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University of North Carolina Scraps DEI Programs, Allocates Millions to Campus Police

A picture of University of North Carolina
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University of North Carolina Scraps DEI Programs, Allocates Millions to Campus Police

Source: Pinterest

The $2.3 million diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) budget at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, will now go entirely towards public safety and policing.

As part of the annual budget approval process, the trustees unanimously decided to reallocate the $2.3 million the university spends on DEI programs toward police and public safety measures.

The Board of Trustees Voted

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A few trustees who supported the divestment said the cash should have gone to the campus police beforehand because of students’ previous anti-Israel protests.

The unanimous board decision impacts UNC-Chapel Hill’s diversity financing and may result in department closure and job losses. On the other hand, the $14 million budget for the police and public safety agencies is being increased.

Reports From the School

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To combat the protests that are interfering with the smooth operation and stability of the school, law enforcement needs greater funding, according to the vice-chair of the budget committee, Marty Kotis.

According to Kotis, the needs of all 30,000 students should be taken into account, not just the roughly 100 students who might want to interfere with university operations.

Funding Reallocation

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After the University of Florida in Gainesville declared in a document that it was reallocating funding to faculty recruitment, UNC is following in the footsteps of other illustrious public universities that have eliminated diversity investment.

However, according to budget chair Dave Boliek, UNC “set the tone” on funding cuts before the North Carolina Legislature intervened. This is in contrast to UF, which carried out its funding pullback following the passage of a bill by the state Legislature prohibiting spending on diversity programs at public universities.

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The Law

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The rule prohibits public colleges from using state or federal funds to promote, support, or maintain programs or campus activities that espouse DEI. It was enacted by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s university system.

The regulations that limited public funding of programs, events, and policies towards DEI projects in community and state institutions were authorized by the Florida Board of Education one week before the passage of the Act. 

Other Universities Backed Out

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Following the horrific invasion of Israel, some prestigious universities have retracted their support of DEI after being linked to antisemitic incidents.

Numerous Republican senators have claimed that while disregarding risks to Jewish students, the DEI framework at many institutions favors the Palestinian cause.

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Report From the Meeting

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A special meeting was held before UNC. The Board of Governors, which has jurisdiction over the state’s 17 public universities, is anticipated to decide whether to limit DEI programs throughout the state.

A DEI-related policy was already repealed and replaced by the board’s five-member Committee on University Governance last month. Still, the repeal cannot go into effect unless the board’s 24 members vote in favor of it. Anti-Israel demonstrators hauled down the American flag at UNC.

DEI Policy

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The relevant DEI policy specifies the duties of DEI posts and calls for forming a diversity and inclusion council with representatives from each university.

These positions and structures are being reviewed as part of the continuing policy review, and their existence is in jeopardy if the policy is abolished.

Implementing the Policy

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If the regulation is wholly overturned, UNC may dismantle its diversity offices in line with other prestigious universities. One of the most prominent was the University of Florida in Gainesville, which last month said in a memo that it was closing its office and allocating its funds instead to faculty recruitment.

The proposed policy change would impact a 2019 diversity, equity, and inclusion regulation. 

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DEI Responsibilities

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The policy outlines the responsibilities of different DEI posts, including diversity officers throughout the university system and a system office liaison for diversity and inclusion. It also calls for forming a diversity and inclusion council with representatives from each university.

The policy specifies that the officers’ duties include encouraging staff and student training and supporting the chancellor with diversity policy and programming.

Legal Assurance

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The UNC System Office’s senior vice president for legal affairs, Andrew Tripp, explained the policy change to the media, saying it would reaffirm the university’s commitment to institutional neutrality and non-discrimination.

He said that “the duties of DEI officers and liaisons are not included in the policy that could replace the current rule, implying that they might be removed. The replacement policy, which will be put to a vote in Raleigh, says that the institution will keep up its inclusion efforts, including monitoring its diversity metrics and reporting to university boards.”

Monitoring the Metrics

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The proposed policy states that the institution will carry out inclusion initiatives, including monitoring diversity metrics and providing reports to university boards, even during budget cuts.

These initiatives aim to continue to show some dedication to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion

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Spokesman Kevin Best said in a statement that UNC-Chapel Hill, the system’s flagship school, will examine the policy change and collaborate with the university system if it is implemented.

According to the campus’s website, UNC-Chapel Hill has a 12-person team working in the office for diversity and inclusion. UNC-Chapel Hill says it will continue to embrace individuals from many backgrounds and viewpoints who come to study, work, and reside as part of that purpose.

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