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UNC Chapel Hill board votes to dismantle DEI programs, use funds on campus police after anti-Israel protests


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees reportedly voted on Monday to dismantle its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and transfer millions in funding instead to public safety and campus police on the heels of anti-Israel demonstrations

The unanimous decision by the trustees will reallocate $2.3 million that the university spends on DEI programs toward police and public safety measures as part of its annual budget approval process, The News & Observer reported. 

Last fiscal year, UNC Chapel Hill’s operating budget surpassed $4 billion. 

“My personal opinion is that there’s administrative bloat in the university,” Board Chair David Boliek told The News & Observer, anticipating some jobs would be scrapped as a result. “Any cuts in administration and diverting of dollars to rubber-meets-the-road efforts like public safety and teaching is important.”

ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONSTRATORS GATHER AT UNC-CHAPEL HILL CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE, SMEAR RED PAINT ON BUILDING

Police at UNC Chapel Hill anti-Israel protest

Anti-Israel demonstrators clash with police after replacing an American flag with a Palestinian flag, April 30, 2024, at UNC-Chapel Hill. (Travis Long/News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Though Boliek noted that the policy was under consideration before anti-Israel protests reached a fever pitch at campuses across the country, Trustee Marty Kotis said law enforcement needed more funding following demonstrations that began at UNC Chapel Hill last month and resulted in several arrests. 

“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 told the Raleigh, North Carolina-based newspaper. 

Fox News Digital reached out to the university and board of trustees for added comment.

Monday’s special meeting came before the UNC Board of Governors, which oversees all 17 public universities in the state, is expected to vote on restricting DEI programs statewide next week. 

The board’s five-person Committee on University Governance already voted last month to reverse and replace a policy related to DEI, but the full board of 24 members must vote for the repeal to take effect.

Anti-Israel protesters taken down the American flag at UNC

Anti-Israel demonstrators replace an American flag with a Palestinian one, April 30, 2024, at UNC-Chapel Hill’s “Gaza solidarity encampment.” (Travis Long/News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

If the policy is fully repealed, the UNC system could join other major universities in dismantling their diversity offices. Among the most notable, the University of Florida in Gainesville announced in a memo last month that it was scrapping its office and shifting its funding for faculty recruitment instead.

The proposed policy change would impact a diversity, equity and inclusion regulation adopted in 2019. It defines the roles of various DEI positions – such as a system office diversity and inclusion liaison and diversity officers across the university system – and the establishment of a diversity and inclusion council made up of members representing each university, according to the policy.

UNC police arrest anti-Israel protesters

Police remove an anti-Israel encampment on April 30, 2024, at UNC-Chapel Hill. (Travis Long/News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Under the policy, the officers’ responsibilities include assisting the chancellor with diversity policy and programming, in addition to facilitating training for students and staff. But Andrew Tripp, senior vice president for the UNC System Office’s legal affairs team, said the change would reaffirm “the university’s commitment to non-discrimination and institutional neutrality,” according to The Associated Press. 

The policy that could replace the existing regulation does not include the outlined responsibilities of DEI officers and liaisons, suggesting they may be eliminated. The replacement policy up for a vote in Raleigh next week states that inclusion efforts such as tracking the university’s diversity metrics and giving reports to university boards will continue. 

Anti-Israel protesters wave Palestinian flag at UNC Chapel Hill

About 1,000 demonstrators rally at the South Building after a “Gaza solidarity encampment” was removed by police early on April 30, 2024, at UNC-Chapel Hill. (Travis Long/News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

UNC Chapel Hill – the system’s flagship campus whose website says it has an office for diversity and inclusion with a 12-person staff – will review the policy change and work with the university system if implemented, spokesperson Kevin Best said in an emailed statement to the AP last month.

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“As the Board of Governors noted, equality of opportunity in education and employment is a long-standing commitment of the University of North Carolina as a core value in service to our vibrant and growing state,” Best said. “As part of that mission, UNC-Chapel Hill will continue to welcome people from all walks of life with a variety of experiences and perspectives who come here to learn, work and live.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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