Nobody can apparently say
Yale University is spending a massive amount of money on one single campus diversity initiative, pouring well over $100 million into a faculty recruiting drive. Yet the total budget for diversity spending at the university remains elusive, with one faculty member speculating that it might not be possible to “put a dollar number” on the school’s total diversity efforts.
In 2015, Yale launched the Faculty Excellence and Diversity Initiative. At the time, university President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak said that the university “can and should do more” to “foster a more diverse and more inclusive faculty.” The school initially pledged $50 million over a five-year period for the program.
Last month, Salovey announced that the program was being renewed for an additional five years and with a 70 percent increase in budget.
“Due to the success we have seen so far, I am renewing FEDI for another five years with an additional $85 million,” Salovey wrote, calling the initiative “an emphatic statement about our commitment to recruiting the most distinguished scholars, who will help diversify Yale, transform their fields, create knowledge to improve the world, and inspire our students to lead and serve all sectors of society.”
Yale is consequently on track to spend $135 million on one single diversity initiative over a 10-year span. In light of that mammoth figure, how much the school spends on diversity total is an open question. Yet answering it proved more difficult than one might have expected.
‘The budget may be completely superfluous to the desired result’
School spokeswoman Karen Peart did not respond to a request for information on Yale’s diversity spending on Monday afternoon. The university’s website, meanwhile, does not appear to post budget information for its various diversity programs such as its Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
The College Fix reached out to multiple faculty members listed under the school’s Faculty Development & Diversity website to learn just how much money was being put towards diversity at Yale outside of the ongoing faculty initiative.
Most did not respond, but those who did claimed ignorance regarding the total amount of diversity spending at the school.
Darin Latimore, the Chief Diversity Officer at Yale School of Medicine, told The Fix via email: “I apologize but I don’t know the answer. The college and each of the professional schools each run their own student diversity efforts.”
Larry Gladney, the Phyllis A. Wallace Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote to The Fix: “I don’t believe it’s possible to put a dollar number on diversity initiatives throughout the University.”
“The $85 million dollars [applied to the FEDI] is meant to aid on-going efforts, for example, not be the budget for them. If a department or School hires a faculty member who happens to add to diversity and excellence, that does not automatically translate into money from the FEDI program going to that department, for example. So the incentive is more complex than the idea that just having more money results in quantifiably more hires,” he wrote.
“There is a budget, but Yale FAS operates according to a *slot* system and slots are not directly connected to dollars. It’s also fair to say that recruitment of Yale undergraduates has yielded more diverse results than efforts in faculty hiring in recent years: slightly more than half of the entering class of 2019 self-identifies as person of color,” he said, adding: “I doubt it can readily be shown that that is a result of relative budgets though.”
The school in recent years has undertaken significant activity regarding diversity initiatives. The university expanded its diversity office last April, adding staff and a new deputy secretary. In August of 2018, the school announced numerous new diversity initiatives, including training, instructional videos and a “Community Outreach and Engagement” team, following the infamous “napping while black” incident there.
The school also offers various social and academic diversity initiatives, such as five separate “cultural centers,” an Office of LGBTQ Resources, an Office for Graduate Student Development & Diversity and a “Minority Student Coordinators” program.
Gladney expressed doubt that the answer could ever be easily forthcoming.
“Unfortunately, even if there were a particular dollar amount for improving diversity of various kinds, it’s probably better to ask how that money is to be spent as the budget may be completely superfluous to the desired result,” he said.
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