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Tax Day Alert: DEI Schemes Diverting Millions of Hard-Earned Dollars

April 11, 2024

Tax Day is looming, and government is spending record amounts of your hard-earned money. But instead of looking for ways to cut back on waste, unelected government bureaucrats are funding divisive “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) schemes that mandate discrimination in public universities and government agencies—on the taxpayers’ dime.

In Oklahoma, public universities had poured a staggering $83 million into DEI initiatives over the past decade, as of 2023. Florida’s public universities burned through $34 million, according to a report earlier this year, while the University of Michigan expended $30 million just last year, the first of its five-year “Diversity 2.0 Plan.”

This is all money that could have gone toward making education more affordable or enhancing academic programs. With the average cost of a four-year public college degree soaring to over $100,000, every dollar counts. Instead, these funds are being channeled into promoting a progressive agenda. Nor is this fair to taxpayers, who amid rising inflation and turbulent economic headwinds, are forced to fork over a slice of their paycheck to a government that spends their money shoving DEI down the throats of students and faculty alike.

Indeed, there’s very little evidence showing these programs actually benefit students or faculty, or improve the quality of education and campus life.

Consider Arizona’s public university system, where taxpayer-funded discrimination runs rampant in almost every phase of campus life. Until Goldwater Institute pressure led to the end of the practice, up to 80% of faculty job listings at the state’s three public universities forced applicants to submit a progressive loyalty oath, or diversity statement. Meanwhile, Goldwater is currently suing one of those schools, Arizona State University (ASU), on behalf of a popular professor who could face discipline from his superiors for refusing to take a DEI training, which is mandatory for all faculty, in violation of the law. Moreover, a Goldwater report revealed ASU forces students at its Walker Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to take a mandatory course that teaches them to avoid “microaggressions” and check their “privilege”—part of the left’s attempts to turn a top journalism school into a breeding ground for progressive activists.

Our efforts not only eliminated mandatory “diversity statements” in Arizona but also led to significant reform in Florida, where Goldwater led the charge to ban mandatory “diversity statements” and other discriminatory techniques used to enforce ideological conformity on campuses. And in Texas, we enacted the nation’s most powerful reform to completely defund DEI in public higher education.

 But the problem isn’t confined to universities. Even local government agencies are taking advantage of tax dollars. Take Gilbert, for instance, where the Office of Digital Government is devouring over $1 million taxpayer money in salaries alone every single year. This Orwellian office is tasked with monitoring the online speech of town employees and elected officials to enforce adherence to a progressive agenda, as a Goldwater Institute/AZ Free Newsinvestigative report reveals.

This Tax Day, as you gather your documents and calculate your contributions to the government purse, consider where your money is truly going. Americans deserve to choose how their hard-earned money is spent, without being forced to fund political ideologies with which they disagree. The Goldwater Institute is demanding accountability and ensuring responsible use of tax dollars, free from divisive agendas. It’s time to end DEI and reclaim our tax dollars for the good of our communities and future generations.

Cameron Teel is a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute.

Joe Setyon is a Senior Communications Manager at the Goldwater Institute. 



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