UNC Chapel Hill to Divert DEI Funds to Public Safety, Policing

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees voted to divert millions of dollars spent on DEI programs into public safety.
Published: May 14, 2024

RALEIGH, N.C. — The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees voted to divert millions of dollars in diversity, equity, and inclusion spending to public safety initiatives.

At a special meeting Monday, the board unanimously moved to reallocate the $2.3 million the university spends on DEI programs toward police and other public safety measures as part of its annual budget approval process, the Charlotte-Observer reports. Last fiscal year, the school’s operating budget totaled over $4 billion.

Trustee Marty Kotis said law enforcement needs the money following pro-Palestinian protests that began last month.

“It’s important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students, not just the 100 or so that may want to disrupt the university’s operations,” he said. “It takes away resources for others.”

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Board Chair David Boliek contradicts Kotis’ claims, noting the timing of the reallocation was “happenstance” and that conversations on DEI spending cuts have been happening for almost a year. He said since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions last year, the board has continuously considered how it should handle diversity programs.

The decision about whether the spending cut would eliminate UNC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be up to the school’s flexible management plan, which is operated by interim Chancellor Lee Roberts, according to AP. The office has 12 employees, including a chief diversity officer.

Boliek told the News & Observer he expects jobs will be eliminated as a result of the reallocation.

“My personal opinion is that there’s administrative bloat in the university,” he said. “Any cuts in administration and diverting of dollars to rubber-meets-the-road efforts like public safety and teaching is important.”

UNC Board of Governors to Vote on DEI Policies

The decision comes as the UNC Board of Governors (BOG), which governs all public universities in North Carolina, is expected to vote next week on restricting DEI programs statewide. The board’s governance committee already passed the policy last month but the full board must approve it before taking effect.

Under the UNC System’s existing DEI policy, all schools must employ at least one senior-level administrator responsible for “policy development and strategic planning to promote and advance” diversity and inclusion. Under the proposed policy, the mandate for those positions would be removed.

Chancellors would have to prove to UNC System President Peter Hans by Sept. 1 that they have made additional changes to comply with the proposal. If the BOG approves the proposed policy, UNC System legal staff will provide university leaders with guidance on how it should be implemented and what steps the schools must take to comply.

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