The National Association of Scholars has always thought that large numbers of higher education administrators were—deadwood? Pernicious? Disastrous in their effects on students, as they sent them off on jolly Red Guardish consciousness-raising spring breaks? Some misbegotten laboratory experiment, that crossbred Tammany Hall, OGPU commissars, and the Golgafrincham Ark Fleet Ship B?
The coronavirus allows us to put it more simply: the diversity bureaucrats, and all their cronies, are dispensable.
Diversity Weekends, with all the supplies and busywork needed to make them happen? No students, no staffers, no weekend festivity. Multicultural Film Festivals? Screening canceled, screening canceled, no film at eleven. The lectures on microaggressions have been preempted by microbes—invisible beasties which actually do cause harm. The Bias Response Teams must satisfy themselves with screenshots of professors lecturing from their laptops. The service-learning spring break became a staycation. Our colleges scramble to perform their essential function—teaching—and the emergency makes starkly clear just how useless are the diversity bureaucrats larded through higher education administration.
We never needed the legion of diversicrat fifth wheels. Now, anyone who cares to look will see that they are getting paid for doing nothing.
But we can’t expect presidents and deans to act on that knowledge. In some cases, the college presidents are themselves the products of the diversity bureaucracy, busy subordinating the entire college to the diversity commissars. Throughout higher education, the small coterie of decisionmakers includes the Dean of Diversity—and even if the college presidents could cast off the doublethink diversity blinders they have worn for so long, they’ll find it difficult to tell one of their loyal cronies face-to-face that nothing they do does a lick of good. Then too, they’ll be afraid of punishment by the accreditors, and of lawsuits, if they start to sack diversity officers. The law and the accreditation regulations will punish them if they try to save their colleges by getting rid of the diversicrat dead weight.
Americans can only get rid of the diversity bureaucracies by both allowing the college presidents to get rid of the deadwood, and requiring them to get rid of them. Congress and the Department of Education must eliminate all requirements, especially accreditation requirements, that force colleges to require diversicrats. They must also extend legal immunity to colleges against lawsuits that claim that firing a diversicrat is racist and illegal. Congress—and private donors, and families paying tuition—must follow up by restricting any further money they give to specific purposes that cannot be re-allocated to fund diversicrats. College presidents must be given a clear choice between college bankruptcy and firing the diversicrats.
Then they can turn to the Deans of Diversity in their smoke-filled rooms, and say, collectively, Gosh, I’m sorry, I don’t have a choice. I’m going to have to let you go.
The best college presidents might even breathe a sigh of relief inside. They’ll be glad to have an excuse to do what they always knew was best for higher education—but couldn’t dare to say.
David Randall is Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars.
Image: Kate Sade, Public Domain