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Skyrocketing DEI certification programs create army of ‘political commissars,’ group warns

For schools, these certificate programs are a big money maker

Universities are making lots of money with certificate training programs in DEI they have added in recent years, according to a new report from a higher education watchdog group.

This allows students and professionals to gain credentials and ideology to obtain DEI jobs, and spreads the concept as they go into the corporate, academic or government world to practice, effectively becoming DEI “commissars,” Legal Insurrection Foundation’s CriticalRace.org project argues.

The project, which monitors the growth of critical race theory and DEI, has launched a new DEI Certificate Programs database to track the growth of such efforts, which the nonprofit described as “non-academic, non-degree programs that have proliferated as higher education sought to cash in on the post-George Floyd CRT/DEI feeding frenzy.”

The database covers 48 colleges and 53 programs; that discrepancy in numbers exists because Cornell has six different certificate programs. Universities such as UCLA, Princeton, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago and others are cited on the database.

Many of these certificate programs are conducted online, the foundation reported: “These certificates, often earned online, allow people to put the names of prestigious schools on their resume when they didn’t actually attend the school, but rather paid for a certificate program displaying its name.”

Cornell law Professor William Jacobson, head of Legal Insurrection, told Fox News Digital on March 19 the programs are “essentially training a cadre of political commissars on DEI to run corporations, to infiltrate and to advance in corporations.”

Writing on Legal Insurrection, Jacobson stated: “When people think about it, they should think about critical race theory as the theory and diversity, equity and inclusion as to how that theory gets implemented. So, diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, are the action items by which critical race theory is pushed into education and also corporations and government.”

For schools, these certificate programs are a big money maker. Among those schools that list the cost of their programs, CriticalRace.org found that the average cost for the certificate is over $4,000. Northwestern University’s program costs the most at $24,788.

Jacobson noted that the overhead costs are low. They’re done online, they can be endlessly repeated – you don’t need new material for each class.

“The universities that do this are essentially cashing in on the George Floyd anti-racism push,” Jacobson said.

Meanwhile, according to the Fox News piece, there has been significant retrenchment in DEI hiring in the economy as a whole:

“According to data provided by job site Indeed, DEI-related job postings in 2023 declined 44% as two driving forces behind the reduction in DEI at companies have emerged. The first is a shift in priorities amid layoffs, and the second is the threat of discrimination lawsuits.”

Fox News also reported that some governors, like Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, have banished DEI from state higher education and other agencies. With that, such certificates may not be as economically useful as advertised, and possibly harmful to a resume.

“You may be spending money on a certificate which not only doesn’t help you, but might hurt you,” Jacobson told the news outlet. “Having the certificate may actually be a detriment to your resume.”

MORE: Cornell has 1 administrator for every 2 undergrads

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