Cutting academics, adding ‘diversity’ czars

The University of California’s budget has been “cut to the bone,” says a spokesman.  Campuses are cutting academic programs — but adding “diversity” functionaries, writes Heather Mac Donald in City Journal.

The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

Gibor Basri, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, earns $194,000 in base pay and has 17 people in his office. That could pay for a lot of assistant professors, who start at  $53,000, Mac Donald writes.

To save money, UC San Diego’s Academic Senate has cut master’s programs in electrical and computer engineering and comparative literature and dropped courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature.

At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.”

“Diversity” is “a code word for narcissism,” Mac Donald concludes.

Asian-Americans make up nearly half of UC-San Diego students (pdf); many major in math, science or engineering. Perhaps “me studies” has to be required because students are too busy taking academic courses in hopes of being able to pay back their student loans.

UC tuition is rising.

 

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Comments

  1. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Does the use of the word czar bother anyone else? A czar is an autocrat, an absolute ruler. If this isn’t offensive enough to the American sense of self-rule and self-government, how about the fact that success in the 21st century is marked by decentralization. Companies that decentralize influence to the fringes so that the knowledge of low level workers can be involved in the improvement of products and services. Businesses like ebay and Amazon are successful because of the decentralized input of customers. Wikipedia and so on.

    Czars limit innovation and progress to the abilities of one authority. Decentralization calls upon and inspires countless creativity.

    We need public servants, not czars.

  2. This is typical of US colleges and universities. There are just fewer “czars” at some of the institutions. This is the future. It’s not going to get better–it’s going to worsen over time.

  3. Gah. Sounds like a parody of “1984,” only the sad thing is, it’s not a parody.

  4. It’s part of a bigger trend of administrative bloat. It’s like “Ozma of Oz”: more and more officers with fewer and fewer enlisted men to do the actual work the institution is supposed to be doing.
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/07/14/new_book_argues_bloated_administration_is_what_ails_higher_education

  5. For elementary & secondary schools, here’s a graph on pupils per administrators over time:
    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/hitting-bone-is-the-least-of-our-worries/

  6. Yup, administrative bloat. I know a department that’s down 2 TT positions, lost an instructor last year, and were told they could hire ONE adjunct.

    Meanwhile, new vice-presidents for stuff get appointed.

    It’s disgusting because then the admins don’t realize how busy the faculty actually ARE, and keep asking them to do more and more administrivia type work like writing up reports of their past years’ activities or attending diversity workshops.

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    Sounds as if the U is going to be assigning identities to the students. What if a kid says he doesn’t want to be identified as…. Does he flunk?

  8. Osaama s says:

    It’s unfortunate that the article, as well as the many comments here, presume the increased budget cuts would be alleviated by cutting “diversity.”

    How you cut diversity, I don’t know. And how you fail to recognize the inherent equity and inclusion in “diversity” is troublesome.

    Cutting “diversity” is another way of proliferating inequality. I think we both agree that the budget cuts are bad; further widening the upper from the lower in light of this is even more bad. Looking out for diversity then becomes a bit more important.

    Why don’t we focus on the real issue of the budget cuts? Namely, the inability to take a sacrifice and invest in education and the future, instead of cutting it.