Taxpayers spending $18M on DEI employee at MSU



(The Center Square) – Michigan State University spends more than $18 million per year on its DEI employees.

According to a recent study from The College Fix, MSU has hired more than 140 employees working on 222 different diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. According to the college’s most recent report, 22 projects have been implemented, with the remaining 200 in progress or still under analysis.

All of the projects fall under a broader “MSU 2030 DEI pillar” program to “Become a national leader in increasing diversity, promoting inclusion, ensuring equity and eliminating disparities on our campus and beyond.” The five-part objectives include recruiting and retaining more diverse students, hiring more minorities and activists, integrating DEI into teaching, and establishing partnerships with “underrepresented communities.”

Many of the goals reflect an affirmative action policy, which came under fire last summer in the Supreme Court case Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University.

One example of the pillars being implemented from this past year includes $339,000 in grants distributed by the MSU Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. The money funded 32 projects, including “supporting an inclusive work environment for the MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, Middle Eastern and North African American community experiences, a student wellbeing activator network and DEI curricular growth focusing on sexual gender minority health.”

A further cost breakdown was not provided.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are values that align with and enable our land grant mission of expanding educational access for all,” Spokesman Mark Bullion told The College Fix. “No budget is dedicated to ‘DEI.’ With more than 12,000 employees, diversity, equity and inclusion administrators are only a tiny fraction of personnel.”

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett earned $363,511 this year before benefits. Deborah Johnson, director of the Diversity Research Network, makes $204,471 per year.

MSU isn’t the only Michigan university with a taxpayer-funded DEI program. The University of Michigan has 241 employees focused on DEI, with an estimated $30 million payroll annually. Thirteen of these staff members earn more than $200,000.

“Taxpayers have been showering public universities with billions of dollars and asking nothing in return,” James Hohman with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy told The Fix. “We should revisit that policy. Lawmakers need to reassess how much money is being given to state universities to ensure that taxpayers are getting good returns for their investments.”

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