director for the Hogg Foundation, was the top earner at $341,000, followed by Jenifer Maedgen at $246,000 as a senior vice president of DCE.”

The report comes as Texas lawmakers teeter on the verge of approving legislation, SB 17, to ban DEI offices in higher education.

“On Saturday, the Texas House voted to pass Senate Bill 17, which would prevent public colleges and universities in Texas from having diversity, equity and inclusion offices or policies,” KXAN Austin reported.

But amendments tacked on to the legislation in the house have worried some conservative watchdogs that the bill has lost its teeth.

One approved house amendment allows “DEI employees with jobs eliminated by the bill to take similar paying positions elsewhere within the universities,” the Epoch Times reported.

“That means Texas probably would not see substantial savings from eliminating DEI salaries, and employees who administered DEI could remain within the universities.”

The debate is expected to be hashed out as the bill returns to the senate.

Meanwhile, the University of Texas System suspended the launch of any new diversity, equity and inclusion programs and in late February initiated an investigation into current ones.

Whether Texas follows in Florida’s footsteps remains to be seen. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that outlaws spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public colleges and universities, saying at a news conference the “whole experiment of DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida.”

MORE: University of North Texas, Texas A&M Systems join UT in ‘pause’ of any new DEI initiatives

IMAGE: Kristina Yu / Shutterstock

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.