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The administrative bloat of ‘diversicrats’ in Idaho’s higher education system

The administrative bloat of ‘diversicrats’ in Idaho’s higher education system

by
Anna Miller
February 28, 2022

In 2021, Idaho’s Legislature told state universities to eschew the harmful critical social justice (CSJ) ideology and return to their core educational mission – the advancement of truth. But Idaho’s flagship universities have maintained spending on diversity administrators, or “diversicrats,” and taken their promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) underground by requiring political litmus tests in job applications.

CSJ is an indictment of American society as irredeemably racist or sexist or homophobic. DEI is the solution that universities adopt to remedy the problems CSJ identifies. CSJ promises to promote DEI wherever possible at the university. 

Most universities begin building a CSJ university by hiring upper-level administrators dedicated to DEI. Total DEI administrative salaries across the system exceed $1.4 million, with at least three administrators making more than $100,000, according to the GovSalaries database. The CSJ-DEI complex expanded this year at Boise State University, which started the Anti-Racism Center and at University of Idaho, which started the Black Cultural Center to provide a “safe space for black students” with a new dedicated director. The public and the Legislature needs to understand the raw numbers of administrators across Idaho’s higher education system dedicated to promoting DEI missions. 

Counting ‘diversicrats’ and DEI bureaucracies 

Boise State University’s Student Equity Center is dedicated to raising awareness about “oppression” and “systemic racism” and their relationship to group identity — bedrock concepts of CSJ. The center offers faculty and students various diversity and inclusion trainings that include materials such as a racial inventory quiz that aims to measure participants’ level of privilege based on their race or color. The center has at least two dedicated administrators; one position’s salary is not publicly available.

Boise State University
TitleOfficeSalary
Assistant to VP for Equity InitiativesStudent Equity$76,493
Administrative AssistantStudent Equity N/A

The stated mission of BSU’s Blue Sky Institute is to “advance diversity equity and inclusion” and “create social change.” The office has at least four dedicated administrators, with three positions’ salaries not publicly available. The office also has a leadership team of four members from the college of business and economics, the college of health sciences, the university’s legal counsel, and the school of public service.  

TitleOfficeSalary
Program ManagerBlue Sky Institute$49,011
DEI FellowBlue Sky InstituteN/A
AmeriCorpy VISTA Volunteer Student Basic Needs CoordinatorBlue Sky InstituteN/A
Graduate AssistantBlue Sky InstituteN/A

The university’s Gender Equity Center is an “environment for people of all gender identities to explore, celebrate and educate the campus community about gender equity.” The center’s web page features critical race theorist Kimberle Crenshaw, known for her work on intersectionality and provides “trans friendly” and LGBTQIA+ resources, and encourages students to engage in advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ cause. The website explains that becoming an LGBTQIA+ advocate requires ongoing reflection of one’s privilege and recommends resources on white privilege for students. The center has at least three dedicated administrators.

TitleOfficeSalary
LMSW DirectorGender Equity Center$65,052
LMSW, Project Director for Violence Prevention and Response InitiativeGender Equity Center$45,442
Administrative Assistant IIGender Equity Center$37,994

The Center for Teaching and Learning seeks to create “diverse, inclusive and equitable learning environments.” The Center encourages faculty members to undergo DEI training through the BUILD Certificate Program, which includes analyzing identity, cultural groups, and systems of oppression. The Center has at least five dedicated administrators, one with a six-figure salary. 

TitleOfficeSalary
Director, BUILD Program & Professor CommunicationCenter for Teaching and Learning$105,287
Director, Service LearningCenter for Teaching and Learning$69,691
Director, Center for Teaching and LearningCenter for Teaching and Learning$27,664
Associate Director for Educational DevelopmentCenter for Teaching and Learning$33,024
Instructional Consultant for Inclusive Teaching, BUILD ProgramCenter for Teaching and Learning$43,010

The University of Idaho’s Office of Equity and Diversity focuses on cultural responsiveness and DEI and reinstated the university’s extensive 25-page diversity plan. The office hosts many left-wing events on campus such as the Black Lives Matter speakers series and “Towards a More Critical Consciousness: Geographics of Exclusion in Higher Education Institutions,” the third part of a four-piece series focusing on “critical analysis” (critical theory) of systems of oppressions. At least three administrators are dedicated to the office, including a chief diversity officer with a six-figure salary. 

University of Idaho
TitleOfficeSalary
Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Director of Tribal RelationsOffice of Equity and Diversity$141,586
Program CoordinatorOffice of Equity and Diversity$43,619
Management AssistantOffice of Equity and Diversity$22,504

Its LGBTQA office is dedicated to exposing students to exploration of sexual orientation and gender identity and eliminating “homophobia, heterosexism and gender identity oppression.” The office sponsors a variety of leftist events such as “Queering Sex Ed,” “Safe Zone Training,” and “Gender and Sexuality Alliance Meetings.” One administrator is currently dedicated to the office.

TitleOfficeSalary
DirectorLGBTQA Office$50,898

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion and promoted the Black Lives Matter speaker series. The office has at least three dedicated administrators, one whose salary is not publicly available.

TitleOfficeSalary
DirectorOffice of Multicultural Affairs$78,476
Academic Retention SpecialistOffice of Multicultural Affairs$16,772
CAMP/OMA Retention SpecialistOffice of Multicultural AffairsN/A

The Women’s Center promotes and advocates for gender equity, social justice and encourages students to participate in activism. The center has at least five student staff members and four dedicated administrators, two whose salaries are not publicly available.

TitleOfficeSalary
DirectorWomen's Center$76,255
Office ManagerWomen's Center$34,587
OVW Project DirectorWomen's CenterN/A
Program CoordinatorWomen's CenterN/A

The University of Idaho has two college level administrators dedicated to advancing DEI within the College of Engineering and the Education, Health and Human Sciences Department. 

TitleOfficeSalary
Director of Diversity, Inclusion and OutreachCollege of EngineeringN/A
Associate Dean of InclusionEducation, Health and Human Sciences$67,109

Idaho State University’s Office of Equity and Inclusion houses the Diversity Resource Center and the Gender Resource Center. The office has an Equity and Inclusion Commission that serves as an advisory body to the Office of the President and liaison to departments across the university with the goal of increasing DEI initiatives. The commission evaluates the campus climate and promotes campus-wide participation in DEI efforts. The university has at least five administrators dedicated to the office, including a director of equity and inclusion who earns a six-figure salary. One administrator, whose salary is not included, is likely dedicated to ensuring compliance with federal law.

Idaho State University
TitleOfficeSalary
DirectorOffice of Equity and Inclusion$111,576
Associate DirectorOffice of Equity and Inclusion$73,583
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action SpecialistOffice of Equity and InclusionN/A
Multicultural Program SpecialistOffice of Equity and Inclusion$43,625
GRC Assistant DirectorGender Resource Center$35,343

Lewis Clark State College’s Center for Teaching and Learning offers faculty and students training and resources on DEI and anti-racism. The center encourages faculty to align classroom practices and activities with “anti-racist skills.” The center has at least 28 DEI and anti-racism faculty ambassadors across campus. Currently the center has only one dedicated administrator. 

Lewis Clark State College
TitleOfficeSalary
DirectorCenter for Teaching and Learning$71,382

Political litmus tests in job applications

Totaling the raw salary figures of administrators at the university and college level of $1.4 million is a very conservative – painfully naive, really – estimate for DEI personnel and spending. It doesn’t account for course-buyouts for those who serve on committees, department support, people who contribute to DEI efforts but have other job responsibilities, and for the opportunity cost of promoting DEI efforts instead of efforts aimed at excellence, competence and other values that universities should pursue. A realistic budget cut to tier back the CSJ-DEI complex would reflect at least twice as much as $1.4 million as the estimate also does not account for how Boise State University and University of Idaho, fearing the legislature’s oversight, have taken DEI underground.  

Both universities have responded to the legislature’s $2.5 million budget reduction in 2021 not by eliminating any existing DEI bureaucracies but by requiring almost all job candidates to include DEI statements in faculty job applications. These ideological loyalty oaths require faculty job candidates to pledge commitment to the university’s DEI agenda as the university continues to undermine meritocracy and colorblindness. Job postings including DEI statements at Idaho’s universities are much more common in the hard sciences than in the social sciences and humanities. A list of examples at Boise State and the University of Idaho can be found here

Such DEI statements are not limited to faculty positions. Boise State is hiring a Dean for the Albertson’s Library through an executive search firm. The Idaho Freedom Foundation has received the email from a candidate that is being recruited. According to the advertisement, one of the preferred qualifications for the position is a “commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion among library staff, faculty and users as it relates to workplace, resources, programs, and accessibility with an understanding of the issues affecting diverse populations.” This is akin to a DEI statement. No candidates are hired unless they pledge fealty to the official regime ideology.

Much the same is happening at the lowest levels of the administration. Salaried and hourly jobs contain what amounts to a DEI loyalty oath. Job advertisements for a Content Writer (salary approximately $45,000) and for hourly jobs such as Management Assistant in Engineering and sundry Management Assistants (earning about $20/ hour) have the same demands. “Boise State University is building an inclusive community of faculty and staff . . . . We seek applicants who are committed to helping us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.”

Common excuses for DEI 

University leaders and public officials offer many excuses for their shameless advancement of DEI and CSJ. Universities may claim that DEI bureaucracies, programs, and administrators are funded by big businesses and are good for the workforce. Yet research has shown that race-conscious and DEI policies are not fundamental to business success. Instead, a woke workplace can create a hostile and polarizing environment. As Manhattan Institute Fellow Charles Lehman has explained, the woke corporate diversity regime doesn’t generate profits and permits harmful radicalism to seep into the workplace. It must be undone.

University leaders sometimes argue that DEI contributes to student health, increasing enrollment, and a positive campus climate. But data shows that colleges’ vast DEI bureaucracy has little relationship to students’ satisfaction with their college or personal experiences with diversity. These diversicrats offer students and faculty endless lectures, training, and programs on microaggressions, implicit bias, intersectionality and racial privilege while disrupting the university’s central purpose – to pursue truth – and the universities essential function – teaching. They are dispensable. As Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation Dr. Jay P. Greene has shown, DEI bureaucracies and programs do not contribute to student-well being on campus. Universities never needed a legion of diversicrats. 

But university presidents and deans will not act based on this knowledge. Sometimes presidents are the products of the diversity bureaucracy themselves and wish to subordinate universities to the DEI-CSJ mission. They also claim to be afraid of consequences from failing to meet accreditation regulations. However, university officials impose DEI on campus life to a degree that exceeds accreditation requirements. 

For example, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the primary accrediting body of postsecondary institutions in the northwest, does not require but merely encourages the adoption of diversity plans. Yet the University of Idaho voluntarily implemented a 25-page DEI plan. Regardless, legislators should ask what good is accreditation if accreditors and universities work together to build an environment that is hostile to viewpoint diversity, undermines American competitiveness, and compromises the pursuit of truth. 

One effective solution to solve the problem of unaccountable higher education accrediting organizations imposing social justice requirements on our public university systems is for states to form their own accrediting organization. In the meantime, another option is to restrict the use of any money to fund DEI administrators or programs. 

Idaho’s higher education system, particularly University of Idaho and Boise State’s, current trajectory shows a clear intent to thumb its nose at the legislature’s intent. Each is building a CSJ university. In the last year they have begun building that CSJ university underground without needing to hire more administrators who will oversee the DEI mission. But they are only hiring administrators, staff, and faculty who have pledged loyalty to this anti-American ideology. These universities will not stop themselves. Only a force from outside paying attention over the long haul will put an end to it. DEI statements should be banned. Budgets should be cut.

Idaho Freedom Foundation
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