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UNC could become next college system to eliminate diversity roles

The policy will still need to be approved by the full board next month. If approved it could impact 17 campuses in the state.

Published: April 17, 2024 8:59pm

The University of North Carolina is on its way to becoming the next college system to move away from requiring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) roles on its campuses.

State university systems in Florida and Texas have already eliminated DEI roles and requirements from their programs, after they received backlash from conservative residents and in order to adhere to state laws, according to Fox News. 

A five-member committee with the UNC board of governors voted in favor of repealing existing DEI policies in a vote Wednesday afternoon and replacing the policies with a new one that focuses more on the university system’s commitment to nondiscrimination. 

The policy will still need to be approved by the full board next month. If approved, it could impact 17 campuses in the state, including the university system’s flagship campus at Chapel Hill, which has a DEI office that includes 12 staff members.

“As the Board of Governors noted, equality of opportunity in education and employment is a long-standing commitment of the University of North Carolina as a core value in service to our vibrant and growing state,” spokesperson Kevin Best told the Associated Press. “As part of that mission, UNC-Chapel Hill will continue to welcome people from all walks of life with a variety of experiences and perspectives who come here to learn, work and live.”

The new proposed policy does not include information about the role of DEI officers on its campuses, which could mean the roles are eliminated. But some components of the DEI initiatives would continue, such as monitoring the diversity of the campuses.

The potential to rollback some of the DEI initiatives has been met with mixed opinions. UNC President Tom Ross, and Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper claimed the elimination of DEI practices in the university system would be a “disservice” to students.

“Our diversity should be used to highlight our state’s strengths, not our political divisions,” Cooper said in a statement. “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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