Shutting Down the DEI Racket

The revelation this month that the University of Virginia has been spending $20 million a year on 235 employees who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion was astonishing.

by Newt Gingrich

The revelation this month that the University of Virginia has been spending $20 million a year on 235 employees who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion was astonishing.

Thanks to a new report by the government watchdog group Open the Books, we now know that some DEI executives at the university are raking in more than $500,000 a year, including benefits.

For example, the senior associate dean of the business school is also the global chief diversity officer. He is paid $587,340 including benefits. The vice president of DEI and community partnerships takes home an estimated $520,000 in salary and benefits. There is a whole slate of DEI executives – vice presidents, associate deans, directors, assistant directors, managers, etc. – who earn up to $400,000 in salary and benefits.

Open the Books Founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski told me this week on Newt’s World that it takes tuition from 1,000 UVA students just to cover the base salaries of UVA’s army of DEI-focused employees.

Keep in mind, the median household income in Virginia is roughly $87,000 a year, according to the latest U.S. Census data. In Loudoun County, the state’s wealthiest area, the median household income is $147,111. So, DEI executives at a state-run school are making nearly six times more than the median income households in the state – and nearly three-and-a-half times more than median income households in the wealthiest county.

And UVA is not alone. In January, the New York Post reported the University of Michigan is paying more than $30 million to 241 DEI-focused employees. State legislatures across the country are now scrambling to curb DEI spending in their states, particularly in higher education. But the truth is, the DEI racket has gone global. Worldwide, the DEI industry is soaking up roughly $9.3 billion, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

The terrible irony for Virginia is this DEI scheme is fleecing a university founded by Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and famously penned the principle that “all men are created equal.” Since our founding – and through generations of intense civil discourse and serious effort – America has worked toward creating a society in which every American has equal opportunity and can succeed through hard work and determination.

To be clear: Diversity is good. America has been successful largely because it is a melting pot of people and cultures. I am also for making sure people are included and participate in our civil society.

However, I – and many other Americans – have serious concerns about the concept of placing equity over equality. Equity means guaranteeing people equal outcomes. DEI’s disciples will tell you equity is merely an effort to correct past discrimination and persecution. However, in practice, equity means treating people differently – or granting special accommodations – based on their ethnicity, sex, or other intrinsic traits. This flies in the face of everything we learned from the Civil Rights Movement and is the antithesis of the basic concept of equality.

Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin has begun to investigate DEI programs at some of the largest colleges in the state. His administration is seeking to review curriculum at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University. As the administration told the publication Higher Ed:

“The administration has heard concerns from members of the Board of Visitors, parents, and students across the Commonwealth regarding core curriculum mandates that are a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate the progressive left’s groupthink on Virginia’s students… Virginia’s public institutions should be teaching our students how to think, not what to think and not advancing ideological conformity.”

In a separate statement, Youngkin’s press secretary, Macaulay Porter, told reporters the governor, “will continue to advance equal opportunities — not equal outcomes — for all Virginians.”

At America’s New Majority Project, we have learned that 88 percent of Americans believe universities should focus on teaching students how to think and succeed in the workforce – not to become social activists.

Gov. Youngkin and other state leaders are right. The DEI industry is a racket that must be shutdown.

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