DES MOINES, Iowa — This Wednesday and Thursday the state Board of Regents will be holding its November meeting to look at results from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Study Group.
The group was appointed last spring by the Board of Regents President Michael Richards to do a comprehensive study and review of all the DEI programs at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.
The Board was required to do the study when Senate File 560 was signed by the governor last spring. The study took six months and the group came up with ten recommendations for policy going forward.
The recommendations call for a restructure of DEI offices on campus and decentralized positions to eliminate those that are not necessary. Iowa has 61 DEI staff members, ISU has 56, and UNI has 25 people working in the office.
The recommendations also include that all students should feel welcome to use the DEI services – not just minority students, no one affiliated with a university should feel compelled to share pronouns or submit DEI statements, race is prohibited from being a factor in admissions and hiring staff, and university staff have to keep personal political views out of the office.
The full report with the list of all ten recommendations can be found here.
In that same list of recommendations, the group made clear that none of the three universities used race as a factor for admissions and there are no quotas that need to be met.
None of the universities had concrete evidence that students have received worse grades on an assignment due to clashing views with a professor. There was also no evidence that the regent universities have policies that require students to declare their pronouns, but the feedback through a survey in the study indicated there are situations where students, employees or visitors on campus were asked about pronouns in ways that made them uncomfortable. The recommendations ask the Board of Regents to adopt new policies so there are guidelines public universities can follow under the new law.
The report also outlined the concerns that the three regent universities have with the new state law — outlining that by not complying with DEI requirements for federal grants, the schools risk losing those federal dollars.
The Board will look at the recommendations and send a final report to the governor before December 1.