Home News University of North Carolina could be next college to cut DEI staff

University of North Carolina could be next college to cut DEI staff

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The University of North Carolina could be the next public college system to axe its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts after its committee on university governance voted to reverse a related policy Wednesday.

The five-person committee within the UNC Board of Governors voted to repeal the DEI policy in shockingly little time — less than four minutes — but the full 24-member board still needs to vote before it’s revoked.

The full board, which oversees 17 schools within the state, is expected to vote on the same policy next month. If it follows the smaller committee’s lead, the policy — which outlines the various staff positions with the university’s DEI office and establishes a diversity and inclusion council — would be immediately dropped.

The policy drafted to replace the current regulation doesn’t outline the tasks and job duties of DEI officers — suggesting that the office could be eliminated.

The five-person committee within the UNC Board of Governors voted to repeal the DEI policy in less than four minutes Getty Images

Senior vice president for the UNC System Office’s legal affairs team, Andrew Tripp, said the potential policy swap demonstrates  “the university’s commitment to non-discrimination and institutional neutrality.”

But former UNC System president, Tom Ross, said the group of public universities was making a mistake — calling it a “disservice” to students in a joint statement with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

“Republican legislative and university leaders who attack diversity at our public universities are failing in their duty to protect students while threatening our ability to recruit top scientists, researchers and innovators who power our economy,” Cooper said.

The role of DEI has recently become a partisan issue as Republicans claim it discriminates against non-minorities while Democrats say it creates a more equitable playing field for everyone.


Andrew Tripp speaks
Senior vice president for the UNC System Office’s legal affairs team said the potential policy swap demonstrates  “the university’s commitment to non-discrimination and institutional neutrality.” PBS NC

Several universities — most concentrated in red states — have toppled their DEI offices over the debate.

Last month, the University of Florida announced it was trashing its DEI office and relocating funding for it to faculty recruitment efforts.

And it’s often not left for the colleges to decide themselves as multiple Republican-led states have introduced legislation to fight against diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Texas legislature signed a statewide ban on DEI initiatives in higher education into law last year — leading to more than 100 job cuts across campuses in the Lone Star State.

Kansas’ Republican-controlled Legislature reportedly pressured the state’s higher education board to adopt an anti-DEI policy on Wednesday as well.

And Republicans in some 20 or more states have proposed bills seeking to control and limit public institutions’ diversity and inclusion initiatives — including those at public universities.

The UNC Board of Governors — whose members are elected by the Republican-controlled North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives — is next scheduled to meet on May 22-2.

With Post wires

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