Culture

Public University Paying ‘Diversity Officer’ More than Congressmen Make

Apparently, the job is just that important.

As the state of Illinois is struggling with budget problems, Northern Illinois University, a public school, just hired a “chief diversity officer” that will make more than almost every member of Congress and almost every governor.

Vernese Edghill-Walden, whose full title is “senior associate vice president for academic diversity and chief diversity officer,” started working at NIU on August 1 and will make $205,000 a year — $185,000 in salary and $20,000 in allowances and expenses — according to an article in the College Fix. The website was originally alerted to the hire by a local site, USofArn.com

Money is so tight in Illinois right now that state lawmakers struggling to figure out where to make cuts to balance the budget, while the state’s pension system nears bankruptcy. Still, NIU spokesman Joseph King is defending the hire and compensation as a good use of taxpayer money.

“Northern Illinois University serves one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse regions in the country . . . we believe that there is great value in that diversity,” King said in an e-mail to the College Fix. “By creating this position we are trying to ensure that all of our students will reap the benefits of living and learning on a campus filled with many cultures and points of view.”

#related#According to the college’s official website, Edghill-Walden’s job will be “to provide vision, leadership, and counsel on matters of diversity and inclusion, and to collaborate with all campus units and with the surrounding community to create a welcoming and respectful environment that values diversity as a dimension of excellence.”

Oh. Okay.

In Congress, only the speaker of the House, the Senate president pro tempore, and both body’s majority and minority leaders have salaries higher than Edghill-Walden’s. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf is the highest paid governor, with a salary of $187,818, just a bit more than what Edghill-Walden will be making

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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