Campus Reform | UF 'Chief Diversity Officer' search continues, despite studies showing it's a waste

UF 'Chief Diversity Officer' search continues, despite studies showing it's a waste

The University of Florida is in search of a new Chief Diversity Officer, which has previously come with a six-figure salary.

However, despite the lucrative pay, studies have shown that initiatives led by people in such positions have done little to increase diversity.

The search is on for a new chief diversity officer at the University of Florida. 

The individual who previously held that position was paid $288,400 in 2019 alone, according to UF's campus newspaper The Alligator. Asked how much the next CDO would make, UF spokesperson Hessy Fernandez told Campus Reform, "The salary to be offered to our next CDO will be competitive and commensurate with education and experience." In 2017, Campus Reform reported that the average salary of diversity officers at that time was a whopping $175,088. 

The University of Florida's Chief Diversity Officer position is charged with various duties, including oversight of “racial justice grants." The position was created in 2018, with the seat first being filled by Antonio Farias who, in 2018, had stated after some controversial events at the university that they represent “something systemic in the culture that needs to be addressed.” Farias added that in the U.S. there is a “very checkered history when it comes to questions of exclusion and inclusion.”

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Farias also oversaw “the foundation of an inclusive culture,” where the university trained more than 300 faculty and staff in what they call “Crucial Conversations.”

The chief diversity officer also oversees the “Racial Justice Research Fund.” The goal of this fund is to “inform understanding of the Black experience, racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion on campus and beyond.” 

Grants distributed from this fund range from as low as $15,000 to as much as $75,000. 

For years, research has shown these diversity head positions do very little in terms of racial equality. Universities over the years have spent more money on the problem, which has shown to neither increase diversity amongst the staff, nor the student body

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While these programs have cost millions of dollars, universities continue to accept billions in federal funds.

Zachary Forbes is a student at the University of Florida who told Campus Reform that “universities are like mini versions of actual governments, they invent fake problems and then throw money at those fake problems in order to make it look like they’re doing something productive.”

Forbes further stated that admission rates for each demographic are bound to change year to year and that “UF thinks that’s an excuse to pay someone $300,000 to complain about it."

Forbes further pointed out that if the University would like to change admissions rates, it should "remember that they chose to go completely online last year and still charged the same tuition to sit alone in our rooms behind a screen." 

Forbes added that the "lower-income households don’t want to throw away money for a useless year of college, so you see a bigger percentage of upper-middle-class students with stable family income."

Forbes ultimately concluded that "the COVID policies are at fault, but UF would never admit that cause they need to pander to COVID fear too." 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ajmunguia23