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.”
In approving the recommendations, the board disregarded the results of a forum that found the overwhelming majority of students and faculty consider DEI programs “critically important.”
“The Regents chose to align with an extremist group of House Republicans, showing blatant disregard for the compelling evidence from data, research, and the desires of the campus community,” read a statement from One Iowa, a state LGBTQ+ advocacy group. “Eliminating these crucial diversity, equity, and inclusion programs will devastate our universities’ capacity to attract, retain, and prepare students for their future careers.”