Links in this article are preserved for historical purposes, but the destination sources may have changed.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

We have heard from many on our campus regarding the chilling effect of Executive Order 13950—and we agree with you.

The history of racism and discrimination in our nation is an unquestioned fact, and we must face that as a society if we are to become a stronger country. Learning about this past, and its impact upon our present, is key to moving toward a society that embraces and upholds diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything we do.

We are deeply disappointed in both the intention behind and the language used in the executive order, which carries the force of law. However, it would be irresponsible not to recognize its potential impact upon the university as a federal contractor and recipient of federal grant funding.

To be clear, the two-week pause on training recommended last week is only temporary.

The UI will continue with DEI training following its review, which is led by members of the campus who work within the diversity field. The goals, during the pause, are to:

  • Understand and review the comprehensive DEI trainings our campus offers;
  • Update our database for DEI trainings, programs, et cetera; and
  • Reconvene DEI trainings on Monday, Oct. 19, and provide additional education about the executive order.

There are a number of sections of the executive order that need to be legally clarified, so taking a temporary pause to understand what we need to do to be in compliance is important given the financial resources at stake for our faculty, staff, students, and mission. As you may know, the UI currently has 923 active federally funded projects on campus and in fiscal year 2020 was awarded $346,721,973 in sponsored projects, or federal dollars received directly from a federal agency.

However, this pause does not delay the implementation of the UI's DEI action plan, the work of the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee, evaluation and transformation of our gateway courses, support for the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, or the diversity seminar series. This work reflects the values of the university, which are rooted in a just and equal society.

We look forward to resuming our training and continuing the work that we have in front of us as a campus and a community.

Bruce Harreld
University of Iowa

Kevin Kregel
Interim executive vice president and provost
University of Iowa

Liz Tovar
Interim associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion
University of Iowa