UNC trustees vote to reallocate DEI money to public safety

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees voted Monday to reallocate $2.3 million
taxpayer and trust fund dollars from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs
at the university to public safety.

“I think it’s instructive that the Board of Governors committee
unanimously approved changing the strategic direction of DEI and replacing DEI
initiatives with an overall policy that looks toward equality and a
meritocracy,” said budget and finance committee chairman Dave Boliek during Monday’s
special meeting.
“I have stated before and I’ll state again, I think
that DEI is divisive, I don’t think that it’s productive, I don’t think it
gives a return on investment to taxpayers and to the institution itself.”

The funding change is part of the board’s approval of the larger
university’s All-Funds budget. It would give Interim Chancellor Lee Roberts management
flexability to ensure enough resources are available to make safety and order a
priority on campus. It comes as the larger UNC Board of Governors preps
for a vote on Wednesday to remove DEI language from the system policy handbook.

“I think it’s a good budget that makes investments in important areas,
most notably campus safety,” said Roberts in Monday’s meeting. “We’ve had the discussion about DEI and obviously I await the final policy from the system and the implementation

Lee Roberts, interim chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill, walking with campus police towards a flagpole to take down the Palestinian flag put up by protesters and put the American flag back up. Source: screenshot from video posted on The Daily Tar Heel X account. Used by fair use.

Roberts found himself at the center of national news over the last week when
he intervened in an anti-Israel protest in Polk Place on UNC’s campus.
Accompanied by law enforcement and being shouted at by demonstrators, Roberts
replaced the American flag that demonstrators had removed. His office warned
the demonstrators, many of whom were not students, repeatedly over the
multi-day encampment that the university would not tolerate violence or damage
to taxpayer-owned property. Police ultimately removed the encampment early on
Tuesday, May 7.

Boliek said in Monday’s meeting that the university requested help during
the campus unrest from the office of Gov. Roy Cooper, but help was denied.
Boliek is currently running for the Republican nomination for state auditor in
the second primary election on Tuesday, May 14, and says the reallocation is
practical, so campus police have more resources in case there is a safety
crisis, and outside help never comes.

“It is a shame that the town of Chapel Hill refuses to aid our local
university police when called upon on multiple occasions, and also that our
governor’s office refuses to aid our university police and the maintaining of
order on our campus,” said Boliek in the meeting. “I think the $2.3
million would be an added help with respect to how much we’re having to spend
on law enforcement.”

Part of the impetus for the shift is the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision
in Students for Fair Admission vs UNC-Chapel Hill. The decision has sparked a focus
on eliminating race-based preferential treatment at all levels of the

UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees meeting on May 13, 2024. Source: YouTube

“We just spend $30 million on the SFFA suit (Students for Fair
Admission),” said committee vice chairman Patrick Ballantine. “We’ve
got a board resolution for non-discrimination, and I think there are lots of
different programs that don’t comply with that… I think that DEI in a lot of
people’s minds is divisiveness, exclusion, and indoctrination. We need more
unity and togetherness, more dialogue, more diversity of thought.”

Ballantine also suggested the university’s system of funding special
interest and issue groups with student and taxpayer money may need further
examination. He offered a few options, including giving students more of a say
in how those discretionary fees are allocated, or making them optional. He also
suggested requiring that campus activist groups raise their funds themselves,
rather than getting funds through the university system.

“GoFundMe is a great source, as we’ve seen, you can raise $600,000 for
people in a matter of days,” he said. “If they’re passionate about
the project then the folks that have passion projects should raise those funds

UNC’s Students for Justice in Palestine helped organize last week’s protests that
cause damage to the campus, including red paint spilled on the South Building
stairs, windows and walls during this weekend’s commencement celebrations.

“North Carolina taxpayers are watching this, and they are not happy,”
said Ballantine.

“It’s important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students not just
the 100 or so that may want to disrupt the universities operations,” he
added. “It takes away resources from others. There’s a real cost when
you’ve got 20 people out there cleaning up this paint and you’ve got damage to
property. One law enforcement officer had someone out there mention where his
wife worked, which I think is an attempt to intimidate. That really bothers me.
When the university has to shut down, folks in this office can’t come in.
That’s a real problem.”

A vote of the full UNC Board of Governors on DEI policy is scheduled for
this Wednesday, May 15.

The post UNC trustees vote to reallocate DEI money to public safety first appeared on Carolina Journal.


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