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Surprise: Diversity officials pull down big salaries with little effect

The diversity industry is a cash-cow and little else

A recent paper out of the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed something that common sense has indicated for quite some time: That there is “no significant statistical evidence” that high-ranking diversity officials have any effect on the diversity of a campus. Indeed, in a master stroke of irony, the study found that, in the time period surveyed, “the proportions for underrepresented groups has been consistently higher in universities without a [chief diversity officer] than with a CDO present.” Moreover, “the proportion of diverse tenured faculty hired is 5.61% lower with an active CDO in place.” Did you ever think that hiring a diversity bureaucrat would have a negative effect on diversity?

This is very likely something of a dirty little secret on most campuses: The diversity industry, for all its trappings and all its lofty goals, is mostly bogus. Indeed, “diversity training,” that endless procession of skits, small-group discussions and buzzword-laden Powerpoint presentations, very likely has no effect on campus climate at all. This is not a very practical or motivated sector of the campus; its chief function seems to be to create jobs for people to say things like “intersectional” and “postcolonial” a whole lot. In that it is fairly effective, but in any other respect—say, bringing more underrepresented students to campus or helping to make the campus a more welcoming place—it’s not quite living up to its stated goals.

Maybe this is just a phase. There are plenty of crazes that have come and gone in American history; the “diversity” fad might just be one of them. This doesn’t mean that diversity, per se, is a bad thing, for it’s not—it is good to have a wide range of different people, from different backgrounds, with different experiences, on a college campus. But the lucrative cash machine that has sprung up around diversity is itself something of a sham—one motivated by good intentions for the most part, to be sure, but nevertheless a bit of a fraud. There are better things for a university to spend its funds on than yet another six-figure salary for yet another “chief diversity officer.” One hopes that the universities themselves will come around to this, at some point.

MORE: High-priced diversity bureaucrats aren’t improving diversity on campus, study finds

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