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These Cushy DEI Gigs Have Got to Go

October 16, 2023

$25 million at the University of California, Berkeley. $18 million at the University of Michigan. More than $4 million at the University of Central Florida. That’s how much these big-name public universities are pouring into “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) programs—in just one year. Students, though, deserve better than racial discrimination under the guise of DEI—and students and taxpayers should certainly not be forced to foot the bill for the DEI bureaucracy that’s pervading universities across America. But Goldwater is dismantling the DEI regime: so that neither students (with their tuition) nor taxpayers (with their tax dollars) have to subsidize this racially divisive ideology.

A recent Campus Reform report reveals the blistering extent to which cushy DEI administrative positions have metastasized in both cost and scope across the ivory tower of higher education. The University of California, San Diego, for instance, is hiring a “Talent Diversity Champion”—a position that promises a yearly salary of $100,000 to $130,000. The University of Michigan, for its part, was recently offering between $85,000 and $93,500 for a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead” in its human resources department. Meanwhile, the Ventura County Community College District in California advertised for a “Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” position paying between $104,000 and $139,000

These anecdotes are symptoms of a deeper rot afflicting higher education. A Heritage Foundation study focusing on the 65 universities in the “Power Five” athletic conferences revealed that on average, each school employed 45 DEI personnel, or 3.4 DEI personnel for every 100 tenured or tenure-track faculty. And DEI officers have taken it upon themselves to enforce rigid conformity to DEI in every aspect of university life, from faculty hiring and training to classroom content.

The proliferation of DEI administrators within the swamp of university middle management has made public universities less inclined to respect the fundamental principles of free speech and open debate that allow for free academic inquiry.

In recent years, schools like Virginia Tech, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Michigan have come under fire for weaponizing bias-response teams—mechanisms by which progressives can police student speech and intimidate students into self-censorship under the guise of investigating “bias.” In fact, more than 250 public collegeshave some form of bias-response team, according to a 2022 American Enterprise Institute report. Meanwhile, DEI officers at San Francisco State University gave a wink and nod to the attempted censorship of a conservative speaker, while bureaucrats at Arizona State University have punished faculty who facilitated a conservative speaking event.

It’s all part of the sprawling DEI apparatus in higher education—DEI bureaucracies push “woke” ideologies on students and faculty, bias-response teams punish the slightest deviation from the script of political correctness, and university bureaucrats silence dissenting voices.

But the Goldwater Institute is challenging the DEI regime and paving the path toward a rebirth of academic freedom in higher education.

In Texas, Goldwater enacted the nation’s most powerful reform that completely defunds DEI bureaucracies in public universities.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Goldwater Institute’s nation-leading reform to prohibit the use of political litmus tests for hiring and promotions.

And in Arizona, the state’s public university system stopped requiring these mandatory political litmus tests – known as “diversity statements” – after a Goldwater report exposed their disturbing prevalence.

So long as university bureaucrats continue to enforce compliance with their racially discriminatory DEI initiatives, Goldwater will defend all those who do not wish to be complicit in propagating the destructive DEI agenda.

Mark Habelt is a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute.



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