Greg Abbott’s Four-Word Response After University’s DEI Ruling

Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) on Monday after its board of trustees voted to redirect $2.3 million in diversity spending toward campus safety.

“This is the way,” Abbott—a Republican who during the summer signed a bill that banned diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives from public universities in his state—wrote in a post to X, formerly Twitter.

UNC’s decision, which will go into effect July 1, comes as pro-Palestinian rallies have rocked universities across the United States in recent weeks, and some trustee board members cited demonstrations on Chapel Hill’s campus for their reasoning to divert the funding. One of the protests at UNC went viral on social media earlier this month after a group of UNC Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members were seen protecting an American flag that was taken down during a pro-Palestinian protest.

Abbott's Four Word Response To DEI Ruling
The campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is pictured on June 29, 2023. The UNC Board of Trustees voted on Monday to divert $2.3 million in diversity spending toward public safety…

Eros Hoagland/Getty Images

“We talk about peace protest, but when you destroy property or you take down the U.S. flag … North Carolinians are watching all this, and they are not happy,” UNC trustee Marty Kotis said during Monday’s meeting. “And I think it’s imperative that we have the proper resources for our law enforcement to protect the campus, and that means our property and that means our flag as well.”

Diversity funding will instead go toward public safety and police efforts, the board ruled. It is unclear if diverting the millions allocated for diversity funding could lead to the shutdown of UNC Chapel Hill’s Diversity and Inclusion Office, which has 12 staffers.

Newsweek emailed UNC’s media relations department for comment Monday evening.

The UNC trustees’ decision was also celebrated on social media by commentators like Charlie Kirk, founder of conservative group Turning Point USA that promotes conservative politics on high school and college campuses.

“BREAKING: The Board of Trustees at UNC Chapel Hill has just voted to abolish DEI funding and are diverting the money to public safety and campus law enforcement,” Kirk wrote to X. “Another domino falls in war against the DEI bigots. Congratulations UNC Chapel Hill!”

Activist Monica Harris, executive director at Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), also praised UNC’s decision over X, writing, “When the path to diversity, equity and inclusion requires that students be primed to hate white people, hate Jewish people, hate America, hate free speech, and hate capitalism, then you’ve got a big problem—and that problem must be eliminated.”

“Congrats to @UNC for doing what elite universities can’t seem to bring themselves to do: create a campus environment where students feel *safe* physically and intellectually,” Harris added, who also called out top institutions like Columbia University, Harvard and Yale, writing, “I hope you’re taking notes.”

Republican lawmakers in 20 states have introduced legislation aimed at limiting DEI programs at public institutions, according to the Associated Press. Florida, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, was the first state to sign a law banning such programs, in May 2023. Abbott’s administration followed shortly afterward by signing a similar bill a month later.

UNC’s Committee on University Governance, which is within the UNC Board of Governors that oversees 17 public universities in North Carolina, voted in April to reverse a policy related to DEI initiatives. The full 24-member board is expected to vote on the matter next week, according to AP.

If approved, diversity jobs at all universities under the board’s guidance could be at risk.

A handful of X users denounced UNC’s decision, including attorney Robyn Sanders of progressive law institute Brennan Center for Justice.

“Today’s decision by the UNC Board of Trustees to defund all DEI and reallocate the funds to campus policing is a despicable and outrageously racist act,” Sanders wrote in a series of posts Monday afternoon.

“Campus policing has a long history of targeting & brutalizing Black & Brown students,” she added. “This decision not only sanctions & enables this violence but also sends a chilling message that the university does not value the safety and well-being of marginalized and minority communities.”

Former North Carolina congressional candidate Kyle Parrish also attacked the funding reversal by Chapel Hill, writing on X: “The same people @UNC who NEVER fought discrimination and segregation previously.”

“They NEVER cared that black people and women were denied access and opportunity in favor of white men,” wrote Parrish, who ran as a Democrat in the 2024 race but did not advance past the primaries in March. “Now that they might have to compete on a level playing field due to DEI, they change the rules.”