INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Board of Trustees voted on Friday to table the agenda item related to the Kinsey Institute, according to officials with the university.
The action item, included on the agenda for Friday’s board of trustees meeting, was to approve the designation of the Kinsey Institute as a university-related entity in accordance with the Indiana University-related legal entities policy.
This comes after Indiana Republican lawmakers voted in February to prohibit the university from using state money to support the Kinsey Institute, an entity that focuses on sexual research. According to previous reports, the Indiana House voted 53-34 to block state funding for the institute.
W. Quinn Buckner, the chair of the university’s board of trustees, said during the meeting that under the new legislation, the university will be required to have a “new mechanism” to fund and operate the portion of the institute’s operations that were previously supported through the university’s general fund.
The proposal that was brought forward was to permit the university to establish a nonprofit entity to serve as the funding for this purpose, Buckner said.
“While some have viewed this as separating the entirety of the Kinsey Institute from Indiana University, let me be clear: The proposal we considered today would keep the Kinsey Institute intact and very much present at Indiana University,” Buckner said. “Only a small portion of administrative and operational functions would be conducted through the proposed nonprofit entity. The Kinsey Institute, its name, its faculty, and its collections would continue to exist at Indiana University as a pillar of intellectual freedom and academic inquiry.”
During Friday’s Board of Regents meeting, IU President Pamela Whitten said she believes that singling out and restricting funding for a specific research institute “sets a troubling precedent.”
“The university is committed to the ongoing world-renowned research and robust scholarship conducted by IU faculty and the Kinsey Institute,” Whitten said. “Your decision this morning will provide us invaluable time to work together – with our faculty and staff, with alumni and friends and with other key stakeholders. We will consider how best to continue the legacy of the Kinsey Institute while complying with state law. I look forward to our collaboration as we ensure that the Kinsey Institute continues as a beacon of academic freedom at IU for decades to come.”
Buckner said the board has asked the university’s General Counsel to provide guidance to university leadership to find a solution that will establish the legal and accounting structures necessary to ensure the university complies with state law.
“We look forward to considering this topic again at a future meeting,” Buckner said.
In a message to the faculty and staff at the Kinsey Institute, Rahul Shrivastav, the university’s provost and executive vice president said that the board’s decision to table the matter gives the institute time to work and consider how the institute can continue its legacy while complying with state law.
“President Whitten and I want to be clear: It has always been our commitment to create a solution that will ensure the Kinsey Institute and its collections remain at Indiana University,” Shrivastav said. “The Board, the President and I look forward to our collaboration as we ensure that the Kinsey Institute continues as a beacon of academic freedom at IU for decades to come.”