Iowa’s Board of Regents endorsed a series of changes in a recent move to streamline the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in the state university system. This decision follows the establishment of a Board of Regents commission by Governor Kim Reynolds in June to evaluate the state’s DEI activities and suggest necessary modifications.
The commission convened over the summer and produced a report offering ten recommendations. The larger board gave its approval to these suggested changes.
The approved alterations to the DEI programs in Iowa’s universities encompass various areas. These include the removal of DEI roles that are not integral to compliance or accreditation. A comprehensive review of all DEI-related assignments at colleges, departments, or units will also be undertaken to determine their necessity concerning compliance, accreditation, or support services for students and employees. Any roles found to be non-essential will be eliminated.
Furthermore, the board has agreed to review the services provided by the offices that currently support diversity or multicultural affairs in other university divisions. The objective is to guarantee that these services are accessible to all students.
As part of the adopted measures, the Board of Regents ensures that neither employees, students, applicants, nor campus visitors are obliged to submit DEI declarations or be assessed based on their involvement in DEI initiatives. This condition applies unless the position is crucial for DEI-related compliance or accreditation.
The newly approved regulations also prevent Iowa’s public universities from requiring employees, students, applicants, or campus visitors to provide their preferred pronouns.
Beyond the restructuring of DEI programs, the Board of Regents reiterated the state university system’s dedication to fostering ideological diversity on campus. In line with this, the board will release standardized advice concerning separating personal political advocacy from university operations and employment activities. They will also propose potential recruitment strategies to promote a diversity of intellectual and philosophical perspectives among faculty and staff applicants.
The Board of Regents gave the green light to develop a proposal for a comprehensive initiative. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education.