Guest contribution to 100 Percent Fed Up by Jerrold Fletcher

The University of Michigan spends $18 million per year of taxpayer dollars to employ 163 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) personnel, reported Real Clear Investigations in the Sudden Dominance of the Diversity Industrial Complex. In fact, RCI’s investigative reporter Thomas Hackett showed U-M tops the list of major U.S. universities employing DEI personnel. Michigan State University ranked 21 on the list with 51 DEI employees.

Michigan’s two largest public universities exceed the average: MSU employs 12% more DEI personnel than the average. U-M exceeds the average by a whopping 362%. 

Source: The Sudden Dominance of the Diversity Industrial Complex. [Highlights added.]

“A little more than 10 years ago, DEI was but ‘a clustering of three ideas, each to be weighed and evaluated against other societal values,’” the RCI article stated.

The terms diversity, equity, and inclusion weren’t yet being used in the singular, as one all-inclusive, non-negotiable moral imperative. Nor had they coalesced into a bureaucratic juggernaut running roughshod over every aspect of national life.

They are now.

Regardless of how much a person admires our state’s public universities or how one feels about the merits or shortcomings of DEI, few would doubt the effect on collegiate politics that $18 million in annual payroll expense is bound to have.

As Timothy Snyder said, “Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do.”

And $18 million is a lot of do.

Thomas Hackett offers a one-stop overview of one of the most consequential yet under-covered stories of our time: the rise and entrenchment of the diversity industrial complex.

So stated RealClearInvestigations as it cited Hackett’s 3800-word article as its Top pick of the week.

Rapidly and with almost no debate, Hackett reports, nearly every major American institution has agreed that the infrastructure of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (a term barely defined) is essential to the nation’s proper functioning– from governments, schools, and hospitals to all manner of enterprises including sports teams and major retail brands.

To size the issue, the nation’s universities, on average, employ 45 DEI personnel. Michigan’s two largest public universities exceed the average: MSU employs 12% more DEI personnel than the average. U-M exceeds the average by a whopping 362%.

The political reactions to the rechanneling of these taxpayer funds

RCI reported that DEI “has less to do with social change than exploring marketing opportunities and creating a ‘with-it’ company culture, where progressive politics complement the office foosball tables and kombucha on tap.”

A look at DEI’s roots sheds light on its influence on Michigan’s elections.

According to the U-M’s newspaper, the Michigan Daily, “the University of Michigan launched the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan 1.0 in 2016.” Barack Obama was U.S. President at the time.

U-M’s inaugural five-year plan stated, “its focus was on catalyzing institutional change, such that the values of DEI are infused into the very culture and fabric of the University–across all units, structures, and functions.”

A web search produces a long list of varying definitions of DEI. Washington University defined the acronym according to its three components:

Diversity is the presence of differences that enrich our workplace. Equity is ensuring that access, resources, and opportunities are provided for all to succeed and grow, especially for those who are underrepresented and have been historically disadvantaged. Inclusion is a workplace culture that is welcoming to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, age, abilities, and religion, and everyone is valued, respected, and able to reach their full potential. [bold added]

Hackett took issue with the definition’s lack of clarity and crafted his own:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is an intentionally vague term used to describe sanctioned favoritism in the name of social justice.

Stay tuned for Part 2: “Equality versus Equity: Horses of a Different Color.”

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