University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Proposes Cuts to DEI Office

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Chancellor Rodney Bennett recently announced proposed budget cuts to various institutional operations, including an $800,000 reduction in funding for the university’s DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) office. The cuts stem from a broader five-point plan to overcome a projected $58 million budget shortfall at the University of Nebraska (NU) by 2025.

In a memorandum to the university’s Academic Planning Committee, Bennett suggested restructuring the UNL Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) “to primarily support university-wide priorities and initiatives with a greater focus on DEI efforts occurring at the college and unit level.”

Bennett’s proposal, which totals $12 million in budget cuts, also includes reductions in funding for student assistants and lecturers, elimination of vacant faculty and staff positions, and the removal of nine filled staff roles, three of which are in the diversity office, reports the Nebraska Examiner.

The committee is evaluating the proposal and will accept online feedback from students, faculty, and staff until December 1.

UNL has previously received criticism for its diversity and anti-racism initiatives from conservative politicians and NU board of regents members who decried the efforts as ideological indoctrination centered around critical race theory.

“The university has no choice but to make difficult decisions to address a structural budget deficit, and we are proceeding in a manner that allows us to continue to fulfill our mission as Nebraska’s land-grant and flagship university and remains consistent with our status as a Carnegie R1 institution,” Bennett told the Examiner.