Phi Beta Cons

The Most Diversity Obsessed University in America?

Brown would be hard to top

The diversity mania rages at most colleges and universities in America, but Brown University might be the “leader” in this regard. While officials at other institutions say the right things and make the right gestures to appease the diversity deities, at Brown they really mean it!

In today’s Pope Center Clarion Call, John Rosenberg examines the school’s recent record and concludes that Brown has “doubled down” on diversity.

Exhibit A in the piece is the school’s “bold promise” to double its percentage of faculty members from “underrepresented” groups by 2025. But exactly why would that be good? Rosenberg points to Brown’s blathery document on “inclusive excellence” which states that “diverse” scholars are essential if the school is to remain productive, creative, and competitive. Of course, such platitudes sound pleasing to leftist ears, but Rosenberg observes that they’re merely assertions that are never backed up by any evidence or reasoning. “Exactly what the ‘benefits of diversity’ are and why only new diverse scholars are brilliant, creative, etc. is never explained,” he writes.

Why assume that the faculty will be better because a higher percentage of “underrepresented” minority professors are employed? If anything, we should expect that when a person’s ancestry becomes a key consideration because the school has decided it must meet a quota, the quality of the faculty would decline. The heavy thumb on the scales in favor of candidates who can check off a “diverse” box is certainly going to mean passing over some better qualified but officially un-diverse people to get to the promised land of doubled diversity.

One more thing — such preferences for people on account of race or ethnicity are illegal, but apparently Brown figures that the Civil Rights Act only applies to “bad” discrimination, not its enlightened, progressive, social justice-oriented discrimination.

To Rosenberg’s indictment of Brown’s diversity obsession, I’ll add one more point. It will continue and indeed exacerbate the problem that minority “representatives” have of being thought of as “diversity hires.” Some are; some would have been hired just on the strength of their accomplishments, but all are suspect. I suppose that will lead to the creation of a new administrative office, tasked with the eradication of all doubts that “inclusive excellence” means sacrificing excellence.


George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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