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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Intercultural Network discusses possible effects of state DEI legislation

Ariel+DeSantiago%2FThe+Collegian+NE+student+worker+Julian+Herrera+works+in+the+Intercultural+Network+office+located+in+NSTU+1625A.
Ariel DeSantiago/The Collegian NE student worker Julian Herrera works in the Intercultural Network office located on the bottom floor of NLIB.

KEYLA HOLMES
campus editor
keyla.holmes@my.tccd.edu

Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) on June 14, banning DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) offices at public colleges and universities.

The bill impacts the way public universities allocate money for programs that promote diversity among students and staff. Any preferential treatment shown to students or faculty based on race or ethnicity is no longer acceptable.

SB 17 also bans mandatory diversity training and affects current hiring practices. It is unknown as to how the bill will be implemented at this time.

NE Intercultural Network student engagement and academic success center, Janjura Williams, is hopeful for the future of the Network.

“At this time we’ve been told that it’s (The Intercultural Network) not going to be impacted,” Williams said. “Now as they delineate, and look at what the law really says, that may change in the future.”

According to the TCC website, “The Intercultural Network’s goal is to encourage intercultural awareness, inclusiveness and academic achievement on and off campus.”

SE part-time Intercultural Network employee God Favor said TCC has yet to make an official statement.

“Our department has been preparing for whatever changes may occur,” he said.

Not knowing what direction The Network may be headed in, if any changes are to be made, can be difficult.

SE Intercultural Network coordinator Frank Sheets said, “It’s kind of like an elephant in the room.”

Despite the uncertainty, Williams feels hopeful that TCC will continue to do its best to serve its students.

“Our programs are set up for success,” she said. “That reaches across all ages, genders, socioeconomics, as well as race and ethnicity. We’re Intercultural network so we provide resources for everyone.”

This Fall is NE Kim Okoroafor’s first semester at TCC. Not always having felt comfortable being on other campuses, she appreciates the diversity at NE.

“Walking around TCC, seeing so many people who look like me, who feel comfortable on this campus, is really amazing. I feel a lot more comfortable here than other universities where that’s not a priority.”

Okoroafor feels DEI is important and helpful for everyone.

“We all benefit from it, even if we all aren’t people of color,” she said. “Diversity is so important for everyone to feel included, but also have them feeling like they know about everyone in their environment.”

The value in being in a diverse space was also a sentiment NE student Chelsea Sandoval shared.

“People should have the opportunity to learn about different cultures,” she said.

For Okoroafor, DEI has contributed to her feeling a sense of belonging.

“It’s extremely important because as a Black girl myself I know that it’s so amazing to step onto a university that prioritizes making me feel like I’m a part of something.”

CORRECTION| An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Janjura Williams as an academic success sitter, and incorrectly identified the location of NE Student Activities at NLIB. 

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