The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

State Board of Regents launch survey to collect community feedback

The state Board of Regents is expected to discuss the findings at its November meeting.
Cody Blissett
State Board of Regents Greta Rouse, JC Risewick, and Robert Cramer prepare during a three minute intermission at a Board of Regents meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

A survey by the members of the diversity, equity, and inclusion study group of the state Board of Regents was sent out to students and faculty of Iowa’s three regent universities on Aug. 7 as the next step in the investigation of DEI programs.

The investigation into DEI programs at regent institutions comes after regents President Mike Richards paused the implementation of new programs to conduct a study of DEI efforts. Richards announced the pause on March 14.

Before his statement, the Iowa Legislature introduced House File 218 on Feb. 28. The bill would have prohibited regent institutions from funding DEI programs and hiring staff to serve in positions relating to DEI, but the legislation did not pass.

Richards, in his statement, wrote that the regents would be establishing a working group to lead this study. The group is composed of regents members David Barker, Jim Lindenmayer, and Greta Rouse.

At a regents meeting on April 20, Richards said there would be an opportunity for members of the universities to provide feedback.

The survey, which was e-mailed out to the faculty and students at the regents’ schools, is composed of questions focused on topics of DEI at universities. One question asks the participant to rank, based on their opinion, the need for policies limiting DEI programs and activities on a scale of one to five.

At the UI, some of these programs include support and programming for first-generation students and low-income students, in addition to a centralized office for bias, harassment, discrimination, equity, free speech, and sexual misconduct concerns reporting.

In an email to The Daily Iowan, Liz Tovar, UI Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion executive officer and associate vice president wrote that the robust exchange of ideas is important to the UI’s leadership as a research institution.

“That’s why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a key part of our strategic plan,” Tovar said.

Tovar said that current and future DEI initiatives will be reviewed during the investigation into the programs by the regents.

“It is our collective job to help prepare our students, some of whom may not come from a diverse community, feel prepared when they graduate to work in a diverse environment and with a diverse
clientele,” Tovar said.

RELATED: Regents to still conduct DEI study after anti-DEI bill dies

As previously reported by the DI, the university prioritized DEI efforts in its 2022-27 Strategic Plan, highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core value.

Sujatha Sosale, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said DEI is utilized in making space for people from diverse backgrounds to contribute to classes. Sosale teaches courses at the UI on global and DEI-related issues.

DEI allows students to gain awareness of other cultures and social backgrounds, allowing them to grow, Sosale said.

Adriana Kotchkoski, vice president of Graduate and Professional Student Government, said the DEI programs on campus are important.

“It’s really all-inclusive. I think it touches every aspect of what [GPSG] do here on campus,” Kotchkoski said. “It’s featured in every program we offer.”

Josh Lehman, the regents senior communications director, wrote in an email to the DI that the regents established the group to examine campus DEI programs and initiatives at Iowa’s three public

“The survey was established to allow the general public to provide input on this topic,” Lehman wrote.

The working group is expected to report on its findings at the November board meeting.

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About the Contributors
Archie Wagner
Archie Wagner, Amplify Editor
Archie Wagner is a second year student studying English/Creative Writing and Journalism/Mass Communications. They previously worked as a news reporter for student life and undergraduate student government.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.