New State Law and Regents Policy: What They Mean to KU

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Interim General Counsel & Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs
Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 9 a.m.
Lawrence and Edwards Staff, Faculty and Affiliates

Dear Colleague,

Many in our community watched as Kansas legislators debated possible restrictions on campus diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The legislature eventually passed HB 2105 (formerly HB 2460), which takes effect July 1.  

HB 2105 prohibits public universities and colleges in Kansas from asking or requiring individuals to make statements in support of or against political ideologies or movements as a condition of employment, admission, or student aid. The law states:

No postsecondary educational institution shall condition admission or educational aid to an applicant for admission, hiring an applicant for employment or hiring, reappointing or promoting a faculty member, on the applicant's or faculty member's pledging allegiance to or making a statement of personal support for or opposition to any political ideology or movement, including a pledge or statement regarding diversity, equity or inclusion, or to request or require any such pledge or statement from an applicant or faculty member.

In addition, the Kansas Board of Regents recently enacted a new policy prohibiting institutions from requiring statements for or against DEI from individuals seeking employment, promotion, or admission to an academic program.

As the state’s flagship institution, the University of Kansas will comply with all laws and regulations.

How Does the New Law Apply to our Work at KU?

Hiring and Promotion

Effective immediately, the following steps should be taken to ensure compliance with the law and policy.

  • Faculty, staff and student job search processes must not include requests for statements regarding candidates’ commitment or support for diversity, equity, and inclusion or any political ideology or movement. Committee chairs of searches underway should ensure requests for such statements are removed, and any received statements must be disregarded and not considered by the committee.
  • Interview questions must not include questions that ask about candidates’ commitment or support for diversity, equity, and inclusion or any political ideology or movement ideology. Search chairs should ensure such questions are removed from any prepared question list and ensure committee members know such questions are not permitted under Kansas law. If candidates offer such statements or pledges, they must not be considered.
  • Future hiring announcements must not include requests for statements regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Any existing requests for statements must be stopped and any received statements must be disregarded by the committee.
  • Chairs and academic program directors are encouraged to begin reviewing their promotion and tenure policies now to ensure compliance with the new law and policy, particularly with regard to DEI statements. The law allows an institution to “consider, in good faith, a faculty member’s scholarship, teaching or subject-matter expertise in such faculty member’s academic field.” The P&T process at the University level does not seek or include DEI statements by faculty candidates. Faculty Affairs is facilitating a review of all departmental P&T policies. Please reach out to Faculty Affairs for guidance, especially if requirements for promotion are tied to professional organizations that express expectations for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We ask that you reach out directly to Faculty Affairs or Human Resources for support or clarification on questions related to hiring or promotion.

Student Admissions and Educational Aid

Our University-wide admissions processes at the undergraduate and graduate level do not require statements on diversity, equity and inclusion or political ideology. School and department-level processes, however, should be reviewed to ensure that any requests for such statements are removed. For those departments and programs that conduct applicant interviews, interview questions and discussion topics must not include topics on diversity, equity, and inclusion or political ideology or movement, or the applicant’s support or opposition of them.

In addition, any special awards, financial assistance programs, scholarship applications, or employment applications that request such statements must be reviewed to ensure they do not include prompts or questions on such topics.

Voluntary disclosure of support or opposition to DEI or political ideology or movement by a prospective student, regardless of how it was obtained, must not be used as a consideration for admission or aid awards.

Here are important steps to take.

  • Financial award applications must not request statements on how a student has applied or understands DEI or a political ideology or movement. Such statements that have been received must be disregarded.
  • Online information and print materials for admissions, financial aid awards or student jobs should be reviewed for requests for DEI or political ideology statements and revised if found.
  • Units should ensure DEI or political ideology questions are removed from any prepared question list and be certain faculty and staff participating in recruitment events know such questions are not permitted under Kansas law.

The law creates a $10,000 civil penalty for violations and authorizes action by KBOR and the Kansas Attorney General to investigate complaints and initiate litigation. Our compliance is critical. Thank you for working with us in community as we learn more about the law and policy interpretation.

Support for Academic Freedom and Antidiscrimination Laws

The law and policy both support freedom of speech. The law specifically states it does not limit or restrict the academic freedom of faculty or prevent faculty members from teaching, researching, or writing publications about diversity, equity, inclusion, or other topics.

The law and policy also do not affect the University’s prohibitions on discrimination and harassment, and they do not prevent the university from acting on alleged violations of those policies.  

We are exploring our obligations to university, school and program accreditation requirements and their standing under the new law and policy. While fulfilling DEI requirements for grant activity is supported by the policy, the law does not address this concern. We are developing FAQs that will be shared with Vice Provosts, Deans, Chairs and Directors by the end of the semester. Below this message is a list of individuals by area who also can provide guidance in the short term.

Continued Campus Engagement

Central to the law, as well as central to our own university community, is the expectation of respect for others. It is worth stating, we are still able to do important and meaningful community engagement on our campuses and beyond. This law does not diminish or hinder the work we need to do – and plan to do – to create a working, learning, and living environment that supports each person as they pursue their academic or professional goals.

The law, which you can read in full here, offers important protections for academic freedom, affirms authority of federal and state laws that apply to our teaching, research and service mission. These protections let us continue our collective efforts supporting all students, staff and faculty to ensure each Jayhawk is lifted and respected with dignity.

KU is an exceptional institution because each person brings their unique experiences and background to our university. We will continue to support each Jayhawk to provide opportunities for discovery, exchange, engagement and innovation that are best amplified by the rich contributions of our diverse students, staff, and faculty.

Thank you for all you do for KU.


Barb and Kim

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Kim Grunewald

Interim General Counsel & Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs


House Bill No. 2105

Kansas Board of Regents Policy, specific text begins on page 32.

For additional questions and support please call or talk with:

Your Equity Advisor in your school, administrative or affiliate unit

Faculty Affairs: Vice Provost Amy Mendenhall or Associate Vice Provost and Equity Advisor Mary Banwart

Human Resources: Interim Vice Provost Angie Loving, Assistant Vice Provost and Equity Advisor Jeff Chasen or Assistant Vice Provost Erin Duran

Student Affairs: Vice Provost Tammara Durham or Assistant Vice Provost and Equity Advisor Kevin Joseph

Graduate Studies: Senior Vice Provost Jen Roberts or Director of Professional Development and Communications and Equity Advisor Nicole Reiz

Undergraduate Education and Academic Success: Vice Provost Kim Warren or Director of Hawk Link and Native American Initiatives and Equity Advisor Melissa Peterson

International Affairs: Chief Internationalization Officer Charlie Bankart or Associate Vice Provost and Equity Advisor Roberta Pokphanh

Enrollment Management: Vice Provost Nick Stevens or Associate Director of Community Engagement Initiatives and Equity Advisor: Michael Chavez

General Counsel: Senior Associate General Counsel Mike Leitch