Conservative news media watchdog attacks SB 17 compliance

Accuracy in Media — a conservative media watchdog — secretly filmed UTD employees in a Feb. 15 video, asking leading questions about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices, which were made illegal by Texas SB 17. Despite controversy around the video, university officials maintain that UTD is SB 17 compliant.

Accuracy in Media’s website says that they use “investigative journalism and aggressive activism” to show the failings of public policy and biases in the media. In recent months, the group went viral for the “Columbia doxxing truck,” a car which traveled around the school’s campus with a screen displaying the names and faces of students who signed a statement supporting Hamas. In the February video, Accuracy in Media argued that UTD and other Texas colleges — University of Houston, Texas A&M, UT Tyler, UNT Dallas and Texas Tech — were still following DEI practices.

In the video, Aimee Howell, Project Coordinator for the Galerstein Community Center, describes the Life Transition Closet, a resource for individuals entering new stages of life. The Closet was originally offered by the Galerstein Gender Center for those going through gender transition but is now marketed as providing clothing for all life transitions, including pregnancy and parenting.

After the release of the February video, the Office of Campus Resource and Support sent out a statement to The Dallas Morning News saying that the Life Transition Closet is SB 17 compliant.

“We are confident that we are fully compliant with the law,” said Katherine Morales, associate vice president of media relations. “We are aware of the video, and we will follow up with our staff to understand what transpired and take further action as needed.”

Yvette Pearson, vice president of OCRS, collaborated with university attorneys to ensure UTD’s compliance with SB 17 by classifying their programs into three distinct categories. The first category consists of programs that must be SB 17 compliant, while the second category includes programs that could achieve SB 17 compliance through certain modifications to sustain their continuation. However, if a program cannot achieve SB 17 compliance even with modifications, it will be unable to continue.

“Working with the first two buckets, we started to build OCRS from the ground up, focusing on serving all members of our campus community while ensuring compliance with SB 17 and UT System policy,” Pearson said

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