Read It and Weep – DEI at UVa

Navy helicopter overflies UVa Disharoon Park as team stands at attention for national anthem. Photos By Sanjay Suchak,

by James C. Sherlock

Kerry Daugherty’s column this morning was heart-wrenching for anyone who cares at all about kids’ educations.  The Norfolk School Board voted 6-1…

to begin teaching gender ideology, masturbation, sexual identity, homosexuality, abortion and lesbianism in middle and high schools.

To kids who cannot read or perform mathematics at grade level.

Now we get a look at what awaits any kid who escapes Norfolk public schools with sufficient skills and diversity credits to get accepted into the University of Virginia (UVa).

They will be welcomed by a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy so large, powerful and widely distributed that a DEI factotum will:

  • review and grade their application in the recruitment process;
  • exercise authority over the curriculum and faculty;
  • monitor their progress; and
  • interview each candidate for graduate school and meet with each annually to assess political views.

If I just told you how this works as above, you would think I was making it up.

So I will quote from UVa’s website.

The Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Partnership is a direct report to the President of the university.

His Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion contains a Chief of Staff, an Assistant Vice President, an Administrative Assistant to the Vice President, a Senior Director, two Directors, a University-Community Liaison, a Program Manager, a Researcher and two Assistants.

Then there is of course a DEI Committee on the Faculty Senate Executive Council with a chair and nine other members.

The Student Council. Without question.

The University Threat Assessment Team.  Tragically.

There are 13 schools in the Academic Division of the University. (The UVa Health and Medicine Division has its own DEI system not discussed here.)

We will drill down into only one of them for a picture of the penetration of DEI oversight that permeates down into the classroom.

The College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is the largest of those 13 schools.

The Deans Office Leadership and Staff.

  • Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Associate Director for Community Development & Recruitment

Directors of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI)

Current directors are listed, by department, below.

American Studies: Lisa Goff
Anthropology: Lise Dobrin
Art: Dorothy Wong
Astronomy: Ilse Cleeves
Biology: Masashi Kawasaki
Blandy Experimental Farm: Kyle Haynes
Chemistry: Rebecca Pompano
Classics: Sara Myers
Drama: Katelyn Hale Wood
East Asian Lang, Lit & Cultures: Tomomi Sato
Economics: John McLaren
English/Creative Writing: Marlon Ross
Environmental Sciences: Matt Reidenbach
French Lit/Gen Linguistics: Claire Lyu
History: Debbie Kang
Mathematics: Ben Hayes
Media Studies: Aynne Kokas
Mid East & S. Asian Lang & Cultures: Robert Hueckstedt
Monroe Hall: Karlin Luedtke
Music: Michael Puri
Philosophy: Elizabeth Barnes
Physics: Dinko Pocanic
Politics: Justin Kirkland
Psychology: Noelle Hurd and Bethany Teachman
Religious Studies: Natasha Heller
Sociology: Terry Sullivan (note: President Emeritus)
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese: Fernando Opere
Statistics: Dan Spitzner
Woodson IAAS: Lisa Shutt

[Note: Good to know that at Blandy Farm, with a faculty of four, one of them is a DDEI.]

Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations [of DDEIs]

Directors of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DDEIs) will advance, promote, and cultivate diverse, inclusive, and equitable departments. Collectively the DDEIs will constitute a community of advocates and partners. Working with the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, they will assist in implementing best practices and serve as a point of contact in their department/program for issues relating to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Such issues include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Hiring and retention of faculty (and, where applicable, postdoctoral scholars);
  2. Graduate student recruitment, retention, and curriculum;
  3. Undergraduate student recruitment, retention, and curriculum;
  4. Staff hiring, treatment, and retention; and
  5. Cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable departmental climate.

What does the DDEI do?

All DDEIs:

  • Attend at least 2 DDEI meetings each semester.
  • Meet individually with the AD for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion once per semester.
  • Provide updates and present information during their departmental faculty meetings when appropriate, and at least once a semester.
  • In departments and programs with graduate programs: Meet with prospective graduate students during recruitment visits, and all enrolled graduate students at least once a year.
  • Participate as an external member in the chair/director search process.
  • Participate in the faculty search and hiring process. At a minimum: join the AD for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the search launch meeting with HR and the search chair, review the position description prior to posting, assist with the outreach to diverse candidates, provide feedback regarding the search process (including but not limited to rubric and criteria for long and shortlists of candidates), and meets with candidates during interviews.

Focus Areas
Each DDEI selects one or two focus areas from the following list for their department or program each year in consultation with their department and the AD for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Faculty (and, where applicable, postdoc) hiring and retention.
  • Graduate student recruitment, retention, and curriculum.
  • Undergraduate student recruitment, retention, and curriculum.
  • Staff hiring, treatment, and retention.
  • Cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable departmental climate.
  • Other activities that the DDEI determines are critical for their department’s role in advancing, promoting, and cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. DDEI compensation- $2500 allocated to their research budgets per year of tenure.

Bottom line. As for the photo, I just liked it.

But I told you I could not make up the DEI smothering of both opportunity and freedoms within the University. You just saw that I did not.

But the good news is that none can dispute now what it is they do.

Starting from the top and working down through what we have reviewed here we see 55 DEI positions.

And we only drilled down into one of the 13 schools in the Academic Division. We did not even try to assess the DEI structure of the UVa Health and Medicine Division.

Please note that not only is state money used to help pay and support them, but they retire on state pensions.

But dollar cost is not, to me, the biggest issue. The biggest is the structural assault on individual speech and freedoms.

In the Academic Division, the DEI bureaucracies down to the individual school through to school department level have authority over:

  • faculty and staff recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention;
  • graduate student recruitment, retention and curricula;
  • undergraduate recruitment, retention and curricula;
  • other activities at their sole determination.

In the past some have chafed when I called out as political commissariats the DEI program at UVa and at other state institutions of higher learning .

How about now?