Washington Examiner

DEI paused in NC colleges as UNC prohibits forced speech.

North Carolina State University Halts Plan to Use Diversity Statements for Faculty Promotions and Tenure

North Carolina State University has made the decision to pause its plan of incorporating diversity statements into the consideration process for faculty promotions and tenure. This decision comes after the UNC Board of Governors banned compelled speech earlier this year, putting a halt to a project initiated by the NC State Faculty Senate to include diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations.

UNC Board of Governors and the University System

The UNC Board of Governors oversees 16 institutions, including NC State, within the UNC system. Their recent prohibition on compelled speech has led to the suspension of the diversity, equity, and inclusion project at NC State. This decision has sparked optimism among those who advocate for a culture of free inquiry.

“It is lamentable that it has taken an express prohibition by the UNC system to end these problems, but it’s cause for optimism that it is possible to reestablish a culture of free inquiry,” Parents Defending Education President and founder Nicole Neily told the Washington Examiner.

Faculty Senate’s Efforts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In January, the Faculty Senate established a Special Select Subcommittee on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging to advance the university’s goal of fostering a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and well-being. The committee aimed to align promotion and tenure with the strategic plan’s objectives, specifically focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. A survey was also conducted to gather input from faculty.

However, the Board of Governors’ prohibition posed a challenge to this goal. The policy states that the university cannot require employees or job applicants to express beliefs or opinions on matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition of employment.

A background memo explaining the Board of Governors policy states that compelled speech could become a litmus test for conforming to prevailing socio-political views, hindering the university’s commitment to fostering freedom of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research, service, and publication.

Corey Johnson, co-chairman of the Faculty Senate subcommittee, clarified that their intention was never to compel engagement or support for diversity, equity, and inclusion, nor penalize faculty who choose not to engage with it. They are committed to upholding the compelled speech policy and avoiding practices that violate it.

Johnson, who is currently on vacation, suggested an NPR podcast in his auto-reply, highlighting the potential benefits of passive and active rest in resisting capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.

Concerns about DEI Policies

“DEI statements, bias response teams, and expansive speech codes are expressly designed to chill speech and silence heterodox views,” Neily said. “Faculty and students at all levels, be it in a university setting or K-12 institutions, respond to policies like these because most people don’t seek out conflict or punishment.”

Despite requests for comment, NC State, the Faculty Senate, and the UNC Board of Governors have not responded to the Washington Examiner.

Click here to read more from the Washington Examiner.

" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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