The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Division of DEI Ends; New Division of GCFGI Begins

Same Place: New Mission

On August 16, the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) accepted revisions to their policy which pertains to offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This is following the last session of the 88th legislature of the Texas Senate that was proposed by Texas Governor, Greg Abbott. The Senate Bill 17 (SB17) was passed, which eliminates the use of offices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher-level Public Institutions. 

As such, Tarleton State, being a part of TAMUS, has since removed the division, and reassigned staff in compliance with both the new policy of TAMUS and the law since the SB17 has been in place. 

So, Tarleton State no longer has a DEI division, however in compliance with the law, Tarleton has created a new division for helping the Tarleton State faculty and student body, the Division of Global, Community, and First-Gen Initiatives (GCFGI). 

The GCFGI, though only just getting its start this past summer, is already aiming to accomplish so much for the improvement of not just Tarleton State, but for everyone all around no matter how close and no matter how far. They also hope to better ease the transition for all students coming into college, with a focus on first-gen students. First-gen students can be successful at Tarleton State, and there are no barriers for anyone. 

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“It is important to us that we have a focus on students who are navigating this, whether if they are first-gen or first to country, navigating a system they are completely unfamiliar with,” stated Vice-President of GCFGI, Dr. Sherri Benn. 

Community is an important topic, not just in this division’s mind, but in Tarleton State in all. With campuses in Stephenville, Waco, Fort Worth, and Bryan. It is an important value that Tarleton State participates in the surrounding community, helping our close societies, and connecting with people.  

“It is our civic responsibility to give back, so when you’re in a community you’re not just using the resources but saying ‘we are a part of this community too, and here is our contribution to the community,’” Dr. Benn continues.  

Global Connection is the final value of the GCFGI purpose, and the GCFGI hopes to prepare students to serve, work, and lead in a global economy and a transnational workforce. The GCFGI creates opportunities for international students to interact with domestic students, and for all students to study abroad and interact with the global world. Tarleton State has a global passport program to help students easily receive their passports. 

Dr. Sherri Benn had previously worked under the division of DEI, as working vice-president. She had been selected out of a wide number of people who were competing for the job. Dr. Benn is a family-oriented and community-based person, and makes sure to take strides to connect Tarleton State with not just its innermost community, but everyone around the world. Dr. Benn and the GCFGI took the elimination of the DEI in great strides and found opportunities to enhance the experiences and programs of the Tarleton State students. 

“It’s gone. So, we no longer have a Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. While that was disheartening at first when I got with my team, we discussed what to do moving forward, and we had to say, ‘What other opportunities can we create that would ensure all of our students feel like they belong,’” stated by Dr. Benn about the DEI. 

If you want to catch an event hosted by GCFGI, think about going to the Fellowship of the Flies on October 14 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event entails wildlife expert presentations, a film screening, vendors, meet and greets, as well as an exclusive outdoor experience. GCFGI also offers interfaith initiatives and has a meditation room in the Student Global and Community Connections office in the Student Center. 

Though the DEI was dissolved from Tarleton State, this has not hindered Tarleton State and the GCFGI from trying to connect with the faculty and student body, and creating a community that truly captures the voice of students. It is obvious that this is more than just a name change, but an initiative to better the experience of all students and a change to a newer mission to fulfill the hopes of everyone. 

To know more about the GCFGI or SB17 visit: 

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Jennifer Fernandez
Jennifer Fernandez, Staff Writer

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    Disappointed AlumOct 24, 2023 at 10:33 PM

    Calling it by a different name and throwing in a few extra bits doesn’t change that this is still DEI. Look no further than the fact that it is being headed by the same individual. In order to root out the toxic notions of DEI, new leadership would only be the starting point. This should be struck by the state.