Don’t say ‘America’: Michigan State has more than 140 employees working on 222 DEI action items

ANALYSIS: The university says DEI is part of everything it does

Michigan State University currently has more than 140 employees working on 222 different “diversity, equity and inclusion” agenda items.

Salaries for these employees, some of whom work full-time at DEI, total more than $18 million, according to one study. College Fix analysis. One of these goals included an “inclusive language” guide that instructed university employees not to say “America” or use Easter and Christmas images.

The solution pulled data from the latest “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” report for the public university in Lansing and used salary information from the school and government watchdog group Open the Books. In some cases it is The solution estimated salaries for some employees based on the lowest salaries for staff in comparable positions.

Some action items are more specific than others, including creating an “LGBTQIA2S+ Resource Guide” from the human resources department. The guide “will include critical links to gender-affirming and transition-related healthcare benefits, specifically targeting the needs of the trans and non-binary community.”

Others include “(f)oster[ing]a team culture and building meaningful relationships with diverse constituents.”

According to the latest report, the university has not yet started achieving about 25 percent of its goals. Only 10 percent, 22 in total, have been fully implemented.

MSU told The solution there was no scorecard for this school year yet. However, in the 2022-2023 school year, the school has broken down each item by status. One of the ultimate goals was to create “an inclusive communications guide that highlights common terms that reflect culturally competent, empathetic, and inclusive language.”

That guide advised not to use words such as ‘eggs’ and ‘chicks’ around Easter and to avoid ‘Christmas trees’ and ‘gifts’ in winter.

Yet the same part of the DEI agenda recommended “(providing) a more inclusive recognition of holidays/commemorative dates.”

MORE: Florida bans DEI spending from public universities

The university disputed The solution‘s figures.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are values ​​that align with and enable our land grant mission of expanding access to education for all,” spokesperson Mark Bullion said. The solution via email.

“There is no budget reserved for ‘DEI.’ With more than 12,000 employees, diversity, equity and inclusion managers make up just a small portion of the workforce,” he said.

“That said, many of the jobs listed are required operational roles that ensure regulatory obligations are met,” Bullion said. “Others include executive leaders with broad divisional oversight and employees who serve on a committee or in an advisory role.”

Some of these senior-level leaders include Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Norman Beauchamp, who earns $729,994 per year, according to Open the Books. He is mentioned in The solution report as Health Sciences implements a number of objectives related to community outreach.

However, other highly paid administrators appear to be focusing on DEI. This includes Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett, who makes $363,511 per year, and Deborah Johnson, director of the Diversity Research Network. She earns $204,471 per year.

The compliance workforce could also include the Office of Institutional Equity’s 22 staff members, such as intake coordinators and civil rights investigators.

A conservative Michigan think tank criticized the university’s spending.

“Taxpayers have showered public universities with billions of dollars and asked for nothing in return,” said James Hohman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The solution via an emailed media statement.

“We need to review that policy,” the center’s director of fiscal policy said.

“Lawmakers need to reassess how much money is given to state universities to ensure taxpayers get a good return on their investments.”

MORE: UMich now has more than 500 jobs dedicated to DEI

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