UNC system’s board of governors replaces DEI policy

The board of governors for the University of North Carolina (UNC) System voted to replace its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies among 17 public universities across the state.

The Thursday decision works to “ensure equality of all persons & viewpoints” and replaces a 2019 policy that emphasized inclusivity and required diversity reports from each school’s chief diversity officer.

“Campuses shall continue to implement programming or services designed to have a positive effect on the academic performance, retention, or graduation of students from different backgrounds, provided that programming complies with the institutional neutrality specified in Section VII of this policy and/or other state and federal requirements,” the new policy reads.

It is a major win for DEI opponents as North Carolina is led by a Democratic governor and President Biden has indicated he will try to flip the state in the election. Other states that have reversed DEI policies or banned DEI offices have been solidly red states, such as Florida and Texas.

“And principled neutrality allows us to welcome genuine diversity, which is a plain fact of our society and a great source of strength. Ensuring that everyone is included and supported is core to our mission as a public institution. But it is not the job of the university to decide all the complex and multi-dimensional questions of how to balance and interpret identity. These are vigorously contested ideas in both our democracy and on our campuses,” said UNC System President Peter Hans.

Before Thursday’s vote, UNC Chapel Hill had already decided to divert its DEI funding to public safety.

“We’re going ahead and, you know, sort of taking a leadership role in this. That’s the way I view it,” UNC Chapel Hill budget Chair Dave Boliek said.

It is unknown how many DEI jobs at universities will be lost in North Carolina. Hundreds of positions have been terminated related to DEI initiatives in Texas and Florida.

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