The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors unanimously approved a new policy Feb. 23 banning schools from forcing employees or applicants to agree with certain political viewpoints as a condition of employment or acceptance as a student. The Board of Governors OK’d the policy as part of its consent agenda without debate.

The policy prohibits any school from forcing individuals to “affirmatively ascribe to or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement.”

If school administrators believe that agreement with a certain viewpoint is needed to “the educational, research, or public service mission” of the school, they are required to “obtain prior written approval to include such a requirement or solicitation from the President following discussion in open session of a meeting of the Committee on University Governance attended by the requesting constituent institution’s chancellor, its provost, and its chair of its board of trustees.”

The approval of the new policy comes just days after N.C. State University reversed course a requiring applicants to answer an essay question affirming the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda.

Beginning with applications in 2021, N.C. State included an essay question on applications saying the university is “committed to building a just and inclusive community” and rejects “unjust or inhumane treatment” and will denounce it “clearly and loudly.” The university then prompts students to write a maximum 250-word essay describing “what those words mean to you and how you will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive environment.”

According to the N.C. State media relations department, the school will no longer require applicants to answer the question moving forward.