A new report is criticizing what it calls administrative "bloat" in universities where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) staff purportedly outnumber professors in prominent schools’ history departments.
The conservative Heritage Foundation searched the staff of 65 universities within the five major athletic conferences (the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 10, the Big 12, the PAC 12, and the Southeastern Conference), and the average school had 45 people whose formal responsibility included promoting DEI.
The numbers translated into the average university seeing 3.4 staff promoting DEI for every 100 tenured or tenure-track faculty members. For history departments, DEI staff was 1.4 times larger than the number of professors. Meanwhile, DEI staff tended to outnumber by a factor of 4.2 the staff dedicated to helping students with disabilities.
Tuesday’s report comes amid a raging debate over educational institutions’ so-called "equity" initiatives, fueling conservatives’ concerns about ideological bias in academia.
"Continuing to hire more people with sophisticated, corporate-sounding titles seems unlikely to help students feel welcome and learn from each other—nor will creating new units with more administrators advancing political agendas that may be at odds with the preferences of those who pay and subsidize tuition," wrote the study’s authors Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul.
"Such approaches have more to do with the increasingly imbalanced ideological nature of universities than with actual promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion."
The report highlights, for example, the University of Virginia (UVA), which it says has 6.5 DEI staff for every 100 tenure or tenure-track faculty members. Syracuse University, the study claims, has "7.4 people devoted to promoting DEI for every 100 core professors to teach and research all academic subjects."
The numbers are 5.8 for University of Michigan, 6.1 for University of California at Berkeley, and 5.6 for Virginia Tech, according to the right-leaning think tank. Berkeley, Virginia Tech, and the University of Michigan did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
Of course, not all universities fit these patterns. For example, the study claims that Baylor University had three times as many history professors as DEI staff. It added that the University of South Carolina, Rutgers, UCLA, and several others list more history professors than DEI staff.
DEI programs in education have generally been defended as tools for ensuring students from different backgrounds feel welcome on campus.
On its website, Syracuse University says: "Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in the belief that multiple points of view, life experiences, ethnicities, cultures, and belief systems are essential to academic excellence."
A 2016 report from the university argued that "[t]o make our university a place in which all members feel welcome and find a sense of safety and ‘unity in our diversity,’ we need to rethink the ways we interact, remove structural barriers to full participation in the life of our community, and build intercultural competencies."
On its website, the University of Michigan similarly describes its campus-wide initiatives as designed to "encourage a culture of belonging in which every member of our community can grow and thrive."