Woke Bloat at Virginia’s 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.

This column has been republished with permission from Bacon’s Rebellion.

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10 months ago
Reply to  James Bacon

With this massive bureaucracy in search of their prescribed DEI goals, it would be interesting to inquire how many specific instances of racism have been validated at UVA. If there are none, truly what is their purpose?

They appear to be merely reciting pre-1964 Jim Crow era grievances or in some instances bemoaning the history of slavery in 19th century Virginia. Apply the $8MM+ in DEI overhead expenses to lowering tuition charges. Think of how many other worthy students of ALL races could then afford to attend UVA. But that doesn’t fit the Progressive formula, does it?

Walter smith
Walter smith
10 months ago

DEI is a poison. Counter-productive. It increases division and alienation. On purpose. For power. Wake up BOV and all people. You need a translation of the nice sounding words.
Save Our Democracy really means keep our oligarchic fat cat, unaccountable system in place, cuz the grift is so good. Besides the fact we are a Republic.
Diversity has nothing to do with thought. It means “marginalized” or some group or characteristic not favored or out of power and requires that you approve it – think LGBTQ+ or Trans or Fat acceptance. Go Zyahna! Destroy an innocent white girl’s life and get rewarded by Unilever/Dove for your incredibly bad health habits (that were real bad factors indicating risk from Covid, but don’t pay attention to that).
Equity does not mean fairness. It means tilting the field to end up at Justice, which means equal outcomes. Lack of equal outcomes proves the racism/hate/discrimination, so the grift repeats. It is a con game. Three card monte.

10 months ago
Reply to  Walter smith

Yes, there was terrible discrimination against blacks in the past. No one says that was correct, ethical or remotely justifiable.

However, the solution is not to now turn the tables and berate and discriminate against white kids (like Morgan Bettinger) who had absolutely nothing to do with that.

If this weren’t the case, then two wrongs would make a right. DEI policies at their core are nothing but concerted payback. It ingrains in its adherents an aggrievement, victim mentality that completely ignores the vast strides in opportunity for minorities in the past 6 decades.

It is absolutely a level playing field today. You have to pick up the ball, learn the rules of the game, and work hard to score a touchdown. The rules don’t include getting the ball on the opponent’s 20 yard line or handicapping the other team’s defense.

10 months ago
Reply to  Wahoo74

The key word and what it all boils down to is the “equity” which is code for communism/socialism.

chip williams
chip williams
10 months ago

Why can’t we eliminate DEI completely? Why do we need ANY DEI administrators? In practice DEI is the opposite of what it claims to accomplish; Diversity thru racial discrimination, Equity thru forced outcomes instead of equal opportunity and Inclusion by excluding white heterosexual Christians. The board of Visitors should inform president Ryan that the mission of UVa is NOT to discriminate by race, sex or religion and that he needs to establish a merit based system for administrators students and faculty that rewards hard work, talent and academic accomplishment not a woke political ideology. If Mr Ryan can’t do this he needs to go somewhere else. I hope that in two years time a Board of Visitors with the proper vision for UVa’s future will make that call.

10 months ago
Reply to  chip williams

Agree 100%

10 months ago

Most people view a student body as a group of individuals. College administrators see several groupings arranged by privileged and victims which makes DEI investment necessary.
Students see how administrators view them which creates divisions and camps amongst the student body.
There is no way to measure DEI effectiveness. There is no end game. So the budgetary costs and damage to student body cohesiveness are endless.
And – since resources are limited – universities are choosing to fund DEI over teaching faculty. So all students suffer.
This is where we are.