University of North Carolina defunds DEI, redirects money to public safety in unanimous board vote

"It’s important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students, not just 100 or so that may want to disrupt the university’s operations," trustee says.

Published: May 13, 2024 1:43pm

Updated: May 13, 2024 2:08pm

Defund the police has become defund DEI.

The University of North Carolina Board of Trustees voted unanimously at a special meeting Monday to redirect the entire $2.3 million diversity, equity and inclusion program budget to police and public safety, The News & Observer reported.

While Chair David Boliek said the cuts were discussed before pro-Palestine protests against Israel wracked campus, trustee Marty Kotis said the disruption and related arrests made the new funding for law enforcement crucial.

"It’s important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students, not just 100 or so that may want to disrupt the university’s operations," Kotis said.

Boliek also said the "administrative bloat in the university" would be better used to fund "rubber-meets-the-road efforts like public safety and teaching," telling the News he expected DEI job cuts.

Kotis called DEI "divisiveness, exclusion and indoctrination" that inhibits" more unity and togetherness, more dialogue, more diversity of thought," WUNC reported. "When you destroy property or you take down the U.S flag and you have to put up gates around it — that costs money."

WUNC reported most of the Chapel Hill town council signed a letter criticizing UNC for "creat[ing] an environment that inevitably resulted in an escalation of force, including the use of pepper spray against its own students," which "invites aggressive responses" from protesters "and only serves to escalate an already tense situation."

The News said the UNC Board of Governors is expected to vote next week on systemwide restrictions on DEI programs. System policy currently requires all campuses to employ one DEI senior-level administrator.

Under the UNC System’s existing policy on diversity and inclusion, all schools in the university system are required, at a minimum, to employ one senior-level administrator who is responsible for “policy development and strategic planning to promote and advance” diversity and inclusion.

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Manhattan Institute senior fellow and DEI critic Chris Rufo praised the defunding. "It's not 2020 anymore. 'Defund DEI, refund the police' is the winning slogan of the day," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

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