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Alexander Byrd, the vice provost for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rice University, poses for a portrait on campus in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.

As Texas bans diversity and equity offices at public colleges, Rice University’s inclusion efforts march on

DEI efforts have become a lightning rod for debate in American higher education. At the private Houston university, officials admit impact is hard to measure — but they also see progress from their work.


A weekly staff meeting is held by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
Alexander Byrd, the vice provost for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, meets with Brandy Edmondson, a post doctoral associate, at the MultiCultural Center in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
A student walks through campus at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
Rice University’s MultiCultural Center, which hosts weekly staff meetings for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is seen in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
Alan Russell, the executive director of the Disability Resource Center, speaks with Alexander Byrd, the vice provost for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, during a weekly DEI staff meeting at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
D’Trique Fitzgerald, a freshman, attends a weekly meeting for the RISE Fall Colloquium at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
Catherine Clack, the associate vice provost for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the director of Rice University’s MultiCultural Center, poses or a portrait on campus in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.
Aniyah Johnson, a freshman at Rice University, poses for a portrait on campus in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill that prohibits diversity, equity and inclusion offices in Texas public colleges and universities starting in 2024.

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