“Supporters of eliminating some DEI programs say the universities are already welcoming places and thus the programs aren’t needed.”
The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to make major cuts to DEI regulations and programs related to hiring and other topics. While they didn’t cut everything, this marks a major change in approach that’s akin to what we’ve seen in other states like Florida.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Iowa Regents Approve DEI Cuts
The Iowa Board of Regents voted last week to cut back on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the state’s three public universities, KCRG.com reported.
The regents approved a slate of 10 recommendations from a study group formed to review current policies at the behest of Governor Kim Reynolds, which essentially eliminate all DEI efforts that are not essential for the institutions’ compliance or accreditation.
Among other things, they mandate that the universities: “take reasonable steps” to ensure that no campus constituent is required to submit any sort of DEI statement or be “compelled to disclose their pronouns”; prohibit the consideration of race and other protected characteristics in admissions “consistent with the law;” update general education category names “to accurately reflect the array of options students may select from to satisfy these requirements and ensure a breadth of offerings”; explore an initiative to promote education on free speech and civic engagement; and look into new recruitment strategies for “advancing diversity of intellectual and philosophical perspectives in faculty and staff.”
The board’s list of recommendations is designed to encourage intellectual diversity.
The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to eliminate DEI, including mandatory DEI statements and all DEI functions and positions unnecessary for legal compliance or accreditation.
They also adopted proposals to explore ways to promote intellectual diversity and free speech. pic.twitter.com/48bsEJzS5e
— Steve McGuire (@sfmcguire79) November 20, 2023
Radio Iowa lists the board’s recommendations:
1. Restructure the central, university-wide DEI offices to eliminate any DEI functions that are not necessary for compliance or accreditation. Support services in these offices must be broadly available to all students and/or employees, subject to applicable state or federal eligibility requirements.
2. Review all college, department, or unit-level DEI positions to determine whether DEI specific job responsibilities are necessary for compliance, accreditation, or student and employee support services. Any position responsibilities that are not necessary for these purposes shall be adjusted or eliminated. Position and/or working titles shall be reviewed to ensure they appropriately reflect position responsibilities.
3. Review the services provided by offices currently supporting diversity or multicultural affairs in other divisions of the university to ensure they are available to all students, subject to applicable state or federal eligibility requirements. Program promotional and informational materials and websites shall be updated to clarify that the mission of these offices is to support success broadly.
4. Take reasonable steps to assure the following:
a. No employee, student, applicant, or campus visitor is required to submit a DEI statement or be evaluated based on participation in DEI initiatives, unless the position is required for DEI-related compliance or accreditation.
b. No employee, student, applicant, or campus visitor is compelled to disclose their pronouns.
5. Develop a Board policy prohibiting the consideration of race and other protected class characteristics in admissions that is consistent with the law.
6. Initiate a review of DEI-related general education categories and update category names to accurately reflect the array of options students may select from to satisfy these requirements and ensure a breadth of offerings.
7. Standardize issuance of annual employee guidance regarding the separation of personal political advocacy from university business and employment activities.
8. Explore potential recruitment strategies for advancing diversity of intellectual and philosophical perspective in faculty and staff applicant pools.
9. Develop a proposal, including cost, to establish a widespread initiative that includes opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education.
10. Annually, the Board office shall issue a reminder to the universities on the requirements of 4.2.I, which governs university websites and other university communications.
Needless to say, not everyone is happy about this.
KMTV News reports:
Supporters of eliminating some DEI programs say the universities are already welcoming places and thus the programs aren’t needed.
Regents who want to keep these programs say they put the schools in a better position to recruit students and staff.
“I, for one, cannot agree with a few of the points described in these ten recommendations. when we have diverse people at the table we get different perspectives, different opinions and different voices,” said Regent Nancy Dunkel.
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