Lawmakers request DEI training information from UNC System 

The Old Well on the campus of The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH — The General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations has issued a letter to the UNC System related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) training that may be taking place or are planned across the system’s 17 campuses. 

The letter dated March 14 was sent by the Senate Majority Staff Government Operations team’s Director Derrick Welch to Eric Naisbitt, the assistant vice president of State Government Relations for the UNC system. 

“For purpose of this letter, ‘DEIA’ includes, but is not limited to, those subject matters which reference or discuss ‘diversity’, ‘equity’, ‘inclusion’, ‘accessibility’, ‘racism’, ‘anti-racism’, ‘anti-racist’, ‘oppression’, ‘internalized oppression’, ‘systemic racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘gender’, ‘LGBTQ+’, ‘white supremacy’, ‘unconscious bias’, ‘bias’, ‘microaggressions’, ‘critical race theory’, ‘intersectionality’, or ‘social justice,’” Welch wrote. 

The letter lays out 10 detailed requests for all relevant DEIA training both past and present, descriptions of the training, as well as all costs, fees and contracts related to any DEIA-related training. 

The request also includes an “inventory of all University ‘in-house’ workshops, facilitations, organizational developments, and course designs, delivered virtually or in-person, which cover the subject matters of DEIA or other similar topics for employees, including those trainings made in partnership with third parties.” 

The committee’s deadline for the production of the materials is the close of business (5 p.m.) on March 28. 

The letter to the UNC System follows reports by Carolina Partnership for Reform (CPFR) from earlier this year questioning activities at NC State University.  

A compelled DEI statement for new applicants to NC State University (NCSU) was the first report issued by CPFR in January.  

“NC State University requires prospective students to explain how they intend to ‘contribute to a more diverse and inclusive NC State environment’ if granted admission,” CPFR’s report stated.  

CPFR included the language on the school’s website: 

“NC State University is committed to building a just and inclusive community, one that does not tolerate unjust or inhumane treatment, and that denounces it, clearly and loudly. Please describe what those words mean to you and how you will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive NC State environment.” 

Recently, the UNC System Board of Governors introduced a policy revision that would bar statements like the one being required by NCSU. 

“University shall neither solicit nor require an employee or applicant for academic admission or employment to affirmatively ascribe to or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement. Nor shall any employee or applicant be solicited or required to describe his or her actions in support of, or in opposition to, such beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles,” the policy states.  

North State Journal reached out to NC State for comment.  

“The question became an application requirement for the 2021 admissions cycle. It will not be a requirement moving forward,” wrote NC State Director of Strategic Communications and Media Relations Mick Kulikowski in an email response. “The question speaks for itself. It asks that students reflect upon building an equitable and inclusive environment at NC State. 

“We aren’t aware of any concerns expressed by applicants or the campus community, and in fact, NC State continues to see record applications year after year, including more applications from North Carolina students than any other North Carolina university,” Kulikowski wrote. “We are aware of dialogue outside of the university, and as that conversation continues, NC State will maintain its commitment to a diverse, inclusive and belonging community as part of its strategic plan.” 

The other CPFR report detailed DEI requirements in training and hiring as part of the “Strategic Plan 2030” put forth by NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). 

After the publication of this article, CALS responded to North State Journal’s request for comment, stating that “CALS will adhere to all board policies while maintaining its commitment to a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community.”

 

About A.P. Dillon 973 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_