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The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville will eliminate its diversity, equity and inclusion division and reallocate its staff and resources to other offices starting in the fall, Chancellor Charles Robinson announced in an email Tuesday. UA’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance will also be realigned, moving formally under Human Resources.

Republican lawmakers in Arkansas have escalated attacks on DEI this year. In April, the state House of Representatives narrowly defeated a bill advanced by the Senate that would have banned affirmative action and diversity hiring initiatives for state and local government jobs, including in the public university system.

But Robinson, who became UA’s first Black chancellor in November and previously served as vice chancellor for diversity, stressed that the decision was made not in response to political pressures, but rather to better uphold the university’s mission. 

“It is my belief based on my experience … that we can accomplish better outcomes by reallocating resources into these essential areas,” he wrote in his email, adding that “supporting equal opportunity, access and belonging are critical to our land-grant mission and university values.”

Media relations director John Thomas told the Arkansas Advocate that all existing DEI employees who choose to stay will be reassigned to new positions in other units focused on student or employee recruitment and success.