UNC Committee’s Four Minute Vote to Repeal Diversity

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Photo: University of North Carolina System

Three weeks after the South Carolina House moved to restrict DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in state colleges, North Carolina appears to be preparing for similar action.  

The Committee on University Governance, a five-person committee within the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors, voted Wednesday to repeal the current diversity policy for UNC system schools. The decision was reached in less than four minutes, with no discussion or questions, before committee members moved to closed session.

The diversity policy was initially adopted in 2019, and outlines various DEI positions and responsibilities. The proposed replacement, “Equality Within the University of North Carolina,” does not mention these positions, which suggests that they may be at risk for elimination, and specifically addresses a commitment to “freedom of speech and expression” and “academic freedom,” terms that were not present in the 2019 policy.

Former UNC System President Tom Ross and NC Governor Roy Cooper released a joint statement regarding the decision. “Our diversity should be used to highlight our state’s strengths, not our political divisions. 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,” said Cooper.

The measure requires approval from the full Board of Governors. That vote is expected to take place in May, and, if enacted, would take effect immediately at the 17 UNC system institutions overseen by the board.