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Diversity, equity and inclusion changes expected in UNC System

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(The Center Square) – Following the flagship university’s fiscal budget transfer from its department for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, similar moves for the entire 17-campus UNC System are anticipated at this week’s Board of Governors meeting.

Eight committee meetings, including University Personnel, are planned Wednesday. The board convenes in full at 10 a.m. Thursday and the final agenda item is expected to ring the loudest.

At UNC Chapel Hill last week, the Board of Trustees said it would transfer funding for diversity programs totaling $2.3 million to public safety and policing. Carolina, the nation’s oldest public university, has a 12-member staff in its diversity office with the vice provost making more than $315,000 annually. Board Chairman Dave Boliek, Republican nominee for state auditor, said the university had a chance to lead and be ahead of potential changes from the Board of Governors.

While the board’s move is for the next fiscal budget starting in July, the diversity office staff page available last week has been removed from the university website.

The Board of Governors in April received a committee report recommending changes to policy on diversity, equity and inclusion. Position terminations are indicated.

The board will go into closed session Thursday, per the agenda, to take in the report of the Committee on University Personnel. Next after that in open session as the final item is the report from the Committee on University Personnel.

The committee is among eight meeting on Wednesday.

Open The Books, a nonprofit transparency group based in Chicago’s Burr Ridge suburb, on Tuesday released a report saying the UNC System spends “no less than $90 million per year in pay and benefits on no fewer than 686 staffers under the ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ umbrella.” Its auditors waited six weeks for a public records request fulfillment that did not come, then used a publicly available database of base salaries, added 30% for benefits and bonuses, and searched using key words.

For example, the report estimates Carolina’s campus in Chapel Hill has 88 dedicated staff, 231 total positions, total base salary of $29.2 million and total cost including benefits of $37.9 million. The report put N.C. State next costly with 32 dedicated staff, 161 total positions, $16.4 million in total base salary, and $21.3 million in total cost.

The UNC System includes, in addition to Carolina and State, Appalachian State, East Carolina, Elizabeth City State, Fayetteville State, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC School of the Arts, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina, Winston-Salem State, and its one high school level institution, the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics.

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