The Iowa Board of Regents meets in this file photo from July 2022. (Screenshot from Iowa Board of Regents YouTube channel)
The Iowa Board of Regents will study the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of state universities over the next seven months.
Board President Mike Richards informed the board at its April meeting that the working group, composed of Regents David Barker, Jim Lindenmayer and Greta Rouse, will be investigating the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs.
“They have been working with board office staff to come up with a structure and a process for how the comprehensive review will proceed,” Richards said during the board president’s report on April 20. “They also have been having conversations with the university presidents.”
The review has not started for the regents, he said, and many details are still being worked out. The group’s work will continue into the fall semester.
“There will be multiple meetings,” Richards said. “Faculty, staff and students from the university will be included in the process. There will be an opportunity for anyone, whether it be members of the campus community or general public, to provide feedback to the working group via a web-based form.”
The findings, once the working group completes its review, will be presented to the board. Richards said the group’s recommendations are tentatively scheduled for the board’s November 2023 meeting. The schedule, he said, could change based on if the work group is finished by November or if its work will continue further into the fall.
“This is a very important topic and the board looks forward to letting the working group create the process and do its work and present back to the board its findings,” Richards said.
The study comes after legislative efforts in Iowa to prohibit public universities in the state from funding diversity, equity and inclusion offices or hiring individuals to serve as diversity, equity and inclusion officers.
House File 616 passed through the House Education Committee in March but did not meet a deadline to remain eligible for debate this year.
It is unclear what the outcome of the regents’ work group will be or how it will affect universities’ administration.
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