Liesel Crocker, senior research fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, has been studying DEI’s explosive growth and its harm to free expression in higher education. Encouraging diversity on campus has been common going back decades, she says, but DEI is different in the very worst of ways. It shuts down debate and free expression, and it punishes opposing views all while dishonestly promising to be more inclusive.
DEI's real danger: Enforcing dogma with government power
Steve Jordahl, AFN.net
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming is not just a Marxist-like cult but is also a danger to religious expression, says an author and religious scholar.
DEI programming has been compared to communism and to cult-like dogma but Eric Patterson, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, sees a danger to our individual religious freedoms that are protected by the First Amendment.
“What's particularly insidious is the marriage of a progressive or woke, or neo-Marxist, set of ideologies to the power of government,” he recently told the “Quick Start” podcast on CBN.
One example he gave is the 2021 firing of a physician assistant, Valerie Kloosterman. She was forced to sit through mandatory “diversity training” as part of her job with a Michigan hospital. On the training test, she was expected to mark a box agreeing that gender if “fluid,” but she refused.
“When she would not lie about what it means to be male or female because of her religious convictions,” Patterson says, “she was pulled into DEI counseling, she was called evil, she was called a liar.”
First Liberty Institute, which is representing Kloosterman, makes those same allegations in its lawsuit which was filed last year.
“These supposedly pro-Gaza but really pro-terrorism acts that are happening on college campuses,” says Crocker, “they fall right into the DEI structure of thinking.”
That is because a campus DEI department is staffed by far-left radicals, who get to define what “inclusive” and “divisive” mean – and does not mean – on campus and then enforce that left-wing view. That is why students who chant about an “Intifada revolution” for example, can go unpunished for chanting about Jewish genocide because an anti-Israel demonstration was likely supported by the DEI department.
AFN reported last year the California Community College System was being sued after adopting a 12-page glossary of terms with words such as “anti-racist.” That term not only means opposing the unfair treatment of people for their skin color, which any non-racist person would agree with, but it embraced Critical Race Theory by stating that racism is “pervasive and has been embedded in all societal structures.”
FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Freedom, filed suit because California’s 54,000 college professors would be required to agree to that definition, and espouse that belief in the classroom, or risk being terminated.
Average size DEI staff is 45 employees
According to Crocker’s research, on campuses with large DEI departments, those huge DEI offices have failed to address hostility toward certain student groups on campus. Students also predictably feel unwelcomed at their own school, too.
Among her other statistics, Crocker has found 60% of colleges and universities have created the position of chief diversity officer only within the last five years. The average DEI department, Crocker says, has grown to a staff of 45 who are led by a well-paid boss.
“You've got 84% of chief diversity officers who earn more than $100,000 a year and 34% who earn more than $200,000 a year,” she advises.
At Georgia Tech, for example, 74 employees have job responsibilities related to DEI at a combined salary of $6.7 million. At the University of Alabama, its DEI program pays $2 million annually for employee salaries.
In a similar article written for The Federalist, researcher Jon Schweppe says the average college or university currently has 3.4 people employed to promote DEI out of every 100 faculty members seeking tenure.
"The indoctrination is the point," writes Schweppe, a researcher for the American Principles Project.
DEI has now infected everything on campus, he warns in the article, from college instructions to residence life and student athletics.
In an interview with AFN, Schweppe says there is backlash against DEI indoctrination but it is not enough to stop it.
"We have to get out there," he urges, "and root it out of our institutions and certainly our government."
What state governments must do to stop DEI, Crocker concludes, is defund DEI department funding in public university budgets. They should also prohibit DEI “inclusion” statements in the hiring process, which are used as a litmus test for potential hirings.