August 31, 2021

The cost of going to college has skyrocketed in recent years.  When taxpayers find out where their money really goes, they might not be happy.

A fascinating article from the Martin Center for Academic Renewal examined the growing administrative bureaucracy on campuses created to advance the latest social justice efforts – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. (DEI)

The article centers on a Heritage Foundation piece called Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy, authored by Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul.

This examination illustrates how the Left shrewdly doesn’t waste time pushing its “woke” agenda on middle age or older folks but clearly has a focus to introduce hostile and divisive principles to the vulnerable and impressionable minds of our young people in schools and universities.

Greene and Paul’s article focuses on how colleges have made DEI a central focus of higher education.

Whole layers of staff have been hired to implement and coerce students to absorb these tenets. People have been hired to run central offices on campuses with fancy titles like Senior Associate Vice President for Diversity and Equity (Louisville), Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships (Virginia), Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer (Ohio State), and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (Iowa State). At the University of Michigan there is a Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Implementation for the DEI Strategic Plan; at Virginia Tech the Assistant Provost for Diversity Education and Programs is supported by a Director of Diversity Education Programs and a Director of Diversity Engagement.

Their study showed there are 3.4 staff positions for every 100 tenured faculty in America’s colleges.

Here in North Carolina, the report showed UNC has 4.1 DEI personnel per 100 tenured faculty, Duke 3.4 per 100, Wake Forest 3.4 per 100, and NC State 3.2 per 100 faculty.

To give context, Greene and Paul showed there are 13.3 times as many college administrative staff devoted to promoting DEI at UNC-Chapel Hill as staff assigned to providing services and accommodations to students with disabilities as required by law (ADA).

What do DEI personnel do?

The report said “most universities have units that cover the entire university with general responsibility for developing policies, programs, and services to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the institution.”  At larger universities organized into several academically-focused “colleges,” diversity staffing “tend to be replicated within a number of colleges.”

The upshot of the report was what you might surmise – so much of this growth is politically driven.  The growth of DEI bureaucracies at our universities – mostly paid for with taxpayer money – is due to a political agenda.

Greene and Paul state it clearly: “Employing dozens of DEI professionals—in the form of chief diversity officers, assistant deans for diversity, and directors for inclusive excellence—may be better understood as jobs programs subsidizing political activism without improving campus climate. In light of these findings, state legislators and donors who fund these institutions may wish to examine DEI efforts more closely to ensure university resources are used effectively.”

Everywhere you turn, liberals have crawled into the nooks and crannies of our country’s institutions  spreading the virus of anti-common sense, anti-free enterprise, and anti-freedom provocation that threatens to pull apart the fabric that has held together our culture for years and years.

There’s two issues here.  Number one – what they teach is divisive.  Number two is the surprising bureaucratic “woke bloat” cost and agenda overreach at our schools and colleges, often funded by taxpayer dollars.

There’s only so much educational time and bandwidth every day.  If so much time and money is spent on forcing students to become “woke,” is enough time being spent on what common-sense, rational people would expect is needed to educate children on the basics in elementary and secondary schools and our young people in college?

And one more thing.  As some colleges have been forced to cut back programs due to COVID-19 uncertainties – where do you think they’re making the cuts – in administration?  Heck No, they’re cutting classes in economics and history.  But you better bet the DEI administrative layer will survive.  Just like the Washington bureaucracy is rarely touched when Congress makes government cutbacks.

The General Assembly needs to check out the cost of funding the “woke” agenda – like DEI at our universities. How much is spent to re-educate our kids on these suddenly-important social trends?  Let’s clarify whether state funding is being spent wisely – or on promotion of the “woke” agenda.  Get out that sharp pencil and let’s see the cost.