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University of Illinois spends $60 million a year on diversity efforts

Accountability and prioritization of diversity efforts is unclear, report says

The University of Illinois spends more than $60 million on diversity efforts every year, according to a recent independent report commissioned by the university that also noted the public institution has redundant and overlapping diversity expenses that could and should be streamlined.

But the prioritization of those funds, and the accountability and assessment of campus diversity efforts, is “unclear,” according to the report.

The office of UI chancellor Robert Jones commissioned a report from an outside agency to assess the state of UI’s diversity efforts on campus, the Champaign News-Gazette recently reported.

The report found that UI’s diversity apparatus is “sometimes redundant” and that a “campuswide diversity council” should be commissioned to consolidate the campus committees that have “similar, if not overlapping, roles” and work with “little collaboration.”

The report claims that “more than $60 million is invested in diversity and inclusion” at UI, with “over 80 percent” being earmarked for scholarships.

“It was not clear,” the report claims, “how these resources are prioritized for allocation and/or assessed for outcomes.”

The College Fix reached out to officials at UI for comment and to see if the university had a line-item breakdown of the total diversity budget. Both the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations directed The Fix to the Office of Public Affairs.

Campus spokesperson Robin Kaler shared a document with The Fix giving a rough breakdown of UI’s projected campus diversity budget for fiscal year 2017:

  • $44,627,500 (74%) earmarked for Financial Aid;

  • $13,042,582 (22%) for Faculty Recruitment and Contention;

  • $1,000,000 (2%) for Graduated Student Support;

  • $928,955 (2%) for OFCCP-Required Activities, Diversity Training and Advocacy

  • $310,000 (1%) for Title IX office;

  • $513,110 (1%) for Other UG Initiatives.

In their report, the review team also noted that, at the University of Illinois, “there was not a clear, overarching understanding of the definition of diversity.” It was also found that the university does not have a plan in place to deal with “confusion, duplication, inefficiency, and frustration” related to diversity efforts, and that the various diversity committees “do not uniformly communicate, collaborate, or consult with each other to any significant degree.”

The report recommended a variety of solutions to increasing diversity on campus, including “maximiz[ing] efforts in diversifying its workforce and outreach,” “assess[ing] the climate for faculty within the various minority racial/ethnic groups…international and women faculty, and faculty who identify as LBGTQ and persons with disabilities,” and creating a “university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion council,” among many other suggestions.

MORE: Forcing diversity on students has negative effects

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