UCLA's Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: How Much Money is Funding it, and What Does it Actually Do? -Part 2
Ian Robert Henderson, Foreign Policy Contributor/Outreach Co-Chair
In light of the recent UC audit revealing excessive salaries to its employees, I conducted a thorough research investigation on UCLA’s Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion. In this three-part expose of UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, I will go through the various facets of the university’s attempts to instill their political agenda throughout the campus and even into the personal lives of students. The shocking amount of money allocated to the office, as well as how much of that money could be used for programs that actually assist students.
In part one of my series, I discussed the various cases in which the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion participated in controversial actions in order to implement biased policies on individuals in high profile cases involving the UCLA community. In part 2 of the series, I have gone through the budget of this office and how its money is allocated. These numbers were provided to me by the university’s Academic Planning and Budget Office. After weeks of trying to avoid providing me the information, the budget office finally emailed me a short list of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s annual budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
What’s even more startling than the actions that Kang’s office has taken is the budget that the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion received for the fiscal year of 2015-2016. Its total revenue allocated by UCLA was $4,325,675. Of that, $1,946,206 was allocated towards total compensation for staff within the office. Salaries and wages totaled $1,405,786, and $540,420 went to benefits. The benefits include retirement and healthcare among other expenses. Total compensation for staff comes to 45% of the office's budget. The amount of money allocated towards operating expenses (i.e. money used towards their actual stated activities and investigations) came out to $394,457, a measly 9% of the budget. The remaining $1,985,011 or 46% of the 2015-2016 fiscal budget was not spent and remains in the department acting as an overfunded surplus. The surplus for fiscal year ’15-’16 is five times that of their operating expenses. This does not include the carry-forward from the previous year, which was $225,749. Considering that the office's operating expenses were $394,457, it seems incomprehensible that in the following year, the university would overfund the department for an additional $1,985,011. Seeing that only 9% of the budget is going towards the office's “investigations,” while 45% goes towards the office's staff compensation and another 46% is leftover, it should be concerning to anyone paying tuition.
Breaking down the budget further, many of the Diversity Office's staff have salaries that are shockingly high. According to the Sacramento Bee's state worker salary database, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion's Vice Chancellor, Jerry Kang, had a base annual salary of $289,975 with an additional $28,433 coming from “other” sources. This totals out to $318,408 for the fiscal year of 2015. In addition to this, his office employs a large number of staff which also make high salaries comparable to his. Dion Cherie Raymond, the Discrimination Prevention Officer/Coordinator, made a total annual salary of $134,292 in the fiscal year of 2015, of which her base pay was $129,792. Her counterpart, Lillie Hsu, made the same amount that year (Sacramento Bee). The three named individuals alone receive 12.7% of the total budget, excluding “other” sources of revenue. Jerry Kang himself receives 6% of the budget just for his own personal salary.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is only using a fraction of their giant budget for actual activities. In many of these high profile cases, they have clearly shown a political bias and people have been punished without any evidence of their alleged actions. An overwhelming amount of the budget goes to line the pockets of these administrators with fancy titles which have no real meaning and are there just to make people feel happy.
Unfortunately, UCLA isn't the only institution that has this type of overfunded program. In a 2017 piece written by journalist Heather Mac Donald, she wrote about the massively growing budget of UC Berkeley's Division of Equity and Inclusion. This office receives an astounding $20 million annual budget, around five times that of UCLA's equivalent. The Berkeley office also staffs 150 full time functionaries (LA Times). In another piece written by Mac Donald in 2013, she exposed the annual salaries of other UC's diversity programs. In September 2012, UC San Diego hired its first vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion at a starting salary of $250,000. Two years earlier in 2010, UC San Francisco appointed its first vice chancellor of diversity and outreach, with a starting salary of $270,000. The aforementioned UC Berkeley Division of Equity and Inclusion, whose vice chancellor makes a comfortable $200,000 a year salary, started off in 2011 with a staff of only 17. In 2012, its staff increased to 24 (OC Register). As of 2017, it has a staff of 150. This is proof that this type of immense spending is not limited to UCLA, but has spread throughout the entire UC system.
In Part 3, I will go through how many other programs the university could be funding with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s immense budget and how overall this and similar diversity offices are not helping, but hurting university campus relations and creating more conflict and divisiveness between students of different backgrounds.
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