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At Harvard, there are 2,600 more administrators than undergrads

Harvard University employs about 1,352 full-time administrators for every 1,000 undergraduate students enrolled at the university, an analysis conducted by The College Fix found.

This is more than a nine percent increase from the 2013-14 school year, when there were 1,240 administrators per 1,000 students, according to the analysis, which used data provided by Harvard to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

During the 2021-22 school year, the most recent year for which data are available, Harvard had 10,120 full-time administrators and support staff on its payroll; in contrast, it had 3,899 full-time teaching and instructional staffers. The total number of undergrads that year was 7,483.

The ratio of students to instructional staff has largely stayed the same since 2013-14, increasing by only 2.36 percent over the last decade, IPEDS data show.

The growth in personnel at Harvard is almost entirely for non-teaching positions, including many jobs focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at the Ivy League institution, according to the analysis.

Harvard University’s media relations department has not responded to requests from The College Fix seeking comment.

“American higher education burdens under a massive administrative bloat. There are now more administrators than professors,” famed civil liberties attorney and Harvard alumnus Harvey Silverglate told The College Fix.

Silverglate has argued his alma mater is suffocating with administrators and recently ran an unsuccessful campaign to be elected to its Board of Overseers to help reform the bloat. His platform included the stance that the institution should “dismiss 95 percent of the bureaucrats.”

“Having so many administrators, whom I prefer to call ‘bureaucrats,’ adversely affects the academic culture,” he said in an email interview with The College Fix.

“Administrators, with little useful work to do, enact speech codes, with the codes enforced by ‘kangaroo courts’ composed mostly of administrators. These administrators have no idea what academic freedom is, much less due process,” he said.

Under the College Fix analysis, administrators and support staff include management, student and academic affairs divisions, IT, public relations, administrative support, maintenance, and legal and other non-academic departments.

Harvard employs dozens of full-time administrators and staff in diversity, equity and inclusion positions, both at the university level and within each of its schools.

At the university level, Harvard employs 10 full-time DEI officials, including a: chief diversity and inclusion officer; senior outreach and digital strategy officer; associate director for DEI research and assessment; director of affirmative action and diversity analytics; affirmative action program analyst; senior manager of DEI community engagement; senior director of administration and operations; and an associate chief diversity and inclusion officer.

In addition, each school employs DEI officials.

For example, there are seven in Harvard Law School, six in its School of Public Health, three in the Kennedy School of Government, three in the School of Engineering, three in the Graduate School of Design, six in its School of Public Health, three at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, two in its School of Dental Medicine, and one in the Harvard Divinity School.

The Harvard Business School also maintains an “Advancing Racial Equity & Diversity” team that consists of eight DEI officials: chief diversity and inclusion officer; senior associate dean for culture and community; assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion; special projects associate; associate director for diversity and inclusion; senior advisor for programs and initiatives; director of administration and operations; coordinator of diversity, equity and inclusion; and director of diversity and inclusion for MBA and PhD programs.

Harvard’s Dean of Students Office also has a roster of 10 DEI staffers.

Heather Mac Donald, whose summer 2023 piece in City Journal also detailed the phalanx of DEI employees at Harvard, noted that even adding up all the listed positions on Harvard’s website is an “undercount.”

“It does not include the dozens of Title IX administrators seeded throughout Harvard’s various schools, or the student services bureaucrats who may not have the totems ‘diversity,’ ‘equity,’ ‘inclusion,’ or ‘belonging’ in their job titles but who are equally dedicated to the idea that Harvard’s ‘marginalized’ communities need special assistance,” Mac Donald wrote.

Harvard’s Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging did not respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment.

Harvard’s annual operating expenses during the 2021-22 school year came in at $5.4 billion, which is larger than the annual gross domestic product of more than 25 countries. Its website states it ended fiscal year 2022 with an operating surplus of $406 million.

Asked whether Harvard’s large surplus justifies its number of DEI staffers, Mac Donald told The College Fix it does not, saying no college — however well-endowed — should ever “waste its resources on anti-intellectual endeavors.”

“The DEI bureaucracy is a vapid construct founded on a fiction: That Harvard discriminates against so-called ‘marginalized’ groups,” she said via email. “No university should enshrine a lie in its very structure.”

Mac Donald, who is on The College Fix advisory board, added the costs of the DEI bureaucracy “extend far beyond the salaries and space provided to its official members, far beyond the faculty and research time lost to needless diversity indoctrination.”

“The costs include teaching privileged young people to think of themselves — preposterously — as victims, a misperception that they will carry with them into the adult world. That misperception in turn results in the destruction of our core meritocratic institutions and the dulling of our scientific and technological competitive edge,” she said.

Harvard’s administrative bloat outpaced that of another elite institution — Stanford University, where administrators nearly outnumbered undergrads enrolled at the school.

There are 931 full-time administrators per 1,000 undergrads at Stanford, a College Fix analysis found.

MORE: ‘Dismiss 95 percent of the bureaucrats’: Harvey Silverglate on what he’d change at Harvard

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Terrance Kible is a law student at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Duquesne University. He hopes to pursue a career in journalism. Terrance also writes for the law blog Legal Insurrection, where he was a 2023 College Fix summer intern. Terrance previously wrote for Campus Reform.