Education

Report: University Diversity Officers Earn Big Bucks Across US

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

There is no shortage of funds for diversity programs at major U.S. universities. According to documents obtained by Campus Reform, the objective of achieving inclusiveness on American campuses is costing an average of $175,088 per academic institution.

It’s a financial figure that is over 300 percent more than the average U.S. household income.

Campus Reform targeted 50 of the most prominent universities in America to determine the salaries of those administrators tasked with implementing diversity programs at their school. It has received data for 43 so far.

Two academic institutions — the University of Tennessee and the University of Maine — do not provide funding for a diversity officer or task a senior administrator to provide the service. Data was not available from the University of Pennsylvania, because state legislation does not oblige the institution to provide such information.

Although the average salary for a diversity officer was approximately $175,000, at 15 universities the position offers remuneration in excess of $200,000, while in two cases the salary tops $300,000 per annum.

At the University of Virginia, diversity officer Marcus Martin takes in $349,000 a year while his counterpart at the University of Texas at Austin, Gregory Austin, makes $331,000.

No diversity officer at the universities assessed made less than $80,000.

The media relations manager at the University of Texas at Austin justified Vincent’s six-figure income on the basis of the diversity officer’s coveted “portfolio” that includes the ambiguous distinctions of “diversity, community engagement and outreach.”

J.B. Bird told Campus Reform, “His salary reflects the competitive market for his leadership skills, as seen in his recent hiring as the next president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.”

Other university communications officials offered similar refrains when asked about the sky-high salaries of their diversity officers.

But Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), refused to offer sweeping acceptance of the high cost of diversity. He offered that “it is certainly worth asking whether runaway expenditures on inclusion and diversity staff are actually helping to create a campus where students of different backgrounds share their experiences and views.”

Poliakoff added, “Let’s turn these funds instead to bringing more deserving students from underserved backgrounds to Berkeley. It is crucial for boards and leaders to ask whether spending on new administrative salaries will serve the genuine needs of students or just fulfill the wishes of certain administrators.”

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