Apr 17, 2024 - News

UNC system pushes to repeal DEI policy across campuses

Students walk past the Tolley Student Center on N.C. State's campus in Raleigh. Photo: Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The UNC system moved Wednesday to repeal and replace the current diversity and inclusion policy on public university campuses throughout the state.

Why it matters: The decision could lead to the elimination of diversity offices across the system — similar to a move made by the University of Florida earlier this year, the Associated Press reports.

Driving the news: The UNC system's Committee on University Governance approved the change without discussion at a meeting in Winston-Salem on Wednesday.

  • The full board, which is nominated by the Republican-controlled state Senate and state House of Representatives, could approve the decision in May.

Zoom in: The system's previous policy outlined the roles of various DEI — diversity, equity and inclusion — jobs at public schools in the state, as well as the creation of a diversity and inclusion council made up of members of each university, the AP noted.

  • The replacement policy does not include outlined responsibilities for diversity staff.
  • It also calls for schools to report on compliance with the change, including the noting of "reductions in force and spending" as well as changes to job titles and position descriptions.
  • Andrew Tripp, senior vice president for the UNC System Office's legal affairs team, said the change will reaffirm "the university's commitment to non-discrimination and institutional neutrality," per the AP.

Context: The state's house speaker, Republican Tim Moore, said earlier this year that the N.C. General Assembly had interest in taking up anti-DEI legislations in its upcoming session. But he told reporters that it would likely wait for the UNC System to review its diversity policies beforehand, the News & Observer reported.

Flashback: In 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court transformed UNC's admissions process, ruling that it discriminated against white and Asian American applicants by giving more weight to applicants from underrepresented groups.

The other side: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper denounced the UNC system committee's vote in a statement on Wednesday.

  • "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."
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