ACTA in the News | Costs

How one college spends more than $30M on 241 DEI staffers … and the damage it does to kids

NEW YORK POST   |  January 12, 2024 by Steven McGuire

One day after winning the national college football championship, the University of Michigan was recognized as a leading competitor in another popular collegiate sport: wasteful diversity, equity and inclusion spending.

Having recently embarked on a new five-year DEI plan, UM is paying more than $30 million to 241 DEI staffers this academic year alone, Mark Perry found in a recent analysis for the College Fix.

That represents an astounding expansion of the school’s already-infamous DEI bureaucracy, which had a mere 142 employees last year.

And the price tag accounts for neither the money spent on programming and office expenses nor the hundreds of other employees who use some of their time to assist with DEI initiatives.

These expenditures are a reckless waste of taxpayer money considering the impact of UM’s last five-year plan.

It cost $85 million, and what did it accomplish? 

According to the university’s Black Student Union, “85 million dollars was spent on DEI efforts and yet, Black students’ experience on campus has hardly improved.”

Hispanic and Asian enrollments increased, but black enrollment dropped slightly from 4.3% in 2016 to 3.9% in 2021.

And the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “The percentage of students who were satisfied with the overall campus climate decreased from 72 percent in 2016 to 61 percent in 2021.”

These results are consistent with findings at other institutions.

A Claremont Institute study of Texas A&M University found that despite an annual DEI budget of $11 million, the percentage of students who felt they belonged at the school dropped significantly from 2015 to 2020: Among whites, the number went from 92% to 82%; among Hispanics, from 88% to 76%.

Among blacks, there was an astonishing drop from 82% to 55%.

At the University of California, Berkeley, whose Division of Equity and Inclusion boasts 152 staffers and a $36 million budget, black undergraduate enrollment dropped from 3% in 2010 to 2% in 2021.

The truth is that DEI does not work and frequently makes matters worse.

DEI trainings not only fail to achieve their purposes but often exacerbate grievances and divisions by antagonizing people and teaching them to monitor one another for microaggressions and implicit biases.

DEI often leads to illegal activities, too.

The University of Washington recently revealed, for example, that its psychology department actively discriminated against faculty candidates based on race, elevating a lower-ranked candidate for a position over others because of a desire to hire a black scholar.

In another case, a former assistant director of multicultural student services at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently filed a lawsuit alleging that despite exemplary performance reviews, she was harassed and discriminated against simply for being white, until she resigned.

“We don’t want white people in the MSS office,” a student reportedly said during an open house.

Even with the failures and the excesses, Michigan is not the only school ramping up its DEI expenditures.

Another College Fix analysis found that Ohio taxpayers are spending $20.38 million annually on DEI salaries and benefits at UM’s famous rival, Ohio State University, where the number of DEI bureaucrats has grown from 88 in 2018 to 189 in 2023.

Oklahoma’s public universities spent $83.4 million on DEI over the last 10 years.

Florida’s public universities reported spending $34.5 million during the 2022-23 academic year.

The University of Wisconsin was poised to spend $32 million over the next two years.

Why not use all that money to give students a much-needed tuition break?

Or why not fund need-based scholarships for promising students instead of giving cash to bureaucrats who are actively damaging our higher education institutions?

Fortunately, some states are taking action.

Florida and Texas passed laws eliminating DEI bureaucracies, and Wisconsin lawmakers recently curbed DEI in the state university system by compelling the board of regents to agree to DEI staff cuts and a hiring freeze.

Many other state systems have ended the use of DEI statements in hiring, recognizing they are used to screen out heterodox thinkers when studies show ideological diversity is beneficial to the search for knowledge, which is a university’s core purpose.

And that points to the greatest cost of DEI: While the financial waste is appalling, the price of expecting everyone on campus to conform to an ideology that undermines free expression and excludes intellectual diversity, two foundational values of the academy, is one we should be unwilling to pay.

This post appeared on New York Post on January 11, 2024


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