Last year Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin revamped the state’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) office to substitute “opportunity” for “equity.” This change underscored a major fault line in American culture and politics— and in this context Lt. Gov. Burt Jones is taking up the torch by investigating the “equity” bureaucracy and its programs in Georgia’s system of higher education.

But first some background. “Equity” is not the same as “equality.” Proponents says equity means equal outcomes. And critics note the consequences of outcome-based “equity” mandates that treat some people as “more equal” than others are most severe in education. Critics says deliberate discrimination against non-minorities, in pursuit of ideological goals, squarely fits the definition of left-wing “woke-ism.”

The lieutenant governor is taking aim at the University System of Georgia’s expensive DEI bureaucrats — the diversity-industrial complex — that have created their power bases in most if not all the state’s 26 taxpayer-supported colleges and universities.

In a letter to University System Chancellor Sonny Perdue, Jones wants a report on the system’s DEI spending— especially in light of Perdue’s criticism of a $66 million spending cut that state lawmakers included in the 2024 budget. In the aftermath of Perdue’s criticism, some are proposing a student tuition raise to cover the budget reduction; others suggest cutting the system’s bureaucratic fat.

And there’s a lot of fat in the system’s DEI bureaucracy. To cite just one example, InsiderAdvantage research found there is a DEI section with about 41 staff members at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jones, the head of the state Senate, told Perdue he wants to know how much all of Georgia’s 26 public colleges are spending on DEI programs. He wants information on staffing, as well as the names and aims of the programs.

Insiders note that Republicans, especially in the General Assembly, are realizing that “equity” programs are not only unfair, but they could also cause a lot of expensive legal problems.

Jones and state lawmakers– as well as the Board of Regents that oversees Georgia’s university system– are anticipating adverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions, expected in June, in two cases challenging racial “equity” and “diversity” preferences at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. High test-scoring Asian and white students are suing the schools for discriminatory admission policies.

The Supreme Court’s decision is unknown, but if the justices decide racial discrimination in higher education in the name of “diversity” and “equity” is unconstitutional, the Regents and Perdue will have to dismantle discriminatory DEI policies.


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