University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors Votes To Repeal DEI Policy

University Of South Carolina

In a significant decision, the Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina (UNC) System voted to repeal and replace its existing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy.

The move, approved on Thursday, has stirred both controversy and concern among students and advocates.

The newly adopted policy stands in stark contrast to the previous one, which was implemented in 2019 with the aim of fostering an inclusive environment across the 17 schools within the UNC System.

Under the former policy, each institution was required to submit annual diversity and inclusion reports to the board of trustees.

However, the new policy shifts gears, emphasizing the promotion of “equality of all persons & viewpoints” and advocating for “nondiscrimination in employment practices.”

Furthermore, it mandates compliance with amendments passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, which impose limitations on discussions about race, racism, and sex in government institutions.

While the decision garnered majority support, two board members, Joel Ford and Sonja Phillips Nichols, dissented. Notably, both Ford and Nichols are African American.

Outside the meeting venue, protestors gathered to voice their opposition to the proposed changes. The tense atmosphere led to the arrest of two individuals, underscoring the gravity of the issue.

During deliberations, board members Pearl Burris-Floyd and Gene Davis voiced their backing for the new policy. Burris-Floyd, a retired DEI professional, highlighted flaws in the existing DEI framework, stating the need for a clearer path forward.

Davis echoed her sentiments, acknowledging the positive impact of DEI initiatives while expressing reservations about certain aspects.

However, the decision has sparked outrage among students, who fear its implications for diversity and inclusion efforts within the UNC System.

Pragya Upreti, a UNC Chapel Hill student, decried the decision, lamenting its perceived disregard for Black and brown students.

Similarly, Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, condemned the vote, describing it as “deeply troubling” and urging the board to reconsider. She emphasized the importance of DEI programs in creating inclusive campus environments.

The UNC System’s move reflects a broader trend of attacks on DEI initiatives nationwide, with public universities and corporations facing mounting pressure from critics and conservative lawmakers. The decision follows similar actions in states like Florida and Texas, where DEI efforts have been targeted.

As the UNC System prepares to implement the new policy, concerns linger about its impact on DEI programs, jobs, and campus culture. Students and advocates warn of potential repercussions, emphasizing the need to uphold diversity and inclusion as fundamental values in higher education.

The future of DEI initiatives at UNC System schools hangs in the balance, with stakeholders anxiously awaiting further developments amid ongoing debates about race, equity, and justice.