It is painfully poetic that I write this letter now. Not only is this the week after our remembrance for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message, but this week also marks the first anniversary of the termination of my employment with George Mason University. A little over a year ago, working as a communications assistant for the institution, I was instructed to write an article promoting so-called “diversity, equity, inclusion” and “antiracism.”1 Having read and understood the literature recommended to me by university officials, I summarily refused for reasons I will explain shortly. My position was terminated a few days later, but I write this letter not to complain, but rather to share a concern that the Youngkin administration should consider.
As you are all aware, it was recently revealed that at least 17 high schools in northern Virginia withheld the prestigious National Merit Scholar awards from their best students. These actions were done in the pursuit of “equity”— defined not as “fairness,” but as “equality of outcomes.” Fairfax County Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid has even admitted that she has made it her job to create “equitable opportunities” and “equal outcomes” for all students, but this educational philosophy is a dagger in the “heart of the American dream,” as Governor Youngkin defined it.2 I fear, however, that any investigation into these acts will mistake these school administrators as the only culprits. The greater concern should be over the officials in Virginia’s university system.
Even if every superintendent and principle in the Commonwealth were fired, it would not solve the problem. New school administrators will turn to the universities for guidance, and as long as Virginia’s universities remain captured by DEI ideologues, these immoral and very likely illegal practices will inevitably continue. Attorney General Miyares’ investigation must, therefore, be just the beginning. The investigation must be expanded to include the Virginia’s university system, which must be purged of every administrator who supports, or who has supported, these DEI initiatives. DEI ideology not only corrodes the public’s trust in higher education, Virginia’s government, and the American government, but also frays the very social fabric. Decades ago, our enemies introduced this ideology for that very purpose.3
While the Youngkin administration is certainly aware of the threat posed by DEI ideology, they may be shocked to learn just how embedded DEI has become in Virginia’s universities.
In a recent study conducted by the Virginia Association of Scholars—a chapter of the National Association of Scholars—the authors concluded that the overall cost in 2020, a year for which data were available for all 15 schools, exceeded $15,050,635.00. The authors note that this figure is already obsolete, given the continued focus on DEI in 2021 and 2022. The rate of growth for funding DEI is also high. At two universities, James Madison and the University of Virginia, the year-over-year increase from 2020 to 2021 was up 82 percent, and many if not most of these schools plan to increase their DEI efforts even further. The report points out the opportunity costs and other harms caused by these expenditures: Money spent on DEI is money lost for student scholarships, books, libraries, laboratories, and professors. The money spent on DEI also fuels administrative bloat and, in turn, tuition increases.
And DEI does nothing but pollute the academic environment with a pernicious ideology.4
The report’s co-author and the Virginia Association of Scholars’ vice-president Dr. Teresa Manning noted DEI’s anti-Americanism in a recent American Greatness article:
“In fall 2021… Virginia’s James Madison University in Harrisonburg showed a DEI video to student employees running orientation; the video divided individuals into two groups, “oppressor” and “oppressed.” The “oppressed” included non-Western Europeans, homosexuals, LGBTQ+, blacks, Asians and “Latinx,” while the “oppressors” included men, heterosexuals, Western Europeans, Christians, the middle class and . . . Americans!”5 Pernicious, indeed.
Given Governor Youngkin’s statements about the anti-Americanism inherent to this “equity” doctrine, I have no doubt that he and his advisors understand fully why DEI must be abolished. Virginians who are unaware, however, will surely benefit from a brief discussion of both DEI and so-called “antiracism.” The tenet of diversity sounds wholesome, but often focuses entirely on skin color. Diversity, then, is nothing more than an echo of the most fundamental racist idea, that the color of one’s skin can guarantee how different that person will be. Inclusion, another tenet in the DEI trinity, denies the right to free association, and is usually a blatant lie. Those with differing viewpoints, especially views challenging DEI, find themselves quickly excluded.
Yet the problems raised by diversity and inclusion pale in comparison to the last tenet: “equity.” The “equity” doctrine is founded on the idea that the only true measure of equality is outcome. DEI ideologues promoting this doctrine assume that positions in every level of an organizational structure should be occupied by a proportion of the population equivalent in percentage to the demographic proportions in the general population. If these proportional percentages are not met, the DEI ideologues presume this different result—an “inequity”—is due to some form of oppression (racism, sexism, etc.)
The problems with the “equity” doctrine are many, but I will discuss only two. First, the doctrine is too simplistic. It assumes that a few cherry-picked causes, such as prejudice, are both responsible for, and a sufficient explanation of, very complex socioeconomic phenomena. Second, the uniform outcomes of so-called “equity” are impossible to achieve as well as undesirable. There are too many jobs, homes, companies, and circumstances, across too many identity groups, to ever ensure equality of outcomes. The “equity” doctrine is technically impossible, and those who would implement it must introduce an authoritarian system so large that “inequities” will look trivial in comparison.6
Nowhere has this desire to impose an authoritarian system been more clearly articulated than in the movement called “antiracism”—the most common variant of DEI ideology. Writing for Politico in 2019, Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, argued that we should establish a new federal agency—the Department of Antiracism (DOA)—that would have no political appointees, thus no oversight from the President or from Congress, and would be responsible for “preclearing all local, state, and federal public policies,” thereby ending the separation of powers and the concept of federalism. The DOA would also “monitor” public officials and punish them should they not change their views to align with those of the DOA, effectively ending representative democracy.7
For these reasons, I refused to write that article in support of DEI during my time as an employee of George Mason University and my employment was ended for it. For these same reasons, I write now to warn Virginians of DEI ideology and to caution the Youngkin administration as it proceeds with its investigation of these “equity” focused high schools. While that investigation is a good start, understand that lasting change will only be achieved when Virginia’s universities—the superordinate educational authorities to which every superintendent, school board, and high school principal naturally turn—are purged of their DEI ideologues and return to educating our young people, rather than indoctrinating them.
The National Association of Scholars
1 See Peter Wood, “Regime Change: Repelling the DEI Assault on Higher Education,” The National Association of Scholars, 13 June 2022. https://www.nas.org/blogs/statement/regime-change-repelling-the-dei-assault-on-higher-education
2 Asra Nomani, “Now 17 area schools withheld National Merit awards, mostly impact Asian students,” Fairfax County Times, 18 January 2023. https://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/fairfax_county/now-17-area-schools-withheld-national-merit-awards-mostly-impact-asian-students/article_dec2a6ac-977a-11ed-adf7-1f13a38c8d2d.html
3 See Mason Goad, “KGB Documents Show the Secret History of Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracist” Movement,” Minding the Campus, 29 August 2022. https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2022/08/29/kgb-documents-show-the-secret-history-of-ibram-x-kendis-antiracist-movement/
4 Eric Hammer, William Knorpp, Teresa Manning, “Should Virginians Pay for University “Diversity” Leftism?” The Virginia Association of Scholars, 2023. https://thejeffersoncouncil.com/app/uploads/2023/01/2023-DEI-report.pdf
5 Teresa R. Manning, “Destructive Diversity ideology at Virginia’s Universities Must Go,” American Greatness, 11 January 2023. https://amgreatness.com/2023/01/11/destructive-diversity-ideology-at-virginias-universities-must-go/
6 See Jordan Peterson, “Equity: When the Left Goes Too Far,” https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/political-correctness/equity-when-the-left-goes-too-far/
7 See Ibram X. Kendi, “Pass an Anti-Racist Constitutional Ammendment,” Politico 2019. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/how-to-fix-politics-in-america/inequality/pass-an-anti-racist-constitutional-amendment/