Colleges have been around for centuries. College students have also been around for centuries. Yet, college administrators assume that today’s students have needs that were unknown to their predecessors. Those needs include diversity and equity personnel, with massive budgets to accommodate.

According to Minding the Campus, Penn State University’s Office of Vice Provost for Educational Equity employs 66 staff members. The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of 93 full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts and coordinators. Amherst College, with a student body of 1,800 students employs 19 diversity people. Top college diversity bureaucrats earn salaries six figures, in some cases approaching $500,000 per year. In the case of the University of Michigan, a quarter (26) of their diversity officers earn annual salaries of more than $100,000. If you add generous fringe benefits and other expenses, you could easily be talking about $13 million a year in diversity costs. The Economist reports that University of California, Berkeley, has 175 diversity bureaucrats.

Diversity officials are a growing part of a college bureaucracy structure that outnumbers faculty by 2 to 2.5 depending on the college. According to “The Campus Diversity Swarm,” an article from Mark Pulliam, a contributing editor at Law and Liberty, which appeared in the City Journal (10/10/2018), diversity people assist in the cultivation of imaginary grievances of an ever-growing number of “oppressed” groups. Pulliam writes: “The mission of campus diversity officers is self-perpetuating. Affirmative action (i.e., racial and ethnic preferences in admissions) leads to grievance studies. Increased recognition of LGBTQ rights requires ever-greater accommodation by the rest of the student body. Protecting vulnerable groups from hate speech and microaggressions requires speech codes and bias-response teams (staffed by diversocrats). Complaints must be investigated and adjudicated (by diversocrats). Fighting toxic masculinity and combating an imaginary epidemic of campus sexual assault necessitate consent protocols, training and hearing procedures — more work for an always-growing diversocrat cadre. Each newly recognized problem leads to a call for more programs and staffing.”

Campus diversity people have developed their own professional organization — the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. They hold annual conferences — the last one in Philadelphia. The NADOHE has developed standards for professional practice and a political agenda, plus a Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

One wonders just how far spineless college administrators will go when it comes to caving in to the demands of campus snowflakes who have been taught that they must be protected against words, events and deeds that do not fully conform to their extremely limited, narrow-minded beliefs built on sheer delusion.

Generosity demands that we forgive these precious snowflakes and hope that they eventually grow up. The real problem is with people assumed to be grown-ups — college professors and administrators — who serve their self-interest by tolerating and giving aid and comfort to our aberrant youth. Unless the cycle of promoting and nursing imaginary grievances is ended, diversity bureaucracies will take over our colleges and universities, supplanting altogether the goal of higher education.

“Diversity” is the highest goal of students and professors who openly detest those with whom they disagree. These people support the very antithesis of higher education with their withering attacks on free speech.

Both in and out of academia, the content of a man’s character is no longer as important as the color of his skin, his sex, his sexual preferences or his political loyalties.

That’s a vision that spells tragedy for our nation.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

(3) comments

diana@yiustrange.com

I don’t think this really an indictment on college spending as much as it is on colleges spending money on something Williams doesn’t like: diversity.

His quote about “self perpetuating” diversity work is nonsense. His argument is that hiring people to try to protect the underrepresented from aggressive action requires investigations and training; these investigations and training require more staffing. First, he doesn’t offer any evidence that the statement is true. You hire diversity officials to create these programs and training. You don’t necessarily hire one group to identify the problem and one group to solve the problem.

Obviously, a college over hiring can be an issue, just like any business. I have personally worked for companies that hire two people to do one job, for reasons that I don’t understand. However, that is absolutely unrelated to diversity training.

Furthermore, implying that colleges got along fine without diversity training for years is a terrible argument. Just because something didn’t exist, and then suddenly did exist, doesn’t mean that things were better before. What if I said “tobacco has been around for centuries. Tobacco smokers have also been around for centuries. Yet, surgeon generals assume that today’s smokers have needs that were unknown to their predecessors. Those needs include warnings on every box of cigarettes, with massive budgets to accommodate.” That wouldn’t be a valid argument until I explain why I think surgeon general warnings are a waste of money.

Williams implies why diversity training is a waste of money by using phrases like “imaginary epidemic of campus sexual assault”. However, studies show that sexual assault reporting have increased since 2001 (https://www.wsj.com/articles/reports-of-sexual-assault-rising-sharply-on-college-campuses-1462375421). Before Walter steps in and says that “most of the reporting is phony”, only about 2 - 10 percent are proven false (https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Overview_False-Reporting.pdf). This research would imply that the epidemic is far from imaginary.

It is within Walter Williams’ right to decide that diversity training is not worth the money. However, I can’t really see anything in this piece that successfully argues that diversity training isn’t working, or costs too much. It may convince people who already believe this, but Williams certainly isn’t interested in convincing anyone of his point.

scottldavidson1965@gmail.com

Walter is a horrible economist but he raises an important issue here. Universities are wasting so much money on things that have absolutely nothing or very little to do with the actual purpose of the universities, that is educating students and conducting research. Look no further than Appalachian and all the waste on that campus. If you follow the money, education and research is the very last priority of Appalachian's administration. Seriously, it is like the administration doesn't even know that the university's purpose is education and research. The administration is spending tens of millions, including taxpayer money, on pet projects that have little to nothing to do with learning and reserch, such as tailgates, games, bounce houses, diversity training, a 100k chapel (Sheri Shed) at the entrance, $2.5 million to move dirt closer to the football field to make fans at 6 home games louder, $250k raise for AD so he is extremely over market salary, $10 million to replace atlhetic facilities that are perfectly fine (and still being paid off)....all while the administration says there is no money for faculty, classrooms, student services and research. Incompetence and backward priorities.

The result is that Appalachian has become a joke among high school students, and next is it becoming a joke to employers. Yes, it's a problem on many campuses, but that is not an excuse for this administration to fall into the same bad behavior. This administration is ruining a once highly regarded university.

BFrank

You nailed it. I was a Caltech employee for many years. Long enough to see it all. The place is way overrated. Their diversity efforts were a joke and an insult to any "minority" with self respect. My daughter is Hispanic. She didn't go to college on the Elizabeth Warren program. She worked really hard at helping to pay for school and getting great grades. She graduated from NYU and Brooklyn College at the same time, with honors. She was offered free rides to Columbia and Harvard. She told me that her four years in NYC was an abysmal waste of time and as far as Columbia and Harvard were concerned, she wasn't going to waste her time with that liberal garbage.

She is a very successful business woman. She got the degrees because I asked her to. I told her that a BS is simply a union card but it is one of the few things that can never be taken from her.

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