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The rise of universities’ diversity bureaucrats

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Just today a new article is published in Real Clear Politics about universities looking to increase "diversity" (of the looks, culture and identity politics type, not intellectual type) into the STEM areas and way beyond the social sciences as was until now. How you can convince or change the brain operation of millions of girls who dont like STEM stuff, or other minorities who dont care for it either, is a mystery to me.
But let's say for sake of argument that they start accepting more minorities in medicine with a 3rd of the aptitude (SAT scores, etc) than whites and Asians just "because" they "need" to diversity those areas. Again what's the "real need" of diversifying just for the sake of diversifying is also another mystery.
The big problem is that this will increase, not lessen discrimination because a new stigma will come: "this black guy is a doctor because AA and diversity program made him so". So you know where I am coming from.
Right now, if you see a she-doctor, a black software engineer, a Hispanic pilot - we automatically assume they are there on their own merits. In fact there isnt even assumption or analysis about it, but natural acceptance.
Now with the forced diversity thing, more people will start doubting if they are really skilled for the job.

Robs Review

How many diversity officers does it take to change a light bulb? I can only concur with fellow readers who see a cautionary tale in how the university at the heart of the global free speech movement came to require 175 diversity officers to defend its students from the predation of intellectual gadflies. But surely this is the primary function of any competent faculty? I suspect a once visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, viz C. Northcote Parkinson, would find sufficient material here to add another chapter to his once famous but evidently no longer widely read book.


A journalist at "The Economist" wrote, "Students at the University of Missouri must attend training to prevent even 'unconscious discrimination'."
The ugly irony of the situation is that the very same Africans and Hispanics who make false accusations of "unconscious discrimination" aggressively support affirmation action (AA), which is a system of gross discrimination against Americans of Asian or European ancestry.
Due to AA, an American of Asian (or European) ancestry must score roughly 300 points higher than a Hispanic, on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, in order for the admissions committee (of Princeton University) to give him equal consideration with the Hispanic.
Nowadays, the primary form of discrimination is discrimination against European-Americans or Asian-Americans.
There is more information about this issue.

Peace Love and Understanding

We need to have a difficult discussion about what we mean by the word "Diversity".....

Does diversity mean we tolerate and value the contributions of people from all diverse backgrounds and experiences especially where these differences are immaterial to the merits of a person's character and contribution?

Or is the modern diversity movement about retribution against the groups who previously did not value or recognize diversity?

If it's the former, there is hope, but it necessarily requires forgiveness and tolerance of all groups including even bigots.

Great post, @Peace.
My sense is there is more retribution than education in the muddling mix. Not good.
Re the word "bigot", it is a rather meaningless label at this point in social intercourse. Though temptingly apropos for TE forums.
The term is not unlike the term "cultural elites". A new entry in the category of LABELS in cyberspace.
Both are epithets with a back-handed insulting meaning.
Nor, IMO, is "forgiving" quite the mental act involved in dealing with diversity, for the simple reason "forgive" implies an up-down relation - the arrogance of gods. None of us is a god. Only a higher being or higher power can forgive, IMO. Co-humans learn to understand and live with one another. In any case, everything we say (including what is not said, i.e., the silence) speak for ourselves. There you find the most just representation of who we are and what we are.
I hope this communicates.


I would highly recommend listening to or reading some of the comments from Jordan Peterson (whom I first heard about in the comments section here). He was nearly fired from his job and jailed for not bowing to the pressure of diversity officers at University of Toronto who were pushing for compelled speech.
There are a few key points that have already been highlighted, this completely ignores diversity of thought.
Along with that, there is almost no scientific evidence for diversity training to be effective for anything other than padding the pockets of bureaucrats.
One of the only way that true learning takes place is through the free exchange of ideas and thoughts. Any poorly thought out idea will fall by the wayside of true discussion. Unfortunately much of this false diversity leads to suppression of free speech and free exchange of thought, either explicitly or through self censorship.
The third thing that happens is that there is a continual drive for victimhood. We should always push for equality of opportunity, but diversity officers are pushing for equality of outcomes, which never ends well (see Russia under Stalin and China under Mao).

Swiss Reader

"The real reason for the growth in spending is that administrators want to hire subordinates, thereby boosting their own authority and often pay."
That's another empirical proof of Parkinson's Law, which was first published in The Economist in 1955, see here:

ashbird in reply to Swiss Reader

Wow! That is impressive, Swiss Reader! 1955! And such an extraordinarily good article too! Thanks for the link!
Administrators engage in a lot of rigamarole. That much is certain. Paperwork is their stock in trade.
It is horrendous how this Diversity issue is exploited by the "diversity people" (I don't don't what else to call them), who glom on it to make a living not one iota differently from parasites on a host.
All there is to be done, IMHO (and a truly opinionated one, insufferably so) about promoting diversity is set an example. If genuine, people can see it, and follow.
Requiring faculty to attend Multicultural Classes is as asinine an idea as it gets. Behavior cannot be "forced" out of people. I have myself sat in one of those classes as an evaluator. They are truly awful. But more importantly, ineffectual.
Ineffectual for a concrete reason: They add more stereotypes on top of stereotypes, the very ones the "classes" are supposed to "eradicate" . It is like adding more hives to a beehive. You don't get more honey; you get more bee stings.
No wonder the forced attendance elicits resentment! So the professors (similarly students too) simply robotically attend the classes, check off a list of "mandates", and then it is life as usual. Except this time around, worse than before the classes.
There is a reason why there is so much backlash against "multicultural diversity". First off, some of these classes don't even try to define what the term means.
The whole situation is sad. Enragingly sad.


Not surprised - leftists always look for such places to work. Lets face it - an ideologue of diversity cannot do any useful work.
I am more surprised how an university can get away with explaining it needs 20 or 200 diversity bureaucrats.


"The era of Donald Trump seems to have strengthened the diversity bureaucracy’s belief that students’ feelings must be protected."
So I take it that all of these new diversity police people will be fired after Trump leaves office?


Diversity bureaucrats are similar to human resources people in corporations: irritating, superfluous, specious, and utterly unnecessary. But whereas corporations will eventually adjust and find more adequate approaches to the tasks of posting job openings, screening candidates, evaluating candidates, and ensuring compliance with corporate policies, public-sector organizations are unconstrained by the need to compete profitably. It is therefore difficult to see how the present trend of ever-more bureaucrats and ever-fewer teachers will be turned around. It is even conceivable that the education sector will reach the level of inefficiency present in the US military, where it takes 23 people to put one combat soldier into the field.

rsdav1 in reply to CA-Oxonian

While the instant case is ludicrous, and I agree with the central thrust of this argument, I would caution against using simple numbers to measure the "efficiency" of the military. Modern militaries - particularly armies and navies - no longer consist solely of serried ranks of infantry bayonets, or hordes of stokers manually shovelling coal. Technology means that the "productivity" of the deployed force elements has risen as much in this field as it has in any other, but the tech needs more indirect support than direct operation. Air forces have always been "tail heavy", needing dozens of unheralded ground support staff to keep each aircraft flying: "the few" were actually kept flying by "the many".

Reinhard Hiller

This is an absurd development with, hopefully, unintended consequences (ratio of University bureaucrats to faculty, increase in tuition, and decrease in meaningful engagement with students).
I look at these stats as a way, in future (my kids aren't in a University age bracket yet), to deselect colleges. I don't want my kids to try and learn in an environment that is comprised of isolated safe spaces that thwart interaction. All of this is hampering a meaningful exchange between people and doesn't add value to the overall learning experience.


It's unfortunate that the author implies that diversity officers are paid more than other bureaucrats, by saying "some are paid lavishly" and giving one example. It would be more accurate to say "Diversity-focused bureaucrats are paid at similar levels to other university staff positions requiring a bachelor's degree and other experience." But that wouldn't provoke enough outrage, I assume. Also, mentioning that university bureaucracies are ballooning and forcing up tuition costs is VERY TRUE. And very important. However, you imply that diversity officers make up a large percentage of these new bureaucrats, when they don't. The bloated university bureaucracy is caused by unnecessary hires in ALL AREAS, diversity officers being just a small part of this. BTW, I myself am a university bureaucrat (staff, non-faculty).


Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
The rest become diversity officers.
It gives me a wicked sense of satisfaction to have it confirmed that the employment of diversity officers is backfiring spectacularly. However, I do feel sorry for the poor and marginalised who are missing out on college/contact with professors because of all the ridiculous new regulations and rise in expenses.
The saddest thing about all this is that no one ever mentions diversity of thought. Diversity is but skin deep and previous generations of students were all cookie-cutter copies of each other.
This is not the kind of thinking one expects from a higher institution of learning.