Feel Good Headline of the Day

This Bloomberg story is a few weeks old, but worth savoring nonetheless, as I expect it is the beginning of a new trend that will spread rapidly, eventually reaching college campuses when revenues start to fall as enrollment declines:

At Twitter, the diversity, equity and inclusion team is down to just two people from 30, one former employee said. A DEI worker who was let go from a popular ride-share company said their job search has stalled as other technology companies assess their finances. And just before getting the axe at separate tech giants this fall, two DEI specialists said leadership had stopped setting long-term goals for their departments entirely.

The layoffs sweeping the technology industry are gutting diversity and inclusion departments, threatening company pledges to boost underrepresented groups in their ranks and leadership.

Here’s the dirty little secret of the entire “diversity, equity, and inclusion” racket that is swallowing colleges (and many businesses) alive: A lot of these programs have mushroomed because it is cheap virtue-signaling by college administrations and corporate HR departments, As Inside Higher Ed reports:

Between 2020 and 2022, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, membership in the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education increased by 60 percent, according to Paulette Granberry Russell, the association’s president.

But it appears that most sensible people in colleges and corporations do their best to ignore them. There are lots of accounts of DEI staff who express frustration that they are ignored, and job turnover in the field is very high as more and more DEI profess to being demoralized.

There’s this from the Bloomberg story:

Nearly one in five female leaders have left a job in the past two years because of a company’s lack of commitment to DEI, according to an October report from McKinsey and LeanIn.org. In a 2019 survey of 2,000 workers, McKinsey found that 39% decided against pursuing or accepting a job because of a perceived lack of inclusion at a company.

And this from Inside Higher Ed:

After four years at Princeton University, Avina Ross left her job in September 2021. She was one of three DEI employees who have resigned from the institution over the past 18 months due to what they described as a lack of institutional support for their work, according to a December article in the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. . .

The departures at Princeton are part of a pattern in higher education, according to nearly a dozen college and university DEI administrators and staffers who spoke with Inside Higher Ed. While some institutions have elevated their highest-level DEI officers to senior positions or even president, the employees interviewed for this article said that more often, university leaders show a lack of appreciation and support for their work, leading them and many of their colleagues to leave higher ed burned out and disillusioned.

Increasingly it appears we’re back to hiring women and minorities for these positions (is there is a white male senior DEI executive anywhere in America?) as window dressing. And guess who is starting to figure this out?

“There are a lot of places that are [hiring CDOs] because they have to check the boxes, to say we’ve got somebody doing diversity,” Creary said. “At some institutions, it’s not even a question of will they support the work; it’s a matter of getting them not to obstruct it.” . . .

Cecil Howard said he resigned as vice president for diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity at the University of South Florida in July 2021, after years of “frustration and disrespect” boiled over into open conflict with the university’s then president, Steve Currall. . . Howard said he left because he felt undermined and belittled at every turn, a pattern that slowly reinforced his belief that his role at USF was no more than “window dressing.”

“Everybody wants to hire a chief diversity officer to throw a Black History Month event or read a land acknowledgment,” he said. “But when the rubber meets the road—when we’re at least aspiring to become an antiracist environment—those senior leaders and major decision-makers, they don’t want to hear it. I was never going to be OK being a pawn, a token, a box-checker. So I left.”

Of course, one wonders why you need human beings to put out the endless DEI statements of concern any more:

Vanderbilt apologizes for using ChatGPT to write message on MSU shooting

As students at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College grappled with the news of a deadly shooting at Michigan State University last week, those in the education college received an odd message from the administration.

The Thursday email from Peabody College’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion addressed the shooting in Michigan but didn’t refer to any Vanderbilt organizations or resources that students could contact for support. It instead described steps to “ensure that we are doing our best to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.”

“One of the key ways to promote a culture of care on our campus is through building strong relationships with one another,” the first sentence of one paragraph reads. “Another important aspect of creating an inclusive environment is to promote a culture of respect and understanding,” begins another.

A smaller line of text in parentheses at the bottom of the message revealed that it had been written using the generative artificial intelligence program ChatGPT, as first reported by the Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper. Students blasted the university for using a chatbot to address a harrowed campus community after the Michigan shooting, and Vanderbilt quickly apologized.

The two senior DEI officers at Vanderbilt have “stepped back” (whatever that means) from their duties temporarily while Vanderbilt investigates sweeps the matter under the rug.

Here’s how the Daily Mail covered the story:

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