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UNC Chapel Hill’s chief diversity officer earns 38% more than N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

This is a higher education bubble alert if ever there was one. Can someone explain to me in what world it makes sense that Taffye Benson Clayton, UNC-Chapel Hill’s chief diversity officer, earns 38 percent more than North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory?

Mind boggling, isn’t it?

And yet, the News & Observer’s public employee salary database shows McCrory’s annual salary at $142,265 annually, while Clayton’s salary comes in at $195,700.

This chasm was pointed out this week by the good folks at the Pope Center for Higher Education, who went on to point out the costly diversity madness doesn’t stop there. (Keep in mind, this info is in advance of an upcoming vote on a proposed UNC salary range increase …)

Many argue that chancellor, system administrator, and professor salaries are based on higher education’s market rates, and that if they were to be reduced, top talent would flee to other states and university systems. Let’s, for the sake of argument, ignore the steady stream of scandals and politically correct inanities emanating from some UNC campuses—which would suggest the “talent” may not be as “top” as advertised—and assume that our “public servants” in the UNC aristocracy don’t come cheap. Some other university positions, however, don’t come close to passing the smell test.

For instance, taxpayers may cringe to learn that UNC-Chapel Hill’s Chief Diversity Officer, Taffye Benson Clayton, earns $195,000 per year, or 38 percent more than Governor Pat McCrory. Clayton heads the university’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, which hosts campus events, diversity “training” sessions for students and faculty, and seminars, such as “Interrupting Heteronormativity in Research.” The office employs ten full-time employees as well as graduate and undergraduate staff members. Its second- and third-highest paid staffers earn $101,000 and $72,000, respectively.

A related but far more egregious example of lavish campus administration comes from North Carolina State University. Its Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) employs 30 people. Total salary expenditures exceed $1.85 million annually. Three employees earn more than $100,000 and only 2 staffers earn less than $40,000. The office includes, among others, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) center, a Women’s Center, and an African-American cultural center.

Like UNC-Chapel Hill’s diversity and multicultural affairs office, NC State’s OIED has a strong “social justice” emphasis. It hosts events and “educates” students and faculty via seminars, workshops, and conferences. In October, for example, the GLBT Center is hosting a workshop titled “Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions.”

It’s insane how much these diversity czars earn on the taxpayer’s dime, and it isn’t just happening in North Carolina, either.

As The College Fix reported last month, the recently tapped chief diversity officer at Northern Illinois University will make $205,000 a year – a $185,000 salary and $20,000 in allowances and expenses – collecting more than 99 percent of U.S. Congress members and all U.S. governors.

To put the bureaucrat’s salary in perspective, her compensation is more than all 50 governors in America, whose salaries range between $70,000 and $188,000. It’s more than what 99 percent of U.S. Congress members earn as well. Their salaries stand at $174,000.

And in reality, many (if not most) campuses pay their diversity, equity and inclusion executives $165,000-plus annually. And that’s just the top post, it doesn’t even count the underlings who staff their office and the money allocated for “diversity” events.

I am so ready for the higher ed bubble to burst. This madness must end. It’s not just a huge waste of money, but the liberal activism and bias that comes out of these “diversity” offices essentially amounts to taxpayer dollars used to promote leftist ideologies on campuses.

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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