The IU Board of Trustees voted to table discussions of separating the Kinsey Institute from the university Friday morning during its November board meeting.
The move comes after the plan received backlash from Kinsey Institute faculty, students and members of the IU community, who asked for more time to discuss the details of the separation with the administration. Kinsey Institute faculty said they were first informed about the plan on Oct. 27.
“The university is committed to the ongoing world-renowned research and robust scholarship conducted by IU faculty and the Kinsey Institute,” IU President Pamela Whitten said to board members at the meeting, according to an email from Teresa Mackin, deputy director for media relations at IU. “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.”
The plan was in response to an Indiana House state budget bill amendment that blocked public funding to the institute. The legislation went into effect July 1 at the start of the fiscal year. Although the Kinsey Institute has received no direct funding since the state budget bill took effect, some state appropriations could still pay for the institute’s operations indirectly through the university’s general fund.
Whitten said that restricting funding for a specific IU institute would set a “troubling” precedent.
If the board had approved the plan, the Kinsey Institute’s operational functions historically supported by the general fund would have been managed by a newly created nonprofit, but the institute and its staff would have remained part of the university.
“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,” W. Quinn Buckner, chair of the Board of Trustees, said after tabling the resolution, according to the email. “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.”
However, the Kinsey Institute’s collections of art and archives would have remained with the university, which concerned some Kinsey Institute staff.
Buckner asked the General Counsel to work with Whitten and Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav to establish a solution that complies with the state law, according to the email. The board will address the topic again at a future meeting, though no dates have been set.