March 1, 2024

Board of Trustees votes to keep Kinsey Institute at IU

Indiana University president Pamela Whitten speaks at the board of trustees meeting Friday in New Albany.  - George Hale / WTIU

Indiana University president Pamela Whitten speaks at the board of trustees meeting Friday in New Albany.

George Hale / WTIU

The IU Board of Trustees is keeping the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

Following the suggestion of university President Pamela Whitten, the trustees voted unanimously Friday morning to approve an accounting solution and forego turning the Institute into a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The trustees met with Whitten and other university leaders at their quarterly meeting at IU Southeast in New Albany.

A solution is necessary to comply with a law passed last year barring state funds to the Institute.

The university’s original proposal to separate from the Institute met strong pushback from Kinsey faculty, staff and supporters.

working group established by the university recommended that the trustees pursue an accounting fix instead.

In an official statement, the university said its solution would maintain faculty affiliation with Kinsey and keep the collections intact.

Whitten told the trustees that their decision to keep Kinsey represented the university's commitment to academic freedom.

“It's with these principles in mind that I affirm the university's commitment to ensuring that the Kinsey Institute, its name, research scholarship, collection and educational initiatives continue at Indiana University,” she said.

IU acknowledged it would work to meet the key recommendations of that group by helping with fundraising, pushing back against misinformation, funding faculty and staff “to the full extent allowable by law” and providing security.

Kinsey research assistant Melissa Blundell Osorio came to Friday's meeting to protest against separation. She said she had no idea what to expect but is thrilled with the outcome.

“We've definitely been fighting for this since October when the proposal to sever Kinsey was first introduced,” she said. “It's really amazing and reaffirming to know that the university is listening, is paying attention and hearing our concerns.”

She was joined by Anne Jones, a 13-year volunteer with the Kinsey Institute.

“Being 79 gives me a lot of perspective on this issue,” she said. “The Kinsey Institute stands for everything that I believe: for freedom of expression, for support for all individuals but especially for young people.”

Director of the Kinsey Institute Justin Garcia sent the following statement to Indiana Public Media: "We are grateful to the IU Board of Trustees and IU leadership for recognizing the importance of the Institute’s contributions in advancing scientific knowledge and discourse about sexuality, relationships, gender, and reproduction. Maintaining the Kinsey Institute as part of Indiana University protects our critical research and demonstrates IU’s commitment to the Kinsey Institute’s research enterprise and its faculty, staff, and students." The rest of the statement is included below.

The university will submit its plan to the Indiana State Board of Accounts for review. More details on the accounting solution are not yet available, although the working group’s proposal is accessible here.

This story will be updated. This story has been updated to include statements by Whitten, Garcia and Blundell Osorio.

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