Imagine a faculty workshop that features a new administrator directing university professors to redesign their courses to “address issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” — and to finger colleagues who bear traces of “unconscious bias.” Now imagine certain professors struggling to stay poker-faced when they learn they must also submit a pledge to advance the school’s “anti-racism goals” and to evaluate job applicants on the quality of their DEI statements.
That scene is being played out in universities nationwide, but it’s hard to gauge the percentage of professors who welcome the DEI mandates versus those who simply pad syllabi with wokeisms, craft pledges that are 90% puffery, then do what they’d been hired to do — teach — not do social work. In short, the new mandates are breeding despots on the one hand and imposters on the other. “You are not a liar if you say untruths at knife-point,” went the posting of one such imposter.
Then there are professors who’d rather quit than genuflect before a DEI czar who earns twice what professors make and who aims to replace our national motto E pluribus unum — “out of many, one” — with the motto “out of one nation, many victims.” So said the professor who has cleared me to speak for the DEI imposters until he is free to write his own exposé at the end of second term.
My informant, who, for now, identifies only as Professor X, was among those who sat poker-faced in a workshop as the new DEI director justified her involvement in academics on the grounds that, left alone, university professors would not understand “the psychological processes that impact the ways people interact with each other” — implying that, left alone, professors might band together in a cabal of bigots.
Later that day, Professor X caucused with colleagues who agreed they’d just watched quackery pose as do-goodery but agreed that staging a coup might wreck whole careers. Their only option, it seemed, was to pose as DEI compliant then devise workarounds until the university’s Board of Trustees notices that requiring uniformity of thought in faculty and students is unconstitutional and rescinds its support.
In the meantime, Professor X is gathering evidence to support his claim that, in addition to violating First Amendment rights, the DEI mandates are fraught with contradictions that have faculty dissenters meeting behind closed doors and student militants trolling the campus for signs of “unconscious bias.”
The dissenters were struck first by the contrast in the czarina’s $300K-plus salary and her mission to have classroom instruction reflect her claim that capitalism is “a major driver of systems of oppression in the United States” and “continues to be the beating heart behind inequity, discrimination and income inequality.” What the dissenters heard instead was that a Sharpie with a degree in Human Resources could make anti-capitalism a highly profitable sideshow in higher education.
Professor X suspects that students who equate anti-capitalism with virtue are the students most likely to see hard work as a frill that’s best left to the capitalists whose profits will be redistributed among progressives who pursue noble causes. Professor X knows that the jackboots would be the first to snarl if he said out loud in class what he’s thinking — that the DEI syndicate can spot oppressors everywhere — except in their own little fiefdom.
But Professor X has also taught students who chafe under the presumption that without a DEI retrofit, they’d be on the lookout for someone to bully. One such student participated in a recent survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and was among the majority of respondents who admitted they “would feel discomfort publicly disagreeing with a professor about a controversial topic or expressing an unpopular opinion to their peers.” Even more striking is what that student told Professor X in private: “As a minority I hate being singled out for special treatment” — by the patrons of DEI.
While students are sharpening their “self-censoring” skills, soon-to-be former Professor X is quietly making plans to transition into whistle blowing. At the close of our off-campus session, my new hero quoted Charles Dickens’ appraisal of the type whose “glorious vision of doing good is so often the sanguine mirage of many good minds.” My source has a far, far better plan to end the worst of times in our public universities.