UNC Board of Governors vote to repeal of DEI policy in place since 2019

WTVD logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
UNC Board of Governors vote to repeal DEI policy
The policy required universities to report data on how they were promoting diversity and inclusion.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The UNC Board of Governors voted to repeal a policy related to diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Several universities have already scrapped their DEI programs.

University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted to replace its DEI policy which has been in place since 2019.

The new policy requires schools to ensure equality for all people and viewpoints. The policy also promotes nondiscrimination for hiring employees, educational programs and activities.


Two board members voted against repealing the policy.

Sonja Nichols was one of those members. She said people's voices were not heard in the process.

"DEI is for everybody," Nichols said. "As (someone who's) Black, as a woman, I've just always wanted to be (in) a situation where all the voices are heard. Everyone has an opportunity to express why they feel that the DEI policy was so important. It's been so important over the years."

The policy required universities to report data on how they were promoting diversity and inclusion.

A committee with the UNC Board of Governors last month first moved forward with the push to repeal the DEI policy saying the programs the policy promoted go against "institutional neutrality."

The repealed policy defined roles of various DEI positions such as a system office diversity and inclusion liaison and diversity-officers across the university system. Ending the current policy could eliminate those positions along with other efforts.

DEI has quickly become a partisan issue. Republicans believes it discriminates against non-minorities and Democrats believe it levels the playing field for all.

Democrat lawmakers addressed what's at stake and what North Carolina stands to lose by repealing DEI across the UNC system.

"This will directly change higher education as it is a pipeline to industry. And because of this, it will be detrimental when it comes to industry, be it a multibillion-dollar company to our small, small businesses. The future economic development in our state will be in jeopardy," said Representative Maria Cervania, who is a Democrat from Wake County.

Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey, who supports the repeal, tells ABC11 in a statement that repealing DEI programs would promote intellectual freedom.

UNC System President Peter Hans refused to take any questions after the vote. However he made a statement on the issue before the vote.

Guidance on how to move forward will sent out to campuses in the coming weeks with the intent of the implementation to begin in the 2024-2025 academic year.