Why Are Indian Americans Disappointed with University of North Carolina? And Why an Indian-American Member’s Vote Sparked a Debate

Written on 06/10/2024
Asia91 Team

The Indian American community is frustrated after the UNC System Board of Governors voted to repeal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at North Carolina’s public universities. The decision, including a vote from Indian American member Swadesh Chatterjee, has sparked significant backlash, especially given the growing Asian American population in the state.


  • Background: The UNC System Board of Governors voted to repeal existing DEI requirements, replacing them with a new policy that virtually bans such efforts. The decision was supported by all but two of the board’s 24 voting members, including Swadesh Chatterjee, the board’s sole Indian American member.


  • Community Reaction: Indian American leaders, like Shruti Parikh from North Carolina Asian Americans Together, criticized the move, highlighting the importance of DEI in ensuring equal opportunities and representation. The community feels betrayed by Chatterjee's vote, which they believe does not reflect their interests.


  • Impact on Universities: The previous DEI policy mandated top-level administrators to oversee diversity efforts and allocated resources to support underrepresented students and faculty. With the repeal, offices like the one at UNC-Chapel Hill, which supports racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ students, and low-income students, are now at risk.


The decision has caused a significant rift within the Indian American community, reflecting the diverse opinions on DEI. While some support the repeal, many feel it undermines efforts to ensure fair representation and opportunities.