Universities hide full DEI spending, threaten public with lower bar for med school: watchdogs

Medical University of South Carolina pays new chief equity officer "base compensation" of $370,000 plus potential "executive variable compensation" of 5-15%, and another $40,000 just for staying 30 days and finishing "onboarding."

Published: May 23, 2024 11:00pm

As more diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucracies in higher education face gutting or substantial reorganization in response to new state laws and feared legislation, less visible programs may actually pose a threat to public health.

The UCLA Geffen School of Medicine has lowered admissions standards so far in the name of equity that medical students finishing clinical rotations and applying for residencies have staggering failure rates on exams measuring "basic medical knowledge," according to internal data obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.

Its students learn even earlier, in a mandatory first-year course on "Structural Racism and Health Equity," that medicine has proven "weight loss is a useless, hopeless endeavor" and oil and gas drilling is functionally racist.

UCLA Geffen plunged a dozen spots in U.S. News & World Report medical school rankings – from No. 6 to No. 18 – since hiring its Dean of Admissions Jennifer Lucero, who is also the anesthesiology department's vice chair for equity, diversity, and inclusion, three years ago.

In some of Lucero's admitted cohorts, most students "failed standardized tests on emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics," and a tenfold spike in "shelf exam" failures in some subjects "coincided with a steep drop in the number of Asian matriculants," the Free Beacon reported.

The dean may have violated California's ban on affirmative action by citing race to justify admitting a below-average applicant when other admissions committee members balked, and refusing to "blind" race on applications to her department's residency program, the report says. 

Four admissions committee members told the publication it "routinely" lets in black and Latino applicants with lower scores but requires "near perfect" metrics for whites and Asians. Professors said "a student in the operating room could not identify a major artery when asked" and that "students at the end of their clinical rotations don't know basic lab tests."

UCLA Geffen media relations didn't answer Just the News queries.

The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors voted Thursday to replace its DEI policy with one "ensuring equality of all persons & viewpoints," institutional neutrality and employment nondiscrimination, CNN reported, 10 days after the flagship Chapel Hill campus board held a special meeting to divert its entire DEI program budget to police and public safety.

Government watchdog Open The Books released a report on the UNC system's DEI bureaucracy two days earlier, claiming it includes nearly 700 employees who cost more than $90 million a year: 288 on its payroll and 398 more listed on university websites as "members of DEI committees, commissions and counsels," plus 80 students in "mostly" volunteer roles.

The total cost is certainly higher because the system provided only "base salary," ignoring Open the Books' public records request for "all cash compensation" including bonuses and benefits, founder and CEO Adam Andrejewski wrote. The watchdog estimated the cost of benefits by adding 30% of base salary.

The top campuses were UNC Chapel Hill with 231 employees and $39.2 million, and North Carolina State University with 161 employees and $21.3 million. 

The top individual earners in pure DEI roles were UNC Chapel Hill Chief Diversity Officer Leah Cox at nearly $413,000 and North Carolina State Vice President of Institutional Equity and Diversity Sheri Schwab at nearly $303,000. Those who have "DEI responsibilities attached" to their full-time roles earn more than $500,000, Andrejewski said.

System President Peter Hans and a spokesperson didn't respond to the watchdog's request to explain why it spends "so much money and energy into DEI," Andrejewski said. The system's media office didn't respond to Just the News queries.

The system said the new policy is not intended to eliminate jobs but some "could be discontinued to comply," WFDD reported Thursday. It doesn't outline the responsibilities of DEI officers and liaisons, unlike the five-year-old policy it's replacing, though it won't affect classrooms, research, student organizations or cultural centers.

Open the Books said Tuesday it found another 100-plus University of Virginia employees with unofficial DEI-related jobs, from deans to "JEDIs" – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion personnel – after a March payroll review that found 235, including 80 students, costing an estimated $20 million for a public university without a larger system.

Those include 20 DEI reps in the medical school, nine directors in the engineering school and six JEDIs in the architecture school. Global Chief Diversity Officer Martin Davidson and Vice President for DEI and Community Partnerships Kevin McDonald each earn more than an estimated half-million in pay and benefits, Andrejewski wrote in City Journal.

UVA officials challenged Open the Books' estimates in April but have "refused to release factual backup for their claim" that the school employs only 55 in DEI and may have violated the state Freedom of Information Act by claiming they have "no records responsive to your request" for records of employees with "primary or secondary" DEI roles in 2023, Andrejewski said.

The university didn't respond to a Just the News query for its response.

The Medical University of South Carolina pays its new chief equity officer, Michael de Arellano, a "base compensation" of $370,000 plus potential "executive variable compensation" of 5-15%, according to a Freedom of Information Act production obtained by Do No Harm. He gets another $40,000 if he stays with MUSC for 30 days and completes his "onboarding goals."

The public medical college also incorporates DEI into admissions, rating applicants for "cultural awareness" and awarding them extra points for "Cultural Experiences/DEI Efforts" while depriving interviewers of GPA or MCAT scores to guard against "implicit bias," the anti-woke medical advocacy group said Thursday. 

MUSC lists lower GPA and MCAT thresholds for admission interviews for South Carolina residents than for admission itself, Do No Harm emphasized. The school is running against the current by "demonstrating its dedication to divisive concepts in the name of 'health equity' – with no credible evidence to support their effectiveness," the group said.

High-profile public figures are also connecting DEI to campus antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. 

They include Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and House Oversight National Security Subcommittee Chairman Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., in "Just the News, No Noise" TV interviews. Former Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman, a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's board of trustees, blames DEI for "institutionalized antisemitism." 

Netflix reality show star Sheila Nazarian, a plastic surgeon, said in a Daily Caller op-ed the "revolutionary fervor" on campus since Oct. 7 is "eerily reminiscent of what I witnessed in Iran during its Islamic Revolution."

DEI credits Jewish "overrepresentation in high-status professions like medicine" to "injustice and exploitation," she also wrote.

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