Phi Beta Cons

‘Silence of the Clams’ at University of Tennessee

What do campus diversity bureaucracies accomplish? If they really did things that average taxpayers would think beneficial, you’d expect people who hold such titles as “Chief Diversity Officer” to want to explain themselves.

That has not been the case in Tennessee. George Korda, a writer for the Knoxville News Sentinel and radio host took an interest in the University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion last year after some of the usual silly stuff like wanting to change the language to avoid “the gender binary,” and declaring that holiday parties must be “inclusive” (which meant that religiously-themed parties were a no-no). He invited the university’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion on his show to discuss what the citizens get in return for all they spend on that office. As Korda explains here, he has been stonewalled by lower officials.

One reason given was that the Chancellor wouldn’t appear because Korda had already “made up his mind.” Of course. Left-wing apparatchiks never like to answer difficult questions from skeptics. They only like to communicate via neatly crafted sound bites that will never be subject to any analysis. We also read that the diversity bureaucracy only costs some $436,000 per year and in the great scheme of things is mere “budget dust” — therefore why bother asking questions about it. To that, Korda replies that the median household income in the state is only about $44,000, “so it would take 10 years for a typical Tennessee household to gross that much money.”

Korda politely gives the Vice Chancellor the benefit of the doubt, writing, “I’m confident he would have explained with ability the function of his office.” I suspect, however, that if Korda pressed him to demonstrate that the Diversity and Inclusion office really does anything to better educate UT students, he’d have gotten nothing but progressive platitudes. In fact, rather than improving education, offices like that detract from it by furthering the obsession with group identity.

Hat tip: Instapundit

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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