Kansas Board of Regents axes mandatory DEI statements

To comply with anti-DEI Kansas legislation, the state’s Board of Regents prohibited public universities from mandating DEI statements for students and employees.

The change is a ‘good faith effort in trying to listen to the Legislature,’ said the Board chairman.

On April 17, the Kansas Board of Regents prohibited public universities in the state from forcing student applicants, job candidates, and university employees to state their opinions about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) while their applications or promotions are being considered. 

The board voted unanimously for the measure. 

Board Chairman Jon Rolph stated that the policy change is a “good faith effort in trying to listen to the Legislature.”

[RELATED: Sociology professor says ‘attacks’ on DEI in higher ed ‘threaten democracy,’ blames Campus Reform, others]

Republican State Sen. J.R. Claeys said he “wouldn’t expect [universities] to enact any enforcement on themselves.”

The Kansas House of Representatives passed legislation on March 21 forbidding the state’s universities from mandating DEI statements when admitting students or hiring new employees. The legislation was approved by a vote of 81-39. 

This March, An audit initiated by Kansas legislators also revealed that roughly $9 million state taxpayer dollars funded DEI initiatives at the state’s universities during the 2022-2023 school year. 

The University of Kansas, which is the largest university in the state, has an Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

The office works to address what it alleges are the “structural, historical, and systemic barriers that infringe upon expectations for equity in our university community.”

[RELATED: Yale offering DEI course for business leaders, as number of DEI jobs falls]

Kansas State University, the second largest university in Kansas, also promotes DEI initiatives that include the “President’s Commission on Gender Equity,” whose goal is “to review the roles, needs, and opportunities of our diverse students, faculty and staff at Kansas State University, promoting gender equity for all.”

Campus Reform has contacted the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.