NICOLE RUSSELL: Colleges are tossing DEI out like trash — good riddance

The protests that have unfolded at college campuses around the U.S. are a result of anti-semitism and hatred of western values. They also seem to be proof that DEI — diversity, equity and inclusivity-based programs and hires — are failing, at least when it comes to Jewish students. The realization comes just in time as several universities have vacated their DEI faculty and programs, sometimes in accordance with state law banning it. Good riddance; it’s too bad that it took so long.

In Texas, DEI is banned at institutions of higher learning; the law went into effect Jan. 1. The University of Texas (UT) system recently announced at a hearing that nine academic and five health campuses had cut 300 positions and over 600 programs related to DEI training. Critics have complained that Gov. Greg Abbott’s bill went too far and now that it’s being implemented, kids are reconsidering whether to even attend state schools.
Three hundred DEI-based positions represent millions of dollars that the school can now use toward scholarships or other positions.
It’s not just happening in Texas.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees approved a change to divert $2.3 million of DEI funds to public safety and police. In light of the protests that took place there — where one fraternity had to take it upon themselves to keep the American flag from being decimated — it’s easy to see why the board made that decision, though it could have been in the works prior to the protests too. Still, the irony of diverting DEI funds to safety on campus is almost too much to bear.

The DEI uprooting continues. The University of Florida in Gainesville is also reallocating funds to faculty recruitment and the University of Wyoming has banned mandatory DEI statements and closed its DEI office. The Wyoming Legislature forbade the school from spending state funds on DEI.

In a statement, University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel said, “We will not allow units of UW to require job candidates to submit statements regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. We will not have a requirement for employees to be evaluated on components of diversity, equity and inclusion in the performance evaluation process. These actions reaffirm UW’s commitment to merit-based employment practices including hiring and promotion.”

Seidel’s statement underscores exactly why DEI programs are awful for colleges and universities and should be banned or reduced. While merit is not always popular, because not all students start with the same privileges in place, it is the most effective way to ensure that students who are receiving scholarships, aid, or special positions, are doing so because they earned it.

Otherwise, with DEI in place, students receive help or financial aid because they claim to be "marginalized." While it might initially help a student with a leg up, this mindset only perpetuates victimhood, forcing students to constantly fall back on their identity status, rather than work to overcome it and secure the scholarship, position, or internship they desire.

It might never be fully possible to directly connect decades worth of DEI programs with the awful protests showcasing rampant antisemitism and anti-American sentiments at colleges and elite universities across America. But it’s not hard to imagine how the two could be linked.

If some students are at school on a DEI-based scholarship, thanks to the kind aid of a DEI-based faculty member running a DEI-based program — you get the idea — that student may not have actually been there because he earned the spot, but because he was grandfathered in thanks to DEI. Or, perhaps, he believes he is special, because of the DEI label slapped on him, and now he can’t bear to actually extend that same mindset of inclusivity to Jewish students or patriots on campus. The world of DEI only applies to marginalized kids and the left decided long ago this would be focused largely on racial, gender, and sexual identities.

About one-third of states across the nation have banned or limited DEI practices in some form. The colleges and universities that have implemented such bans can now pivot their funds and resources to students on merit-based policies. While there may not be a change on college campuses overnight, change will come. DEI: Good riddance. If only it’d happened sooner.

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