Commentary

Study: More Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Staff Than History Profs at Average Campus

By Jarrett Stepman | August 3, 2021 | 10:26am EDT
A graduation cap is displayed against stacks of money. (Photo credit: Harold M. Lambert/Contributor/Getty Images)
A graduation cap is displayed against stacks of money. (Photo credit: Harold M. Lambert/Contributor/Getty Images)

The woke revolution on college campuses is being bolstered by a vast network of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” staffers who gobble up school budgets and enforce left-wing orthodoxy.

A recently released paper by Jay Greene, a fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, and James Paul, a doctoral fellow at the University of Arkansas, sheds light on the inflation of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff on modern college campuses. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The study examined the personnel at “65 universities representing 16 percent of all students in four-year institutions in the United States.” It found that a significant number of personnel at those universities are devoted solely to the task of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Of course, general administrative bloat on college campuses is nothing new. There has been a sustained growth in administration in recent decades that has contributed to a drastically higher cost of education and tuition. It certainly has outpaced by far the increase in the number of employees engaged in teaching students or conducting research.

That alone should be cause for concern as a college degree weighs more heavily on students, many of whom are saddled with enormous student loan debt and increasingly questionable job prospects.

Perhaps worse, it’s becoming a bigger problem for taxpayers, many of whom never received a college degree or gained the benefits of one. When legislators and donors provide money for higher education, is that really what they think they are investing in?

The study’s authors found that “the average university has 45.1 people tasked with promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and that at some schools, the number is much higher. They found that the University of Michigan, for instance, has 163 diversity, equity, and inclusion personnel and that many other schools had similarly high numbers.

It seems that that emphasis is overtaking what one would assume is the core function of higher education; namely, teaching students.

For instance, the authors of the study compared the number of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff with the number of history professors typically on campuses and found that the average institution has “1.4 times as many DEI personnel as tenured or tenure-track history professors.”

At many schools, there were twice the number of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff as history professors.

What’s worse is that the total staff and faculty devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives is likely much higher than what the study uncovered. As its authors note, “the DEI personnel count is likely an underestimate of universities’ commitment to DEI.” There are likely a huge number of staff on campus who do not include diversity, equity, and inclusion in their job titles, yet spend most of their time working on those goals.

Is the surge in diversity, equity, and inclusion staff on college campuses making them more welcoming places? That’s doubtful.

“Universities—especially those that are publicly funded—should be welcoming to all students, and it is admirable that inclusion is a priority for so many institutions of higher education,” they wrote. “Having said that, this research suggests that large DEI bureaucracies appear to make little positive contribution to campus climate.”

It’s more likely that the surge in diversity, equity, and inclusion personnel “may be better understood as a signal of adherence to ideological, political, and activist goals.”

It’s hardly news at this point that a commitment to “diversity” in modern academia not only ignores a diversity of viewpoints (where diversity actually matters), but often actively precludes it.

Instead of producing more desirable results for students, the explosion of diversity, equity, and inclusion staff both reinforces ideological dogmas while providing high-paying jobs to an empowered activist class.

“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,” the authors of The Heritage Foundation study wrote.

This explosion in diversity, equity, and inclusion staff is certainly in line with larger trends in American society as diversity consultants operate to inculcate woke orthodoxies in elite institutions.

Swarms of diversity, equity, and inclusion officers enforce left-wing ideology on college campuses, corporate boardrooms, government agencies, and even K-12 schools. It has become a vast, hive-mind apparatus that keeps activists employed, dissenters cowed, and the revolution moving forward.

They are the glue holding together this top-down social revolution being foisted on America and much of the rest of the West.

Americans, regardless of ideology or background, pay for the wastefulness of our colleges and universities.

But Americans are not only paying the salaries of the swarms of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators who eat out our substance; we are paying an even higher price for the destructive ideologies they impose and reinforce.

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, "The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America's Past."

Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal.

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