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UMich pours money into ideological research while promising ‘diversity of thought’

Subsidizing one specific worldview incompatible with ‘diversity of thought’

The University of Michigan’s heralded “diversity of thought” promise is already falling apart – as should be expected, based on the school’s history.

It is difficult to truly embrace open debate in academia while a university is specifically funding one worldview.

That is what the university is doing now with its “teaching innovation prizes” focused on two areas, as well as its overall full-on embrace of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

While one category is about artificial intelligence, another is clearly ideological, providing $5,000 grants to study “anti-racist teaching and innovations to disrupt patterns of educational disenfranchisement.”

This is not how conservatives talk.

The “innovation prizes” follow a January “diversity of thought” resolution passed by the board of regents.

Naturally, the Ann Arbor school continues to promote a liberal viewpoint.

There is, after all, a post-Roetask force” led by a Planned Parenthood medical director (aka abortionist) Lisa Harris, who also teaches at the university. Big doubts the task force will focus on ways to protect human life from the moment of conception. (University President Mary Sue Coleman: “I strongly support access to abortion care.”)

Of course, the university also promised a “diversity of thought forum” following a protest by medical schools because a pro-life professor planned to give a brief talk, not about abortion, at a white coat ceremony.

The university both said the forum did not occur and later said it did occur but pointed to a “Health Equity Advocacy & Social Justice,” panel that only included liberal viewpoints.

The university is deep into “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

For example, when The College Fix identified more than 500 employees working on DEI efforts at the university, the school pushed back by suggesting there were even more staffers focused on it.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values at the University of Michigan. As such, there is not a specific budget set aside for diversity outreach and recruitment,” a spokesperson said.

That is a fair statement – after all, the university is implementing “Diversity 2.0,” including with $15.8 million from the National Institutes of Health for “equity and inclusion” hiring in the biomedical fields.

That adds to the $63 million the university (i.e. taxpayers) is shelling out as part of just that one initiative. It should not be confused with separate “systemic racism” grants, also given out by the university.

Aggressive efforts needed, not just resolutions

There is a better way for the University of Michigan – it can seriously make concerted efforts to invest in important political topics in a balanced way. Toothless resolutions will not do anything.

There is a committee looking into implementation of the resolution – here are a few things they should consider.

Instead of a post-Roe task force focused on how the university, essentially partnering with Planned Parenthood, can kill babies, the school could create a think tank that focuses on important bioethical topics.

It would require actual balance – the think tank itself could primarily focus on hosting debates with people with different points of view on abortion, birth control, euthanasia, and in-vitro fertilization. It could disseminate both sides through videos, essays, and other publications to help contribute to the debate.

Academic departments could also make real efforts to recruit professors from right-leaning institutions, such as Catholic University of America, Hillsdale College, and Liberty University.

This would not be affirmative action for conservatives – rather, it would simply invite those people in who may not believe they have any chance, and then judge them on an impartial rubric.

A complete defunding of all DEI programs would also be a great start – and send a message that the university is focused on true academic inquiry and open debate, not political leftism.

MORE: Democrats outnumber Republicans as commencement speakers

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.