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The Truth About Diversity

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In the past, I have been critical of radical leftist university president Rosemary DePaolo. I’ve directed specific criticism towards her for valuing diversity over competence. Thankfully, she has finally seen the light. In a letter written to the entire UNC-Wilmington community on Wednesday, April 8, 2010, she admitted that much of what I’ve said about diversity (for at least seven years' worth of columns!) is true. I am taking the time today to thank Rosemary for her honesty and humility. For those who are interested, I have reprinted her entire letter below:

Sean Hannity FREE

Dear Colleagues,

While the core mission of UNCW focuses on academics and providing the most powerful learning experience for our students, athletics also plays an important part in the lives not only of our students but of the entire, broad university community, as well. I know that the search for a new head coach for men’s basketball is on the minds of many people, and I would like to take this opportunity to provide you a brief update.

Since the end of the basketball season, the search committee has been identifying and reviewing potential candidates. We believed we had a firm commitment, but yesterday we learned that was not the case. To be certain, searches are complicated and complex processes, especially where contracts are involved. You might recall in the early 1990s that head basketball coach Bobby Cremins left Georgia Tech where he was extremely successful to go to the University of South Carolina. Three days later, he returned to Georgia Tech after indicating that he had a change of heart.  Similarly, Greg Marshall, head coach at Winthrop, was recruited to go to the College of Charleston. He even held a press conference to announce that move, only to return the next day as coach at Winthrop. Ironically, the person who replaced him at College of Charleston was Bobby Cremins.

Why am I telling you this?  We all may know of numerous other situations where an individual was recruited by multiple institutions, only to take the one with the best financial package or change decisions for personal reasons. I am providing these examples to remind all of us that, despite rumors and speculation to the contrary, people routinely change their minds during negotiations for a variety of reasons. As disappointing as that may be at times, I have been in this business long enough to know that such situations are common; I also know that in the end, we will be successful.

I am working closely with our athletic director Kelly Mehrtens and our search committee to continue the process of identifying the right coach. I am forced to do so because it has become apparent that Kelly Mehrtens is over her head in this position. That is because her selection for this position was not made on the basis of qualifications. She was selected on the basis of her status as a black female.

Some have made much of the argument that Kelly Mehrtens is incompetent. As evidence, they have cited the following: 1) Her decision to fire our last basketball coach during homecoming week. 2) Her decision to give the last coach a two-year contract extension after only one year of coaching his predecessor’s recruits. 3) Waiting six weeks to form a committee to look for a new coach. 4) The drastic reduction in donations to support the athletic department, etc, etc, etc.

But these criticisms miss the truth about diversity, which I have highlighted in bold letters so all of you can understand: An institution’s commitment to diversity is inversely related to its commitment to competence. Those who are calling for the firing of Kelly Mehrtens miss this fundamental point.

Put simply, if Kelly Mehrtens was hired by considering race (and gender) over competence then it makes no sense to fire her – in effect, saying her incompetence is suddenly more important than her race. After all, she is still black. And there is no evidence that she plans to change her gender.

I know it hurts to lose basketball games. And I know it hurts to see an entire athletic program in shambles. But diversity feels good. And it reminds us we are all really good people at heart.

Go Seahawks!

For those not Swift enough to understand, you have just read a social satire on affirmative action and diversity. Rosemary DePaolo has never told the truth about diversity, nor taken much of an interest in the truth on any given issue. Despite her incompetence, she remains as UNC-Wilmington chancellor because she is a woman. And Kelly Mehrtens remains as her athletic director because she is black.

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