Woke Bloat at Virginia Universities

by James A. Bacon

Step aside California! Public universities in Virginia have built larger diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies than taxpayer-funded universities in any other state, concludes a new backgrounder by The Heritage Foundation. The DEI bureaucracy at the University of Virginia includes 94 employees listed on its website, says the report. Virginia Tech has 83 DEI personnel, while George Mason University has 69.

Expressed as a ratio of DEI bureaucrats to tenure-track faculty members, GMU earned the top spot as DEI top-heavy, with a ratio 0f 7.4 to 100. UVa was close behind with 6.5, while Tech was 5.6. In comparison, uber-woke Cal Berkeley has a 6.1 per 100 ratio.

(I’ll have to stop making quips about UVa being the Berkeley of the East Coast. From now on I’ll describe Berkeley as the UVa of the West Coast.)

If there are other institutions with higher DEI/faculty ratios, they were not among the 65 included in the Heritage survey. Authors Jay Greene and Mike Gonzalez restricted their investigations to the Power 5 athletic conferences, encompassing universities in the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12, the Southeastern Conference, and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Counts may vary from study to study, depending upon whom the researchers classify as a DEI employee. Heritage counts all staff and interns in administrative units that advocate for racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual-orientation groups on campus. It does not include employees engaged in civil rights enforcement or academic programs such as African-American or gender studies.

“The DEI staff are best understood as administrative units on campus that articulate and enforce orthodox views on matters relate to race, gender or sexual orientation,” says the backgrounder, “The Dangerous DEI Bloat at Virginia’s Public Universities.”

States the summary: “These bloated DEI staffs are wasteful, associated with worse campus climates, and are found at universities that promote radical ideologies. Virginia policymakers must rein in this dangerous DEI expansion.”

Some excerpts from the backgrounder:

The University of Virginia (UVA) listed 94 people on university websites as part of its DEI bureaucracy. Two years ago, UVA had 1,454 tenured or tenure-track faculty, giving it a ratio of 6.5 DEI personnel for every 100 faculty members. Only the University of Michigan had more DEI personnel, with 163, but Michigan lagged UVA in the size of its DEI bureaucracy relative to the number of faculty, with a ratio of 5.8.

The authors gave special attention to GMU.

A review of George Mason University websites also reveals a disturbing amount of radical content that is inappropriate for a public university supported by taxpayers. This is particularly surprising given GMU’s reputation as a center-right university. GMU’s large DEI bureaucracy is creating a reality that is at odds with this reputation.

(That reputation is based on oases of conservative or libertarian thought at the Scalia School of Law, the Department of Economics, and the Mercatus Center. Otherwise, in my observation, the institution is thoroughly progressive.)

Radical content abounds on GMU web pages. says Heritage. GMU’s University Life division, they continue,

recommends donating to or signing petitions for organizations and proposed legislation to abolish police departments, engage in Marxist revolution, treat Americans differently according to their race, and diminish the nuclear family. It provides a list of “action items” that includes a hyperlinked box saying, “Advocate.” That link directs people to an article titled, “Guide to Being an Anti-Racism Activist.” That article implores readers to combat systemic racism, which it defines as “characterized by unjust enrichment of White people, unjust impoverishment of people of color, and an overall unjust distribution of resources across racial lines….”

Incidentally, the authors add, GMU’s University Life is not one of the DEI bureaucracies whose staff counted toward the DEI total at GMU.

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15 responses to “Woke Bloat at Virginia Universities”

  1. DJRippert Avatar

    And where is Jim Ryan on this? Where is the Board of Visitors? Where is the state government – both the General Assembly and the governor?

    When the Board of Visitors tried to fire Teresa Sullivan and was overturned, it should have been clear to everybody that nobody in Virginia’s power structure cares a bit about higher learning in the state.

  2. Bob X from Texas Avatar
    Bob X from Texas

    How many DIE staffers does VMI employ?
    Any is too many.

  3. Oh joy! Virginia number one in the country. It’s no longer just 7 dead presidents!

    Think of the good UVa’s 94 DIE staffers could do if assigned TDY to Charlottesville’s schools to tutor kids in reading, writing and figuring. That is almost 5x as many as C’ville has gifted certified teachers to spread among their 86% gifted students. Turn that DIE sows ear into a silk purse and actually make a positive difference in people’s lives. Hey, I can dream can’t I?

    1. Matt Adams Avatar

      Perhaps the house of cards might be a crumbling. It appears Dr. Kendi’s “anti-racism” center is under investigation for money mismanagement at current.

      1. Who would ever have considered the possibility that Ibram X. Kendi might be a greedy, self-promoting, rent seeker? Certainly not I…

        1. Matt Adams Avatar

          Well clearly the 50 now “disgruntled” (his words) employees he laid off didn’t think so. Or maybe they just saw an easy and forever payday that ended.

  4. Thomas Dixon Avatar
    Thomas Dixon

    It is just another means to weaken the greatest country in the world so communism can take over.

  5. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    Two theories on GMU’s higher number. Likely both with merit.
    1. Proximity to the swamp
    2. Counterweight to kill a few schools/departments at GMU not crazy

  6. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Pretty sure these are not dedicated personnel as discussed previously but instead existing staff who have taken on DEI roles as well.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Oh geeze, there you go again with the facts… what a buzzkiller!

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Demanding facts! He’s a real fun-sucker, alright.

      2. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Demanding facts! He’s a real fun-sucker, alright.

    2. StarboardLift Avatar

      This is an academic specialty in its own rite, not an administrative task divvied up among faculty. Ph.Ds abound. It behooves a university which sells these degrees to turn around and hire them, giving them value–another example of cat chasing its tail. UVA has 2 separate but linked departments. As VP of DEI Kevin McDonald was paid $374,850 last year, while over in the Office of Equal Opportunity & Civil Rights the Associate VP Emily Springston pulled $250,950. I see 17 positions in one department, 14 in another. But to your point, there is a lot of DEI work going on all over, Council on this, Committee for that within existing organs throughout every school within the U.

      1. And that’s with only a little over 2% black males attending. Makes you wonder how much they’d have paid McDonald if he had actually included black men at more than about 1/3 of their incidence in the population. Not bad pay for utterly failing to achieve his mission. It looks like he gets to come back and do it again next year. Not bad “work” if you can get it. Perish the thought that DIE ineffectiveness might play into racial stereotypes.

  7. Not Today Avatar

    It is also possible, no…LIKELY, that most of the DEI functions funneled to DEI-dedicated staff in VA were/are performed as a normal and natural part of doing the job of educating, accommodating disabilities, feeding, housing, and otherwise respecting students in the states/schools used as comparisons, LONG before VA got a clue. They don’t need and don’t have DEI titles or affiliations because it’s part of doing their jobs well and the right thing to do to meet the needs of students. Or, maybe, there’s a conspiracy to create a DEI bureaucracy in VA alone. SMH.

    A better question is, how do students in protected classes, those covered under Title VI/ADA and state law, differ in their rating of experiences at VA universities compared to those who do not self-identify that way. Will any of the polemicists here ask?

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