UNC Chapel Hill the latest college to defund DEI

Kurt Mahlburg
May 16, 2024
Reproduced with Permission

In mid-2022, I began to speculate that we were nearing "peak woke" - and I had more than a few anecdotes to back my case.

As the months ticked on, more evidence accumulated. Then, late last year, Harvard University's Claudine Gay scandal made global headlines. It was an event that I believe marked the high tide of wokeness in its most distilled essence: the DEI campus bureaucracy.

Now, it appears that nothing can stop the bleed. According to a recent NBC News analysis, more than 30 states have introduced bills banning or restricting DEI claptrap at public colleges.

The state of Florida is the most high-profile of these; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the most recent.

News that the board of trustees at UNC's flagship campus had voted unanimously to cut all DEI funding hit the news on Monday. And it came with a little added flair: if approved by the full board next week, the entire $2.3 million in question will be diverted to police to keep the campus safe.

The decision followed ugly anti-Israel demonstrations at UNC Chapel Hill that involved clashes with police and dozens of protesters being detained.

Among the oldest of America's public universities, Chapel Hill also played host to one of the most iconic photos of the 2024 campus riots, as a large group of "frat boys" stepped in to protect the American flag from being replaced with a Palestinian one.


Fraternity brothers are pelted by anti-Israel protesters at UNC Chapel Hill while protecting the United States flag as it is re-hoisted following its removal by protesters.

Thank God there are young people who understand what it means to respect our... pic.twitter.com/WY194QpcY3

— TONY(TM) (@TONYxTWO) May 1, 2024


According to The News & Observer, key UNC leaders have been vocal about the vote to dismantle the college's DEI bureaucracy:

Board Chair David Boliek told The News & Observer he expected jobs would 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."

Trustee Marty Kotis said law enforcement needed the money following pro-Palestinian campus protests that began last month and resulted in several arrests.

"It's important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students, not just 100 or so that may want to disrupt the university's operations," he said.

Boliek said the policy was in consideration before the protests began.

The move comes as the UNC Board of Governors, which governs all public universities in the state, is expected to vote on restricting DEI programs statewide next week. The board's governance committee already passed the policy last month, but it must be approved by the full board before taking effect.

"I think that DEI is divisive. I don't think it's productive," Boliek has also explained. "I don't think it gives a return on investment to taxpayers and to the institution itself."

"I think that DEI in a lot of people's minds is divisiveness, exclusion and indoctrination," Kotis has added. "We need more unity and togetherness, more dialogue, more diversity of thought."

Public support

As expected, the chattering class has been critical of UNC Chapel Hill's DEI divestment decision, but the vote has attracted widespread praise from the public, with announcements on X (formerly Twitter) attracting millions of impressions.

Governor Greg Abbott, who led the charge against DEI in Texas, was likewise glowing about the news, tweeting, "This is the way."

The brains behind much of the conservative pushback against DEI is filmmaker and activist Christopher Rufo, who, following this week's news, suggested the end is nigh for racialised ideology in America's schools of higher learning:

Every month, we are reducing the perceived risk of abolishing DEI departments. By the end of the year, most red states will have abolished DEI in their public universities. Then we will move on to the next campaign.

— Christopher F. Rufo x2694xFE0F (@realchrisrufo) May 13, 2024

Lord, hasten the day.