Colleges Skimp on Science, Spend Big on Diversity

Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, April 4, 2012

How many times have you heard Barack Obama talk about “investing” in education? Quite a few, if you’ve been listening to the president at all.

In fact Americans have been investing more and more in education over the years, led by presidents Democratic and Republican. But it’s become glaringly clear that we’re getting pretty lousy return on these investments.

That’s been evident at the K-12 level for a long time. {snip}

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On higher education Democrats and many Republicans as well have followed the same course as on public schools: Shovel in more money, in this case in the form of Pell Grants and subsidized student loans.

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And what has the money been spent on? Some of it presumably goes to professors in the hard sciences and the great scholars who have made American universities the best in the world. Well and good.

But many university administrators have other priorities. The University of California system has been raising tuitions and cutting departments. But, reports John Leo in the invaluable Minding the Campus blog, its San Diego campus found the money to create a new post of “vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion.”

That’s in addition to what the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald calls its “already massive diversity apparatus.” It takes Mac Donald 103 words just to list the titles of UCSD’s diversitycrats.

The money for the new vice chancellorship could have supported two of the three cancer researchers that the campus lost to Rice University in Houston, a private school that apparently takes the strange view that hard science is more important than diversity facilitators.

This doesn’t just happen on the Left Coast. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington saved some money by lumping together two science departments and raised spending on its five diversity-multicultural offices.

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Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of instapundit.com and a law professor at the University of Tennessee, says we’re watching a higher education bubble that’s just about to pop. That’s what happens when you throw a lot of money at college and university administrators who don’t have much common sense.

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