Analysis: The Destructive Power Of ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ Doesn’t Stop At Higher Education
Prof. Jacobson: “At Cornell, they now require DEI statements from all new hires, faculty hires, and all faculty promotions. So as warped as the ideological outlook is among faculty in universities, it’s going to get worse….”
Less than a decade ago, the concept of ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,’ or DEI, was limited to progressive academic circles on liberal college campuses.
Today, it is an industry within higher education which is rapidly infiltrating every other industry in America, from the media to Hollywood. Its hold on higher education is the strongest, and it is there where it is doing the most damage.
Colleges and universities are requiring ‘diversity statements’ from prospective hires and many schools require students to take courses on the subject. Failure to embrace this ideology can mean the loss of a job or cancelation from polite society. DEI now stands in the way of everything. It is, in many ways, more important that the subjects being taught in classrooms.
A new article from John Sailer of the National Association of Scolars, writing at the Free Press delves into this ideology and the negative effect it is having on higher education.
Sailer begins by telling the story of UCLA Professor Gordon Klein, who was suspended from his job following student outrage when he refused to give special grading treatment to black students after the death of George Floyd. Klein sued and was reinstated, but the bar had been set. Progressive student mobs now knew that DEI could be used as a political weapon, which is precisely what it has become.
Sailer goes on to describe what DEI claims to be and what it really is:
The principles commonly known as “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) are meant to sound like a promise to provide welcome and opportunity to all on campus. And to the ordinary American, those values sound virtuous and unobjectionable.
But many working in academia increasingly understand that they instead imply a set of controversial political and social views. And that in order to advance in their careers, they must demonstrate fealty to vague and ever-expanding DEI demands and to the people who enforce them. Failing to comply, or expressing doubt or concern, means risking career ruin.
In a short time, DEI imperatives have spawned a growing bureaucracy that holds enormous power within universities. The ranks of DEI vice presidents, deans, and officers are ever-growing—Princeton has more than 70 administrators devoted to DEI; Ohio State has 132. They now take part in dictating things like hiring, promotion, tenure, and research funding.
More significantly, the concepts of DEI have become guiding principles in higher education, valued as equal to or even more important than the basic function of the university: the rigorous pursuit of truth. Summarizing its hiring practices, for example, UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering declared that “excellence in advancing equity and inclusion must be considered on par with excellence in research and teaching.” Likewise, in an article describing their “cultural change initiative,” several deans at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine declared: “There is no priority in medical education that is more important than addressing and eliminating racism and bias.”
The recent embrace of DEI by medical schools is particularly troubling. Professor Jacobson has covered this topic extensively and has even urged Congress to take notice.
This video of medical students in Minnesota from October of 2022 speaks volumes:
University of Minnesota medical students swear an oath to "honor all Indigenous ways of healing that have been historically marginalized by Western medicine" and to fight "white supremacy, colonialism, [and] the gender binary."
They are being inducted in the cult of CRT. pic.twitter.com/v3YYKBq9OW
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 11, 2022
It does not end with medicine. DEI has infiltrated nearly every academic discipline.
Who wants to live in a building designed by engineers whose primary qualification is that they wrote fantastic DEI statements? That is where we are heading, we may already be there. https://t.co/K2lh0vqCsn
— William A. Jacobson (@wajacobson) January 9, 2023
This past fall, Professor Jacobson spoke at the ‘Parents Unite Conference’ in Boston and noted that the changes to higher education are so radical, that it cannot be reformed from within (emphasis added):
And so the inflection point, I think people who care about children, who care about education need to now be making is to address the systemic problems that we have. Andthat’s a lot more difficult. I think the systemic problems in some ways, at least at the higher ed level, are getting worse. At Cornell, they now require DEI statements from all new hires, faculty hires, and all faculty promotions. So as warped as the ideological outlook is among faculty in universities, it’s going to get worse….
I don’t know what the answer is in higher ed, but it cannot be reformed internally. It’s going have to be external forces, and it’s going to have to be legislation, it’s going to have to be funding, it’s going to have to be other things. What they look like remains to be seen. But I do believe academia is pretty much gone, and now the question is how do we protect society from academia, because it can’t be changed. The systems are there, the bureaucrats are there, the DEI statement requirements are there, and they are spreading. And if you see what’s happening in professional schools, law schools and medical schools and elsewhere, it’s just as bad.
Watch his speech below:
John Sailer goes on to explain how we got here:
How has this fundamental shift taken place? Gradually, then all at once.
For decades, university administrators have emphasized their commitment to racial diversity. In 1978, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell delivered the court’s opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, taking up the question of racial preferences in higher education. Powell argued that racial preferences in admissions—in other words, affirmative action—could be justified on the basis of diversity, broadly defined. Colleges and universities were happy to adopt his reasoning, and by the 1980s, diversity was a popular rallying cry among university administrators.
By the 2010s, as the number of college administrators ballooned, this commitment to diversity was often backed by bureaucracies that bore such titles as “Inclusive Excellence” or “Diversity and Belonging.”
Sailer notes, correctly, that the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement exacerbated the issue:
Then came the Black Lives Matter demonstrations of 2020. The response on campus was a virtual Cambrian explosion of DEI policies. Any institution that hadn’t previously been on board was pressured to make large-scale commitments to DEI. Those already committed redoubled their efforts. UT Austin created a Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, calling for consideration of faculty members’ contributions to DEI when considering merit raises and promotion.
White Coats For Black Lives, a medical student organization that calls for the dismantling of prisons, police, capitalism, and patent law, successfully petitioned medical schools around the country to adopt similar plans, including at UNC–Chapel Hill, Oregon Health & Science University, and Columbia University. In some cases, administrators even asked White Coats For Black Lives members to help craft the new plans.
Many of the same ideologues who are pushing DEI are proponents of Critical Race Theory. The two issues go hand in hand, as we have often shown at the Legal Insurrection Critical Race Training website. Much like DEI, CRT was once relegated to progressive college campuses, but has now pushed its way into virutally everything, including the United States Military.
As I mentioned above, DEI is now eclipsing education. Where the left was once content to push DEI as policy, it is now even an academic discipline, as Sailer notes:
DEI is also becoming a de facto academic discipline. In 2021, Bentley University in Massachusetts created a DEI major. Last year, the Wharton School announced its introduction of a DEI concentration for undergraduates and a DEI major for MBA students.
It’s also big business within higher education, as schools increase the number of highly paid ‘diversity administrators’ at breakneck speed:
In a short time, DEI imperatives have spawned a growing bureaucracy that holds enormous power within universities.
The ranks of DEI vice presidents, deans, and officers are ever-growing. Princeton has more than 70 administrators devoted to DEI.
Ohio State has 132. pic.twitter.com/x4Rj7yIbRm
— John Sailer (@JohnDSailer) January 9, 2023
This ideology is not compatible with academic freedom or free speech, which has been demonstrated repeatedly, yet it now functions as a political gate which keeps out anyone who disagrees.
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