A Texas university released a statement defending the school's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as "a matter of national security" and a part of its "foundational values," Fox News Digital reported.
Ahead of the Supreme Court of the United States' affirmative action case, Rice University in Houston, Texas, released a statement vowing to do everything "within the bounds of the law" to recruit and retain a "widely diverse student body."
According to experts, sometime this year, SCOTUS will likely rule that affirmative action is unlawful. As a result, several colleges across the nation have released statements addressing how they plan to handle the potential change, including Rice University, a private institution with over 8,000 enrollments.
In response to Republican Governor Greg Abbott's directive to public colleges and state agencies to end unlawful DEI hiring practices, Texas A&M announced a ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion statements to comply with the order.
On March 2, the university wrote, "No university or agency in the A&M System will admit any student, nor hire any employee based on any factor other than merit."
Rice University took a different approach, instead doubling down on its DEI-related missions.
In a March 8 email from Rice President Reginald DesRoches, Provost Amy Dittmar, and Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alex Byrd, the Houston school wrote, "Fully tapping and developing the talent of underrepresented students and faculty at American colleges and universities benefits the country socially, economically and culturally. It is also, quite simply, a matter of national security."
"A more diverse faculty also helps to yield critical pedagogical and community advantages: more diverse perspectives in the classroom and in the residential colleges, and a greater range of role models and mentors for all students," it added.
Rice University reported that 32% of its incoming domestic undergraduate students for the class of 2026 identify as an underrepresented minority group.
Incoming undergraduate students are required to take a new general education course that focuses on "analyzing diversity." The curriculum teaches the differences across human societies, how those understandings have adapted over time, and the consequences of those understandings.
Over the past five years, the university has doubled the number of black professors and added a new residential position in the Office of Multicultural Affairs dedicated to LGBT+ affairs.
The university noted that its diversity initiatives are a part of the school's "foundational values" and "underscores everything" it does.
Rice University declined to comment further on the matter, Fox News Digital reported.
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