by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Anthony Hennen’s latest Martin Center column focuses on the recent UNC system discussion about the number of campus staffers devoted to “diversity.”
In June 2017 the North Carolina General Assembly requested that the state’s university system conduct a thorough analysis of its diversity and inclusion efforts as part of an ongoing assessment of programs’ cost efficiency and performance.
Within three months from now, the legislature will receive a report that catalogs the system’s diversity procedures rather than criticizes its deficiencies. Should the legislature accept the report’s conclusions, diversity jobs will be safe from scrutiny even while university costs continue to climb.
To the researchers who conducted the report, every job and program within the entire system’s diversity apparatus appeared too essential to cut. Furthermore, both the report and the reaction of the UNC system leaders suggest a system that is self-satisfied and resistant to common-sense efficiency measures. A critical eye on campus activities—and how officials spend public money—is sadly missing from the report.
The UNC general administration hired Conduent HR Consulting to create the report, who then presented it during the UNC system Board of Governors’ Committee on Personnel and Tenure meeting on January 25. It exposed a sprawling $16.6 million system-wide diversity apparatus, not including employee benefits. This apparatus includes 198 institution-specific policies, 11 system-wide policies, 527 programs, and 273 salaried positions.
Furthermore, that $16.6 million may be dwarfed by the downstream inefficiencies resulting from all the policies and programs. The public has so far lacked information on how useful this activity is or how much students benefit. Unfortunately, the report provides little insight on program effectiveness, as few measurements are in place.