Surprise! UNC board of governors smacks down DEI.

Boy, this issue has really found its legs quickly.  At the beginning of April, we heard from UNC-CH trustee Jim Blaine – a close associate of state senate president pro tem Phil Berger – that a wipeout of DEI in the state university system would likely come before the end of the year.

Lame duck House speaker Timmy Moore threw cold water on Blaine’s prediction.  On his way out the door – bound for Capitol Hill – Moore expressed doubt that the anything would happen this year. 

Well, today’s action in Chapel Hill made Blaine look like quite the Svengali:

A UNC Board of Governors committee has passed a policy that could lead to the elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion officers on all 17 UNC system campuses.

In an uncommon move, the University Governance committee did not discuss the new policy at all before unanimously passing it on Wednesday. It still needs to be voted on by the full Board of Governors in May.

The change replaces a policy passed in 2019 that created the DEI positions and data reporting at all 16 public North Carolina universities, and the NC School of Science and Mathematics. This includes a UNC System Diversity and Inclusion liaison and cross-university council, as well as individual institutional DEI officers.

The wording of the new policy makes it clear that, according to the UNC System, the DEI offices and officers do not “adhere to and comply with the strictures of institutional neutrality” as outlined in North Carolina’s Campus Free Speech law that prevents universities from participating in “political controversies of the day.”

“The changes do three things,” said Andrew Tripp, senior vice president and general counsel for the UNC System, in his short introduction to the Board of the new policy language. “They replace (the existing policy), they reaffirm the university’s commitment to non-discrimination and institutional neutrality, and they direct chancellors across the System.”

The committee then quickly voted on the new policy and immediately went into closed session.

Tripp is the former Chief of Staff to Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

If the new policy passes the full Board of Governors, individual chancellors will be required to send UNC System President Peter Hans a report by September 1 that details how their universities comply with “institutional neutrality.” The policy mandates that chancellors take certain “actions” to meet compliance, including reducing “force and spending” for DEI programs, and changing job titles and position descriptions.

Along with the certification report to Hans, chancellors must suggest ways to redirect funding from disbanded DEI programming to “student success” initiatives.

Most universities in the UNC System have robust DEI offices with chief diversity officers, support staff and student ambassadors. For example, offices at Appalachian State, North Carolina State, UNC Pembroke and other universities also include specific coordinators for accessibility, cultural, LGBTQ, women and other communities.

Schools also have website hubs for DEI efforts. This includes events, diversity dashboards, inclusive training programs, DEI research and anti-racism resources.

These efforts, as well as DEI staff positions, are almost assuredly in jeopardy with the new policy. It’s unclear if staff will be fired or moved to different positions within their universities.

North Carolina is one of many states changing their DEI policies. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 84 anti-DEI bills have been proposed since 2023. Ten states, including Florida, Alabama, and Texas, have signed some form of anti-DEI legislation into law.

This is a nice, positive move.  But we need MORE.  DEI is still thriving in public schools, community colleges, and all kinds of state agencies.  The legislature must step up and put the final nail in the coffin.  You know the leftist mob is already assembling their lawfare hordes to stomp the daylights out of this policy change in court.  Cross all the Ts, dot all the Is, and give them very little – if anything – to work with.