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DEI both ‘demeaning and racist’: Rep. Burgess Owens’ condemnation of DEI cites College Fix reporting

U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens gave an ardent speech recently detailing the corrosive effects of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, including referencing the tens of millions of dollars the ideology costs taxpayers, citing College Fix reporting.

The Utah Republican, chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, made the comments as part of his opening speech for a hearing titled “Divisive, Excessive, Ineffective: The Real Impact of DEI on College Campuses,” held March 6.

“I look forward to the discussion on DEI today, from its Marxist roots to the modern-day DEI industry that siphons millions of dollars from education and workforce budgets,” Owens said.

“For those who want to know how much it costs this country, I have just a few examples here,” he added. “According to The College Fix, University of Michigan, $30 million dollars a year, Texas A&M University, $11 million dollars, Ohio State University, $20 million dollars, University of Wisconsin, $16 million dollars.”

“…And what is the result? More hatred, more anger, and more racism.”

Owens’ speech touched on his frustration and disdain for the DEI industry, which he called “a cancer to the soul of our nation.” He stated in part:

The Marxist-centered DEI has a jaded view of America and Americans. It views our nation as a pyramid composed of race oppressors and race oppressed. It attributed all of America’s societal ills and flaws to the white, Judeo-Christian male. To remedy all past perceived racism and injustice perpetrated by this sect of Americans, DEI prescribes a healthy injection of black racism and black injustice. DEI bureaucrats are hired not only to control conversations, but also to stifle free speech and open discourse by asserting leverage on every aspect of university management, personnel, curriculum policy and college admissions. It proceeds to attack the foundational pillars of academic freedom.

DEI is not an abstract concept. It is instead a practical application used in almost every college campus throughout our country both public and private. It is seen as universities use race as a plus-factor in admissions instead of intellectual competition and meritocracy. It is skin color that is deemed the winner or loser, pitting races against each other.

The impact of DEI is seen in indoctrination of students as they undergo mandatory racial bias education. Based on their race, each student is deemed an irredeemable oppressor or a member of the hapless, hopeless and weak oppressed.

To my Jewish friends, if you wonder about the surprising outgrowth of antisemitism now raging on our college campuses — this is the genesis. DEI teaches that at the very top of the oppressor pyramid is a Jewish race. There is no empathy in the DEI space once identified as an oppressor — only disdain.

At the core of DEI is also the soft bigotry of low expectation. It teaches black Americans as members of the oppressed race, we’re weak and incapable of standing and succeeding independently, that we must wait for the success wand to be waved over us by white Americans. Or even better, we should wait for the promise of slavery reparation. [Under DEI] black Americans like myself who can muster the tenacity and grit to succeed are the exception not the rule. Once again, DEI is both demeaning and racist.

DEI is also heartless and unforgiving. Scholars who dare to publish research that challenges the liberal orthodoxy are often canceled or pushed out of the academic profession. For professors who love teaching and seek to earn tenure, they’re forced to take a loyalty oath in which they either promise to adhere to the principles of DEI or find another profession.

The DEI movement is, at its core, divisive. It judges others based on our immutable characteristics, like color, race and past industry, which we have no control of.

Instead of becoming a more perfect union it turns our schools, communities, cities into cesspools of divisiveness, hate and intolerance.

Witnesses who testified at the hearing included Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania Erec Smith, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, chairman of the medical group Do No Harm, and Jay Greene, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy.

A summary of the hearing published by the committee stated that “Goldfarb used his opening statement to argue that DEI initiatives have a disastrous—and potentially deadly—impact on medical education” and Greene “gave perspective to the size and scope of campus DEI bureaucracies.”

“In a recent report, my co-author, James Paul, and I analyzed the number of DEI staff at 65 universities that were members of Power 5 athletic conferences. We found that the average university had 45 DEI bureaucrats, or more than 1 for every 33 tenure-track faculty members,” Greene told the committee.

Greene added there’s “nothing to show for these expenditures.”

“We’ve heard claims that DEI is meant to make students feel included and improve retention and graduation, but we haven’t heard any evidence of that,” he told the lawmakers. “Campus climate is no better, and in fact is worse according to student surveys, at universities with larger DEI bureaucracies.”

MORE: UMich now has more than 500 jobs dedicated to DEI, payroll costs exceed $30 million

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.