Could the issues with our major colleges really be about diversity, equity and inclusion? 

January 5 – Ever since the three major presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn testified before Congress about anti-Semitism on campus – and came out looking pretty bad because of it – focus has become heightened at colleges around the country. 

The presidents of both Harvard and UPenn have stepped down in light of their lackluster response to anti-Semitism on their respective campuses. 

Because of that, people have started to take a look at the initiatives that may have gotten them into those positions in the first place.  

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a buzz word that has been hitting pretty much every corner of life. 

We’ve seen it with Bud Light and their campaign with a transgender representative that backfired. We’ve certainly seen it on college campuses. And businesses have had seminars on the topic for years now. 

But could the tide be turning? 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM predicted, “You’re going to start seeing these things pare away here as we start waking up to what this DEI is doing to companies, campuses and the community.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll pointed out, “There has been a lot of reporting the last few weeks, notwithstanding this Harvard and Ivy League school situation, that corporate America more and more, they’re moving away from DEI. They’re realizing it’s not good for business, not just from a shareholder profit standpoint, but even from a human relations, Human Resources standpoint. They’re really recognizing problems with these company wide DEI initiatives. So it’s interesting then when you see that story with what’s happening at Harvard, how the pendulum has swung, because we can go back over the last couple of years, I mean DEI was infiltrating everything. Remember when that was happening, we would have these discussions, we would have guests on the program, warning about some of the side effects that these programs might create and I think you’re now seeing that come to fruition.”

The front page of the Wall Street Journal is a deep dive into the president of Harvard, Claudine Gay and her whole history. 

Barkdoll said, “I’m sorry it’s behind a paywall because I would recommend it to all listeners. It’s a fascinating read about her and her family and she came from Haitian immigrants and how she just rose to fame in academia in America and attended the most prestigious boarding schools and colleges and it gets into the idea of how she was so quickly hired. There were over 600 applicants for that presidency when it was vacant. They hired her within five months. It was the shortest search ever. But the article was pointing out very early on, long before this scandal, there were a lot of whispers about her thin academic credentials, plagiarism allegations. That was on the table from the beginning, but the reporting is that the Harvard board felt so much pressure to diversify their administrative ranks with more minorities that they may have caved into that pressure, hired her without doing a more thorough vetting and of course now we see where this has landed. The article talks about how other Ivy League schools and universities in general have had similar struggles. They all want more representation at the administrative and faculty ranks with minorities and classes of people that have been quite underrepresented, but the danger is sometimes they jump into that too quickly. They’re going to get someone that maybe doesn’t have good qualifications and then they get caught up in a scandal like is happening there right now.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “It is stunning to me how predictable this all was and why anybody should be shocked. When you start forcing and intimidating groups, including industry, including academia by this ideology that just wants to force on everybody this value system that this is a ridiculously systemically racist country and that the only way you can prove your bona fides is not participating in that systemic racism is to get as many people with melatonin in their skin to various degrees into positions of importance as possible. Then what’s even further scary to me is they’re looking to the groups or pushing people through DEI practices. So you’re going to miss out on people who maybe do have some more melatonin in their skin who are very qualified, but that’s not who is going to be put in front of you more. It’s going to be people who buy into this whole ideology itself. So I think that’s part of the reason you end up with the Claudine Gays of the world when I’m sure there are qualified people who look like her. It’s stunning to me, I found in one of the government definitions of equity that equality is about resemblance. I just wanted to fall over when I saw that because they truly are looking at skin color as a way to decide whether you’re actually doing the right thing. Vivek Ramaswamy had a run in with a Washington Post reporter and this is in the same vein, who demanded that he decry white nationalism and he said no, I’m not going to play your game. You’re setting up a false premise as if white nationalists are chomping at the bit, are the biggest threat in our country, that there’s just droves of them out there, causing havoc and we’re going to have you decry this. A man who’s not a white nationalist, obviously, who does fit the definition of a BIPOC, a person of color, but no, he gets asked that same question or that same false narrative. These are all the people that buy into the same story and this is why we end up with the horrible situation of Harvard having a very unqualified person that they knew was unqualified, but they put her in there anyway.”

Barkdoll said, “There is part of me reading that story today that kind of feels sorry for Claudine Gay. What I mean by that is you read this story, it talks about how quickly she became a tenured professor at Stanford and how in academic circles, she just kept getting promoted and being given more and more responsibility, even though she did not have any of the academic credentials one would normally expect to keep getting elevated to those positions. You read through there and you get a feeling that she was being used, for lack of a better term, that they just kept advancing her along in these circles and she was an unwitting participant, the whole way up to the presidency at Harvard, the highest academic rank, arguably, in the world. Now when you look back at it, in retrospect, you think, well, how could this have ever happened? All of these institutions, and the boards and the groups that do this, were just all so caught up in the idea that they needed more representation and she ascended to that position in a way like had never been seen in the history of the country.”

“Which is why meritocracy works better than anything else,” Jansen concluded.