Indiana University Trustees Back President Whitten’s Moves to Safeguard Kinsey Institute

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Staff report

Bloomington, IN — March 1, 2024

The Indiana University Board of Trustees, in a unanimous decision on Friday, endorsed the recommendations put forth by IU President Pamela Whitten to safeguard the Kinsey Institute. The measures aim to secure the institute’s continued affiliation with the university while upholding the principles of academic freedom and intellectual inquiry, according to a press release from Indiana University.

President Whitten’s proposal, accepted by the board, outlined steps to ensure compliance with Indiana Code 21-20-6, prohibiting the use of state appropriations for the Kinsey Institute. Rather than establishing a 501c3 for the institute, the university will submit a proposed plan to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, outlining its commitment to align with the state law.

Board Chair Quinn Buckner stated, “By endorsing the president’s recommendation today, the board’s action represents a clear commitment to the future excellence of Indiana University.” The board emphasized its dedication to collaborative efforts with President Whitten and faculty to shape the long-term trajectory of the university.

Background: The Kinsey Institute, originally founded as the Institute for Sex Research in 1947, was a nonprofit corporation affiliated with Indiana University. It merged officially with the university in December 2016. In response to HB 1001 passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2023, restricting state appropriations for the Kinsey Institute, IU initiated a comprehensive process to comply with the law while preserving the institute’s research independence.

Following the board’s request for additional due diligence, IU Bloomington Provost Rahul Shrivastav organized a Kinsey Institute Working Group. This group conducted listening sessions and gathered feedback from the IU community, shaping the recommendations presented to the Board of Trustees.

Preserving the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University: The university will now formulate and submit a plan to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, ensuring no state appropriations fund the Kinsey Institute. The plan, designed for compliance with state law, will affirm faculty affiliation and preserve the Kinsey Institute Collections for continued research access.

President Whitten remarked, “With the action taken today, we are taking steps to ensure that the Kinsey Institute remains a beacon of intellectual inquiry.”

Indiana University’s Commitment to the Kinsey Institute: Building on the Kinsey Institute Working Group report, IU leadership committed to supporting the institute’s mission. This includes efforts to secure sustainable philanthropic support, affirmation of the institute’s work, continued funding for faculty and staff salaries, and providing security measures for affiliated facilities.

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