SSN Commentary

What’s Really at Stake When Colleges Lose Faculty of Color?

Policy field

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The University of Texas at Austin

Originally published in Inside Higher Ed on February 2, 2024.

Across the nation, we continue to see proposed legislation that directly targets higher education and scholars. In the coming months, at least 14 states will grapple with bills that impede faculty members from performing their usual work by, for instance, banning the teaching of certain topics or circumscribing how the faculty goes about hiring and retaining people in their own departments. Such legislation could significantly hinder the work of faculty members as well as their recruitment and retention.

These bills primarily impact faculty of color or those of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Many of them seek to restrict or remove diversity hiring initiatives that work to create a more level playing field for applicants who might not have been previously afforded the same educational, professional development or advancement opportunities due to lack of access to resources and networks.