Education Politics

UNC Shifts Funds: Public Safety Over DEI Controversy

UNC Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees recently made a significant decision to redirect $2.3 million from DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs towards enhancing public safety measures. This move followed violent incidents during a Gaza camp protest on campus, prompting discussions about the allocation of resources.

During the board meeting, Marty Kotis, the vice chair overseeing the budget and finance committee, expressed concerns about DEI programs being perceived as divisive, exclusive, or promoting indoctrination. Instead, there was a call for fostering unity, dialogue, and a diversity of thought within the university community.

Several board members referenced the recent Gaza camp protest and its aftermath as influencing factors in the decision to prioritize public safety funding. Marty Kotis highlighted the costs associated with property damage and security measures during such events, emphasizing the need for sufficient resources for campus law enforcement.

David Boliek, chair of the budget and finance committee, lamented the lack of support from the town of Chapel Hill for university police, indicating that the reallocation of $2.3 million could alleviate some of the financial strains related to law enforcement expenditures.

The context of the decision stemmed from a protest where fraternity members protected the US flag during the Gaza camp demonstration. The protest escalated into violence, with protesters throwing objects at officers, students, and members of the media. The US flag was torn down and replaced with a Palestine flag, prompting University Interim Chancellor Lee Roberts to intervene and restore the US flag.

Overall, the decision to divert funds from DEI programs to public safety reflects a broader concern for maintaining order and security on campus, particularly during contentious events that have the potential for escalation and property damage.

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