Dr. Dorian Abbot is a professor of geophysics at University of Chicago and he co-authored an essay questioning the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) Complex suffocating the American collegiate experience. His observations, though not flattering, were entirely reasonable if it’s the free exchange of ideas you’re into (which disqualifies most of the Uni class).
American universities are undergoing a profound transformation that threatens to derail their primary mission: the production and dissemination of knowledge. The new regime is titled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” or DEI, and is enforced by a large bureaucracy of administrators. Nearly every decision taken on campus, from admissions, to faculty hiring, to course content, to teaching methods, is made through the lens of DEI. This regime was imposed from the top and has never been adequately debated. In the current climate it cannot be openly debated: the emotions around DEI are so strong that self-censorship among dissenting faculty is nearly universal.
The words “diversity, equity and inclusion” sound just, and are often supported by well-intentioned people, but their effects are the opposite of noble sentiments. Most importantly, “equity” does not mean fair and equal treatment. DEI seeks to increase the representation of some groups through discrimination against members of other groups. The underlying premise of DEI is that any statistical difference between group representation on campus and national averages reflects systemic injustice and discrimination by the university itself. The magnitude of the distortions is significant: for some job searches discrimination rises to the level of implicitly or explicitly excluding applicants from certain groups.
DEI violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment. It entails treating people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century. It requires being willing to tell an applicant “I will ignore your merits and qualifications and deny you admission because you belong to the wrong group, and I have defined a more important social objective that justifies doing so.” It treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.
We propose an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone. Crucially, this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants, in addition to those based on group membership. Simultaneously, MFE would involve universities investing in education projects in neighborhoods where public education is failing to help children from those areas compete. These projects would be evidence-based and non-ideological, testing a variety of different options such as increased public school funding, charter schools and voucher programs.
In the event you disagree with both writers, Abbot and Ivan Marinovic, you cannot accuse this commentary of hyperbole. Perhaps it pisses you off, but its assiduous scholarly tone is disarming to emotive flailing. Doesn’t stop some people. The most charming thing about today’s cultural left is how shamelessly it overreaches for the sake of slapping slabs of raw opinion on our desks in the most offensive and intrusive manner possible. Any attempt to combat their views with objectivity and neutrality is met with patented cancellation tantrums.
Abbot wrote this in August and now he is reaping the perils of the cancellation babies.
The Left has made it obnoxiously clear since the pandemic’s early days: they are the ideology of science! Sanctimoniously, they declare it as if this comforting thing called “science” is firmly in their corner despite the fact they are the least objective “thinkers” roaming society today. This is borne out each time we witness one of their histrionic cancel meltdowns whenever a reasonable person refutes their agenda.