Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Bureaucracies Worsen Free Speech On Campus, Study Shows

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Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies on college campuses are correlated with more liberal students on campus and greater discomfort while expressing opinions outside the classroom, a study published March 14 shows.

The study was published on Substack by a political science professor who looked at a 2022 free speech survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and a 2021 Heritage Foundation study of DEI bureaucracies at 65 schools representing 16% of all students at four-year U.S. educational institutions. (RELATED: Iowa Bill Would Bankrupt All College Diversity Programs)

Larger DEI bureaucracies lead to greater tolerance for liberal campus speakers and no effect on tolerance for conservative speakers, the study found. However, they also correlate with more support for speaker disruptions through violence, blockages and shout-downs by students.

Levels of discomfort with self-expression outside of the classroom are greater at universities with more DEI employees but discomfort with self-expression inside the classroom is not impacted. Students feel that “open and honest” conversations about identity-related issues and non-identity-related issues are more difficult at universities with more DEI employees, according to the study.

Universities with more liberal students and more diverse students have a greater number of DEI personnel, the study shows. These relationships could be caused by certain types of students self-selecting into universities with more DEI employees, or it could be a result of students pressuring their universities to add DEI personnel to the administration.

“Overall, then, there is a significant amount of evidence that DEI is bad for campus speech climates and an even greater amount of evidence that DEI does very little to promote viewpoint inclusion,” the professor concluded in the study.