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.