April 15, 2024

A Huge DEI Establishment is Undermining the University of Washington

The University of Washington has been experiencing some major problems of late, including a costly financial system that is failing, violent/destructive students doing major damage to the student union, and a serious homeless problem on campus, to name only a few.

Two years ago, the highly respected Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), rated the UW as the lowest-ranked public university in the nation regarding freedom of speech and expressing diverse views.  


But perhaps the greatest threat to the UW comes from the development of a huge DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) bureaucracy that is draining massive amounts of university funds and pushing policies that make the UW an unwelcoming place for those with diverse political and social viewpoints.  Importantly, it has meant the politicization of a State institution.

The most problematic part of DEI is the E....the Equity part.   

Equity is not equality, a core principle of our nation.  Equity means equal group outcomes.  For example, if 15% of the population is of some ethnicity/race/sex then 15% of the faculty and students in every program should be of the same ethnicity/race/sex. Equity means each individual represents their ethnicity/race/sex and not themselves as a unique individual.

In contrast, equality means that every individual is equally precious, no matter what their background, and deserves the same opportunities and consideration.  They represent themselves and not a group.


DEI Efforts Reduce the Political Diversity of the UW

I can remember the University of Washington of the late 70s, in which there was substantial political diversity among the faculty.  That diversity is now history, with the vast majority of the faculty identifying with the Democratic party and left-leaning groups.  

Disturbingly, the remaining diversity of the faculty is declining rapidly under the UW's DEI administration.   For example, the job application of EVERY new potential faculty member must include a comprehensive DEI statement in which they attest to support DEI principles and describe concrete steps they will take to support DEI at the UW.    Every faculty position has a requirement such as this one from a Mechanical Engineering position ad:

 the applicant must provide a statement of how they have contributed to diversity, equity and inclusion at the previous institutions they have been affiliated with and how they plan to contribute to the UW’s efforts and goals in DEI. 

If you are a conservative who does not ascribe to the concept of equity but rather believes in equality, then you can not get a position at the University of Washington.  

My department is going through a faculty search right now, and the attestations of fealty to DEI principles by applicants were fulsome and exaggerated.  The search committee structure ensures that only "right-thinking" applicants have a chance.

The UW has become a political monoculture and the DEI juggernaut is rapidly reducing the remaining viewpoint diversity among the faculty.   Everyone is a loser from the trend: students are denied hearing a range of faculty viewpoints, alternate ideas are not debated, and social research is myopic and limited.

It is fascinating to note that the faculty that are most concerned about the DEI machine at the UW are those born overseas in nations in which large politicized bureaucracies that suppress human liberty and potential.  They know.  And they recognize the similarities here at the UW.

But it is worse than that.  

The DEI bureaucracy and sympathetic faculty are actively attacking faculty with "inequitable" beliefs.   Predatory behavior.   I learned this firsthand when I did a blog criticizing the I-1631 carbon initiative in 2018 because it hurt low-income people and gave tax funds to politically connected activity groups.   Subsequently, the Dean of Diversity of the College of the Environment sent an email to every member of my department, accusing my blog of racism.

Or consider the unfortunate situation of Professor Stuart Reges of Computer Sciences, who criticized the virtue-signaling land acknowledgment that is frequently used before gatherings at the UW.   Disciplinary actions were taken against him, leading to a lawsuit (which goes to trial on Monday)

The powerful UW DEI establishment at the UW is even pushing highly partisan viewpoints using state funds (which is illegal ).  For example, some diversity/inclusion staff in the College of Education sent out a pro-Hamas email last October, just after the barbaric attack on Israel on October 7. 

The UW DEI Bureaucracy is Wasting Millions of Dollars

To support an activist DEI agenda, the UW has created a huge, expensive bureaucracy including DEI deans, diversity staff, and much more.   One day, I used the State of Washington's salary database to see how much money was being spent on the DEI bureaucracy at the UW.   

I was stunned by what I found.  I quickly got to TEN MILLION DOLLARS a year and over 100 positions and could have gone further.  Considering overhead (benefits, retirement, office costs), that would be over 15 million dollars a year.  Enough to support several major departments.

With 46,000 UW students, that is at least 326 dollars per student...and clearly an underestimate.  

Here are a few of the positions.  Many are VERY well paid.


DEI Has Led to Illegal Activities At the UW

The DEI effort at the UW is often at odds with Federal and State law, which is based on equality.  Affirmative action is illegal in Washington State (e.g., Initiative 200) and by Federal law (as confirmed by last year's Supreme Court ruling).    But that has not stopped UW administrators, faculty, and staff from giving preference to those of favored backgrounds...all under the DEI flag.

Recently, the UW Department of Psychology got caught red-handed in giving a faculty position to a lesser candidate because of their race. Serious sanctions resulted.


Highly biased decision-making in admissions is being made by many departments as part of the DEI initiative.   Key to this approach has been dropping valuable objective measures such as the SAT and GRE exams and moving to subjective "holistic" admissions.   Holistic admissions are essentially subjective and allow affirmative action to flourish.

I am inside the system and can see how it works.   For example, in one department, graduate admissions matrices include a DEI flag, that is used to enhance the visibility of applicants with the proper "diverse" backgrounds. The system is heavily weighted to enhance the chances of an applicant that supports a certain conception of diversity.

Negative Impacts on the Most Vulnerable Minority Students

One of the most tragic elements of the UW DEI admissions approach is that it hurts many students it intends to favor.   For example, students with inadequate backgrounds are admitted into the UW and then flail and fail at the university.   

For two decades I was the undergraduate adviser in my department and saw the sad effects firsthand.  One student from a DEI-favored group came to me in tears; they were failing out of the program because their math preparation was inadequate.  I checked their file and was shocked at their lack of preparation in high school.  If this student had first gone to community college to build a strong foundation, he/she could have succeeded.  The UW could have created a comprehensive program of remediation....but did not.  We gave that student enough rope to hang her/himself.  Just wrong.

To feed the DEI establishment and to secure impressive diversity numbers, students are being sacrificed.  It is not ethical.

What Needs to be Done

  The UW DEI program is a disaster:  financially, morally, and pragmatically.  Tuition and state funds are supporting a political/social issue advocacy group within the University.  Desperately needed funds that are being wasted.

This huge, expensive bureaucracy needs to be disbanded.  The DEI statement requirement for new faculty must be ended.   UW admissions must make decisions based on merit and achievement, such as the SAT and GRE and grades, and not on race or ethnicity.  The UW must return to the core American principles of equality and individual worth.




34 comments:

  1. Cliff, you are brave for taking this stand. I applaud you.

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  2. Well said Cliff. We need more voices within the system standing up against this equity lie. Equal opportunity doesn't mean equal talent, abilities or outcomes.

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  3. Cliff, I enjoy reading all of your excellent blogs. But I really applaud and admire your courage in exposing the disastrous consequences of DEI. Even with tenure, I can only imagine the professional persecution that you bring down on yourself when you go against the leftist orthodoxy.

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  4. Well it's a story as old as time itself. Societies forsake their history. Important lessons don't get passed on from one generation to the next. Pretty soon history repeats itself. Welcome to the new Dark Ages.

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  5. Guess a little racism and bigotry is needed for broadening one's horizons in institutions of higher learning.

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    1. Please provide examples for this assertion. Let's have the receipts.

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    2. "One of the bigger ironies of life is how often people become exactly what they hate. Scared of far-right authoritarianism and fascism, so best to engage in left-wing authoritarianism and fascism to counter it.

      Two sides of the same coin whereby no one learns that its the authoritarianism and fascism behaviors that are actually the problem."

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    3. Well said. You become what you deplore, and you feel virtuous doing it. No wonder DEI has become such a scourge.

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  6. Thank you for being brave enough to voice your opinion. My wife worked at a local private school and after DEI was introduced most of the teachers of color have left! Leaving only liberal whites. so much for DEI.

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  7. All of this is true, and UW's blatantly illegal activity goes unpunished because both Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and US Attorney General Merrick Garland choose to look the other way.

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  8. When the mayor gives your son a paid internship in an executive office without a hiring process because you supported him in the last election, is that equity or equality?

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  9. It seems nonsensical because the entire point of DEI is not overtly stated: the ethnic cleansing of White people from their homelands. Even facing South Africa levels of persecution, they are not going to stop until they are forced to stop.

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    1. It IS a cleansing, whitewash, monocullture. The c0vid v@ccine mandates and masking had the same purpose. The Soviets knew all about it, though after shaming stopped doing the jobs, the gulags came next. I doubt we will go that far. However, monocultures will not survive, which actually is the beautiful thing. The natural process will restore true diversity, always does. Enjoy the show...and be honest. Thanks for your courage, Cliff.

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  10. Reverse discrimination, like discrimination; it creates more gender/racial sentiment and distraction.

    Here is one example of university job position in Canada for NSERC Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs in Computer Science: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/nserc-crc-tier1

    Position 1, all areas of artificial intelligence. The call is open only to qualified individuals who self-identify as women, transgender, gender-fluid, non-binary, or Two-spirit.

    Position 2, all areas of computer science. The call is open only to qualified individuals who self-identify as a member of a racialized minority.

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    1. So, two positions are set aside for diversity, and "at least" six are available for anyone looking to apply—who, based on the faculty page, will most likely be white and male. Interesting that there's no gender/racial sentiment and distraction when the faculty defaults to white and male - but big issues if two people who will not be white or male could join.

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    2. April 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier to bring certain workplace discrimination lawsuits.

      https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-gives-boost-st-louis-cop-who-sued-over-job-transfer-2024-04-17/

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  11. It's so sad to see UW undermine itself. I would love to study there with its excellent looking programs, beautiful campus and research opportunities (I would be had it not been for COVID restrictions), but if its freedom and safety continue to decline like this I don't think I shall.

    What worries me is that it is already too late. Some DEI actions were taken in the economics department of my university long ago, and their influences continue, where the department has a notably Marxist bent. Even if UW scaps DEI, the leftist inertia might remain…

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    1. The far leftist Marxist creep has been going on in most universities for decades at this point. They've corrupted education, government, entertainment, sports and even science now. It's called The Gramscian March through the Institutions, and only a complete Augean cleaning of the stables will reverse it.

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  12. DEI programs would be much more popular if they focused on economics. That's what MLK was doing in the poor people's campaign at the end of his life, and that's how you actually go about fixing things. Help people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and make sure that everyone has a voice and a shot to advance themselves.

    Instead DEI always boils down to race and gender quotas. If students and staff look diverse and are ideologically pure, then their job is done. If everyone gets their position from connections and economic advantage they don't care.

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  13. I graduated in 2000. While the UW was (obviously) very liberal even back then, there were still a handful of conservative (or centrist?) professors left in the humanities - just enough to expose students to viewpoint diversity (Samuel Huntington was on my reading list and still alive and teaching at Harvard). I also felt comfortable expressing conservative views. And while right-leaning comments would get some sneers, that was about it. Name calling had not yet replaced proper debate. As has been explained by many, this is what happens when institutions get captured and purified by ideology, and it's the antithesis of the purpose of academia. Hopefully things will turnaround in the next decade before my children are college-aged. We need more people like you with the courage to speak out. Bravo, Cliff!

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  14. DEI is what happens when those in power seek to assist those climbing to competency. Falsifying reality is easier than making a commitment to achieve a real difference. That would require effort and sacrifice. It's far easier to impose, to compel the ersatz, even if the results are destructive. Doing so allows the powerful to feel good about themselves. We are led by dancing dunces.

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  15. I used to be math adjunct faculty at Whatcom Community College. In the spring of 2014 there was an email broadcast to all college email addresses from someone looking to form a committee of color to address issues of color at WCC. I sat and looked at that email for a LONG time, trying to decide how to respond. Yes, I had also seen students woefully under-prepared for college, even at a community college that accepts everyone and had done some considerable good remedial work with those folks. The CCs are where this is supposed to happen.

    There were minority students who had sports scholarships, but their coaches were using them to further THEIR careers, without regard to the student’s best interests. One particular student was scheduled for an afternoon math class that I taught, but spent several days each week on a bus traveling to sports matches. For an under-prepared student, not being able to attend class was a disaster. This student had a scholarship but had to pay for housing and was working 20 hours a week to do that, while trying to attend school full time and play sports. It was very unfair, and I wanted to advocate for this person. But I looked at that email, wondering if white was an acceptable color, and trying to figure out a way to respond without getting in trouble. This was in 2014.

    The FIRE folks also wrote the book “The Coddling of the American Mind”, wherein they noted that the snowflakes got to college sometime in 2013. I concur. Full-on DEI was close behind. I left that position before the fall term started.

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  16. I thought about this quite long/hard after reading yesterday and find this trend very depressing; but not unsurprising. After years of caring for an elderly parent and after her death, embarking on an isolationist travel on the PCT, I find that politics is still there. Such blatant hypocrisy. I really appreciate your courage Cliff in helping shed light on this disturbing trend.

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  17. Cliff, as you know, it is against Washington state law for UW to offer race-based benefits. We CAN however offer benefits, including scholarships, to people from under-represented economic groups, and based on need. So preferences can be given to first-generation scholars, people from poor families, people with histories of homelessness, etc. Often white students benefit from this, since not all poor people are non-white.

    I think this is a good idea and should continue. Often in my UW classes I might ask, "Who in this room has lived on a farm?" or "Who has worked in factory?". Typically not one hand goes up. Talk about monoculture. The University should serve the entire state's population, not just the children of wealthy, educated families.

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    1. Jerry... I-200 and state law are crystal clear:

      The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting

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    2. Cliff, that's correct. Preferential treatment based on economic need is different from the criteria listed in the law (race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin). IMO such preferences are beneficial to our state, for the reasons I list.

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    3. I don't see scholarships based on need, or financial aid based on need, as a problem. This is as old as the hills. But we can not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, etc. That is my point.

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  18. Thank you Cliff, for standing up and being heard. The bullying left/progressives will certainly continue their diatribe as to why we should adhere to such rubbish, but hopefully more folks like yourself will counter their ridiculous agenda. This is why I stopped supporting my alma mater's(UW) history department. What a waste of time and energy pursuing new levels of mediocrity or worse.

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  19. A legalistic approach to DEI (as in equity vs equality) is one way to debate this topic, another is to look at the excessive costs of the initiative and a 3rd is the unintended consequences, as in poorly prepared students failing after being accepted. I would do away with the whole thing, and instead come up with a plan to improve and equalize public education. How about this idea, pay adjuncts to teach critical language and math skills in local public schools with a high proportion of kids from poorer households? So that by the time they get to CC/College they will be better equipped.

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  20. What's misunderstood by so many, is DEI is a form of racism, and neo-colonialism and classism on top of that. But we already see the Overton Window shifting rapidly. As noted previously, monocultures cannot and will not survive. The malignant disease of corruption will allow the native species (truth) to take root again. Lies are inherently self-consuming. The richness of the true diversity of human culture will flourish. What is "true diversity of human culture," probably not what most of us think. Hint: What is life?

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  21. Found this piece timely today: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2024/04/dei-statements-hiring-practice/678098/

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  22. Your post on this topic is very courageous. Thank you for speaking so candidly.

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  23. I am presently teaching at a major university in China, and getting the strange feeling that I have more freedom of expression and thought than a lot of profs in American universities do.

    Can't someone sue these people? Can one really turn a state university into a woke madrassa without breaking any laws?

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Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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