Posted on August 9, 2022

Princeton Introduces ‘Diversity’ Search Filter for University Vendors

Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon, August 9, 2022

Princeton University has created a “supplier diversity” tool that allows staff to search for vendors with “diverse attributes,” part of a multiyear plan to inject diversity quotas into the school’s procurement process.

The tool, a screenshot of which was circulated on social media, lets users exclude suppliers outside a boutique cross-section of identities. A department buying office supplies, for example, could restrict its search to businesses owned by LGBT African Americans, Native American veterans, or “Asian Pacific American” women, among other combinations.

The tool is available to all Princeton faculty and staff, the university’s Office of Finance and Treasury said in a November newsletter. It came online after Princeton pledged in April 2021 to direct 10.5 percent of its expenditures to “certified diverse firms,” according to a procurement plan posted on the school’s website.


Supplier diversity has become something of a cause célèbre throughout higher education. {snip}


At Princeton, these trends have fueled the growth of an already massive bureaucracy, creating new jobs for diversity apparatchiks on the Ivy League campus. The school announced in May that it had hired Michelle Thomas—formerly a contract officer at the Federal Bureau of Prisons—to be its “associate director for supplier diversity.” Thomas oversees the implementation of the procurement plan, which calls for Princeton to “engage a diversity advisory firm to assess program effectiveness.” Success will be gauged, according to the plan, by the “proportion of total purchases that are made from certified diverse businesses,” meaning businesses “at least 51 percent owned and operated by minorities, women, veterans, or members of the LGBTQ community.”