How about some real diversity instead of the DEI sham that demonstrably does not help Black students?
I don’t want to get in the way of the decent idea finally and begrudgingly approved by the Board of Regents as part of the DEI deal — approximately doubling the number of conservatives on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus faculty and adding one more.
But I do hope whoever writes up the job posting is honest.
Wanted: A really smart person to join the faculty at the OG of progressivism: UW-Madison. We don’t care about the color of your skin (just this once!) but unusual thickness is an absolute must. Epidermis should be approximately as thick as, say, a good border wall. Candidates with lesser thickness should have willingness to wear Kevlar.
I think it might be helpful to also explicitly require a good sense of humor, but that need is going be pretty apparent once the posting gets out and progressives accuse the university of both discriminating against illegal immigrants and making light of gun violence.
There’s nothing wrong with adding one more conservative — if they can find the right one. But the truth is that adding one more is peanuts.
“While happy to see the university is recognizing this as a deficiency,” one of the few admittedly conservative professors at the university, UW-Madison Political Science Professor Ryan Owens, says, “this effort needs to be much more significant and institutionalized.”
Research conducted by the National Association of Scholars a couple of years ago found that Democratic professors outnumber their Republican colleagues by a ratio of 8.5 to 1 on top college campuses.
Comes from the top
There’s no reason to think Madison is substantially different; it’s probably worse — and the climate and culture isn’t just emanating from the faculty lounge. As evidenced by the debate over DEI this week, it comes from much of the administration and even a chunk of the Board of Regents.
The deal, initially rejected by the regents and then approved after a few of them realized there is a real world out here, basically curtails “Diversity Equity and Inclusion” efforts in exchange for pay raises for UW employees and a promise to advance a bunch of other stuff, including a new engineering building.
The formal agreement passed by the regents says that UW-Madison will seek philanthropic support to create an endowed chair that will focus on conservative political thought, classical economic theory or classical liberalism, depending on the donor’s interest.
The university will also freeze DEI positions and realign about a third of them, 43, “to areas with a primary focus on academic and student success.”
It’s too bad they can’t realign all of them. As we’ve pointed out, there’s no evidence the extensive DEI program actually works.
The low number of Black students graduating with a bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison is a travesty — and, despite an enormous DEI bureaucracy, it’s not getting better.
According to 2022 U.S. Census figures, 6.6% of Wisconsin is “Black or African-American alone.”
In the 2021-22 school year, 146 Black students earned a bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison. That’s less than 2% of the 7,460 students who earned a degree at that campus that year. The number of graduates fluctuates a little year to year, but that is only three more Black students than the 143 who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2011-12.
Segregation and animosity
Such horrific numbers don’t deter DEI advocates outraged by the deal this week.
“Let’s be perfectly clear here,” Rep. Dora Drake, D-Milwaukee, said at a Wednesday news conference. “This deal is part of a systemic, racist deal, and it is discriminatory. It’s discriminatory toward students, faculty and staff of color, because their experiences should never have a price tag.”
Shannon Whitworth, executive director of the Free Enterprise Academy at Milwaukee Lutheran High School and member of Badger Institute’s Board of Directors, penned a piece recently that explains how DEI programs actually do more harm than good:
“DEI also works against students by actively encouraging the students to separate themselves from the rest of the student body, with segregated activities, curriculum and housing. This imposed isolation denies Black students the opportunity to advance their academic and social education cooperatively, just like any other students on campus.
“This creates a culture of anti-intellectualism, segregation and animosity, which serves no one except the bursar. Is it any wonder why so many Black students don’t finish?”
Drake obviously doesn’t get that. The vast majority of professors don’t get that. And much of the administrative bureaucracy pushing this idea that people must be categorized into groups and some groups given priority don’t get that.
One other thing UW-Madison could do to help eradicate the harmful DEI program is get away from this notion that administrators need to come from academia. There’s no reason everyone from chancellors right down to deans of students who have some hiring power can’t come from the real world.
Because that’s not the world they live in right now.
Mike Nichols is the President of the Badger Institute. Permission to reprint is granted as long as the author and Badger Institute are properly cited.
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