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Trustees endorse President Whitten’s recommendations to protect Kinsey Institute

Mar 1, 2024

The Indiana University Board of Trustees voted Friday to approve a recommendation from IU President Pamela Whitten that sets in motion steps to protect the Kinsey Institute, ensure its continued affiliation with the university, and affirm the importance of academic freedom and intellectual inquiry at Indiana University.

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At the president’s recommendation, the board voted unanimously to forgo the establishment of a 501c3 for the Kinsey Institute. Instead, the university will develop and submit a proposed plan with the Indiana State Board of Accounts to ensure compliance with Indiana Code 21-20-6, which requires that no state appropriations are used in the operations of the Kinsey Institute. The board also approved the president’s recommendation that the university maintain ongoing support for the success of the Kinsey Institute to the full extent allowable by state statute.

“By endorsing the president’s recommendation today, the board’s action represents a clear commitment to the future excellence of Indiana University,” Board Chair Quinn Buckner said. “As a board, we look forward to our continued collaboration with President Whitten and IU faculty to shape the long-term trajectory of the university.”

Background

The Kinsey Institute was established in 1947 as the Institute for Sex Research, a nonprofit corporation affiliated with Indiana University. It was set up as a separate entity primarily to protect the confidentiality of Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s research. The institute officially merged with Indiana University in December 2016.

Following the Indiana General Assembly’s passage of HB 1001 in 2023 — which prohibited the use of state appropriations for the Kinsey Institute — IU leadership instituted a thorough process to determine how the university would best comply with the law while protecting the world-class and independent research of the Kinsey Institute.

At the previous meeting of the Board of Trustees, the board requested additional due diligence before voting on a proposal. IU Bloomington Provost Rahul Shrivastav convened a Kinsey Institute Working Group to conduct listening sessions and seek feedback from the IU community before issuing recommendations to the Office of the Provost. Those recommendations played a significant role in crafting the steps announced Friday.

Preserving the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University

Following Friday’s meeting, the university will prepare and submit a plan to the Indiana State Board of Accounts in accordance with the board’s vote, ensuring that no state appropriations fund the operations of the Kinsey Institute.

This plan, once reviewed and implemented, would establish clear compliance with state law, including the prohibition of state appropriations to support the Kinsey Institute. The plan will also maintain faculty affiliation with the Kinsey Institute and preservation of the Kinsey Institute Collections to ensure they remain complete, intact and open to the research community — as part of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

“With the action taken today, we are taking steps to ensure that the Kinsey Institute remains a beacon of intellectual inquiry,” Whitten said. “I offer my thanks to the Board of Trustees for their unwavering commitment and support.”

Indiana University’s commitment to the Kinsey Institute

Based on key recommendations from the Kinsey Institute Working Group report, university leadership has also committed to actions to support the Kinsey Institute and its mission:

  • With the counsel of the IU Foundation, support efforts by the Kinsey Institute leadership to secure sustainable philanthropic support to expand the work and groundbreaking research of the Kinsey Institute.
  • Continue to affirm the valuable work of the Kinsey Institute, which has faced continued opposition fueled by misinformation.
  • To the full extent allowable by law, continue to provide funding for faculty and staff salaries and ensure faculty and staff maintain their current affiliation with the institute.
  • Continue to provide appropriate security measures for facilities affiliated with the Kinsey Institute.

Author

IU Newsroom

Barbara Brosher

Executive Director of Storytelling and Research Communications, and Interim Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications

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