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The Indiana Daily Student

campus student life

Working group provides recommendations to keep Kinsey Institute part of IU

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The Kinsey Institute Special Working Group concluded that the Kinsey Institute can remain part of IU without violating state law, according to a document obtained by Indiana Public Media forwarded to the IU administration.  

Last year, the Indiana General Assembly passed a budget prohibiting state funding for the Kinsey Institute. Then, the IU Board of Trustees discussed a potential plan to divorce the institute from the university during its November 2023 board meeting, but it voted to table that discussion. 

Under the IU administration’s November proposal, the Kinsey Institute would have been split into a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with its own board, while its archives would have remained under university ownership. 

Provost Rahul Shrivastav convened the working group to offer guidance on the Kinsey Institute, the state’s funding restrictions and the university’s protection of the institute. 

Comprising nine members who collected feedback from the listening sessions, the working group submitted its recommendations to Shrivastav and IU General Counsel Anthony Prather, which aim to guide proposals to the trustees during their Feb. 29-March 1 meeting. The group made its determination that the institute could remain a part of the university last week.  

The working group, including three certified public accountants and the IU Bloomington Vice Provost for Finance, devised a plan approved by IU's audit firm Plante Moran, suggesting that establishing a 501(c)(3) is unnecessary. The proposal recommends creating a Kinsey income statement and balance sheet to track all costs, with non-state funding sources like IU Foundation funds covering expenses not supported by external funds.  

The report advises IU to delay exploring the 501(c)(3) option until after the first audit review and the start of the new fiscal year and cautions against complicating matters by separating the Kinsey Institute Library & Special Collections under a separate 501(c)(3) entity. The working group said it never saw the original 501(c)(3) proposal submitted to the trustees in November.     

The group also advised IU to take stronger action against misinformation about the Kinsey Institute and threats to the safety of its employees. Stakeholders expressed concerns during listening sessions in January that IU hadn't refuted claims used to justify the anti-Kinsey statehouse amendment by Rep. Lorissa Sweet, R-Wabash, that the institute was “full of perverts and pedophiles.”     

Shrivastav addressed these worries in a column Feb 15. and acknowledged the targeting of Kinsey employees. 

“Please know we understand you continue to be targeted by those who question the need for this vital work, including the spread of misinformation that impugns the integrity and character of our colleagues,” Shrivastav wrote. “While we may not always say so enough, we are proud that you have chosen to be part of our community. The hate and misinformation you withstand is undeserved.”   

The working group said in its report that employees might consider leaving IU amidst instances of harassment, stalking and physical threats against Kinsey staff. IU has hence heightened security measures at the current Kinsey headquarters. 

To secure financial stability without state funding, the Kinsey Institute will increasingly rely on its endowment, according to the working group’s report. The working group suggested planning a fundraising campaign to enhance the institute's financial independence.  

IU spokesperson Mark Bode provided a statement to Indiana Public Media.  

“The Board of Trustees has received the working group report in advance of next week's Board Meeting, where they will determine how best to ensure the university's continued support for the Kinsey Institute,” Bode said. “Whatever approach is ultimately implemented; the university remains steadfastly committed to the uninterrupted scholarship and research of the Kinsey Institute and its world-class faculty.” 

The Board of Trustees’ next meeting is Feb. 29-March 1, where they are expected to decide on the Kinsey Institute’s future at the university. 

[CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to clarify that the three certified public accountants and the IU Bloomington Vice Provost for Finance are part of the Kinsey working group.]

[CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated IU’s audit firm Plante Moran endorsed the Kinsey working group plan. The firm has only approved the plan.]

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