Leef’s latest Martin Center column questions value of campus diversity officers

George Leef uses his latest Martin Center column to probe the purpose of college campus diversity officers.

Over the last few decades, the number of college administrators has grown far more than the numbers of students and faculty. Amid this administrative bloat, the greatest growth has been in “diversity” officials. Even community colleges have begun hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDO).

A persistent question, however, is whether having a CDO and other diversity administrators accomplishes anything of educational value. American colleges and universities are as inclusive and “welcoming” to students and faculty of all races and backgrounds as any institutions on the planet, so exactly how does a CDO make things any better?

More than ten years ago, Peter Wood and Ashley Thorne of the National Association of Scholars asked ”What Does a Chief Diversity Officer Actually Do?” and in an “emperor is wearing no clothes” fashion, answered that their jobs are pointless and self-serving. Among their observations were that the CDO must “ignore or trivialize any rational objections to the institutionalization of the diversity ideology” and to “keep the empty suppositions (about the benefits of diversity) going by repeating them tirelessly.”

Wood and Thorne, in sum, found no educational value at all in college diversity bureaucracies.

Another skeptic regarding the CDO is David Frum.

Writing two years ago in The Atlantic, Frum noted that what many minority students (and many non-minority ones) really need if they’re to succeed in college is not a “Chief Diversity Officer,” but intensive teaching and mentoring. Unfortunately, diversity officers don’t involve themselves with such nuts and bolts matters.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...