They’ve been blasted as “divisive ideological commissariats,” threatened with extinction by the governor of Florida, and said to “live parasitically off universities whose actual purpose is scholarship.”
Those are just a few of the ways critics of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs have ramped up their assaults on what they increasingly refer to, simply, as “the DEI bureaucracy.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican and possible presidential candidate for 2024, warned last month, “We are also going to eliminate all DEI and CRT bureaucracies in the State of Florida.” He didn’t explain what he meant by those bureaucracies, but he vowed that, without funding, their initiatives would “wither on the vine.”
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Tabbye M. Chavous is the chief diversity officer and vice provost for equity and inclusion at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 2016 the university started its first five-year strategic DEI plan. It tapped into strategies of 50 DEI plans in 19 schools and colleges, student life, athletics, medicine, and other offices.
The 163 or so employees whose portfolios include some kind of diversity work are a tiny fraction of the Ann Arbor campus’s approximately 50,000 employees, she said. And the $17 million a year the university spent during the first five years of its DEI plan also represents less than 1 percent of the university’s annual operating budget of $2 billion.