IU trustees delay decision about Kinsey Institute split

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The Indiana University board of trustees on Friday tabled a proposal to move much of the administration of the Kinsey Institute into a not-for-profit. The decision came after significant faculty and staff pushback, a petition of opposition with nearly 8,000 signatures and a campus protest.

The matter was to be discussed and voted on Friday afternoon at the trustees’ scheduled meeting. Under the proposal, some of the institute’s administrative and operating functions would be transferred to a not-for-profit, but its collections and archives would remain under university ownership. The move was proposed after state lawmakers earlier this year banned state funding from going to the often-scrutinized sexual research organization.

The matter was to be discussed and voted on this afternoon at the trustees’ scheduled meeting. Under the proposal, some of the institute’s administrative and operating functions would be transferred to a not-for-profit but its collections and archives would remain under university ownership. The move was proposed after state lawmakers earlier this year banned state funding from going to the often-scrutinized sexual research entity.

“Developed as a path to permanently protect the Kinsey Institute and its mission, the proposal we considered today would have permitted the university to create this mechanism by establishing a nonprofit entity to serve this limited purpose,” Quinn Buckner, the board’s chair, said at the meeting. “We look forward to considering this topic again at a future meeting.”

The board’s next meeting is Feb. 29 to March 1, 2024 at the IU Southeast campus in New Albany.

University leaders said tabling the decision means more time to develop what the not-for-profit would look like and how it would operate. In a nine-page letter and the initial in-person meeting, Kinsey faculty and staff asked questions related to these topics that they say went unanswered.

“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,” IU President Pamela Whitten said told the board.

“We will consider how best to continue the legacy of the Kinsey Institute while complying with state law,” she said. “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.”

Provost Rahul Shrivastav sent a message to the institute’s faculty and staff Friday morning, saying the board’s decision gives the administration time to work with them, experts and stakeholders to decide the best path forward.

“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,” he wrote.

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