Saturday, August 07, 2021

Small: OU, OSU have more ‘diversity’ staff than history faculty

OCPA President Jonathan Small

OU, OSU have more ‘diversity’ staff than history faculty
By Jonathan Small 

New departments, centers, and programs are popping up left and right on college campuses across the country. Their stated focus? To promote “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) on campus. 

Unfortunately, those benign-sounding words don’t necessarily mean what you think they mean. 

Instead, DEI is all about identity politics, equality of outcomes (with reparations, if necessary), and attacks on freedom of speech and other principles foundational to the American way of life.

At the University of Oklahoma there is a specific office devoted to DEI efforts. Oklahoma State University likewise has a division dedicated to “institutional diversity.” And more and more DEI-focused programs means more and more diversity bureaucrats needed to run them. 

A new study from The Heritage Foundation examined how many DEI staff were employed at 65 major universities across the United States. They found most universities’ DEI staff outnumbered the schools’ history faculties. And Oklahoma was no exception. 

The Heritage Foundation scholars found that OU and OSU combined employ 61 DEI staff members. (In reality, the study says, this is a very conservative count and is in fact “an undercount of the true extent of DEI activities at universities.”)

Meanwhile, the combined history faculty count at OU and OSU is 50.

The folks in executive positions leading DEI programs at these schools both take home hefty six-figure paychecks for their efforts. The OU bureaucrat who oversees the school’s “diversity” efforts receives $230,000 while OSU chief diversity official is paid $200,299.

This is a heavy cost for parents and taxpayers. But what are the returns? “Data show that colleges’ vast DEI bureaucracy has little relationship to students’ satisfaction with their college or their personal experiences with diversity,” the Heritage scholars found. 

With these poor returns, how do bureaucrats justify spending more tax dollars on endless DEI panels, workshops, events, and staffers—while raising tuition to help pay for it all? 

And to make matters worse, many DEI-focused training (paid by taxpayers) offered to students and staff are cloaked in mystery. 

In the past two years, OU has repeatedly denied outside organizations access to mandatory training materials for students and staff. However, as DEI training materials from OU have been leaked to journalists, it’s clear they are strongly focused on “social justice” and so-called “antiracism” efforts. (“Antiracism,” by the way, is simply racism masquerading as antiracism.)

And this is exactly what the progressive left wants: to ensure universities are churning out social justice warriors, all on the taxpayers’ dime. If this ideology takes hold in students, social-justice progressivism will infiltrate every institution as they bring their values and beliefs to all industries as they enter the workforce. 

As Claremont Institute scholar Arthur Milkh points out, these ideological shifts are already happening at institutions in the United States. “The regime of identity politics has already conquered nearly all of America’s major institutions and dominates the moral high ground,” he writes. “The universities and schools, Fortune 500 companies, much of the media and image-making industries, Big Tech, and the administrative state are put to use waging war on the American way of life. … A new Right needs a tougher, more sober approach to the Left’s assets: the adversarial press and media, Big Tech oligopolies, and corrupt universities.”

Milkih is correct. Conservatives must proactively engage in the ideological fight on campus. That starts with vigilant scrutiny of DEI efforts at universities.

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