Diversity never held anyone together because people usually bond over their commonalities, not their differences. At one little state-run university, diversity is starting to cause a great campus divide. It all started when the university decided to merge the Physics and Physical Oceanography Department with the Geography and Geology Department. The move will undoubtedly hurt the prestige of the university. But that isn’t the only thing that has people angry. They are also mad because the merger occurred on the heels of an expansion of diversity initiatives and right during the middle of an expansion of the campus recreation center.
This is a touchy topic for me to write about in the midst of a budget crisis. But everyone knows I’m a uniter, not a divider. So, I’ll try to offer some positive solutions free of sarcasm and ridicule. I hate sarcasm and ridicule. I really mean that.
Currently, UNC-Wally World (pseudonym, hereafter: UNCW), has the following offices, which are overseen by the Associate Provost of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion:
1. The Upperman African American Cultural Center;
2. El Centro Hispano;
3. The Women’s Studies and Resource Center;
4. The Multicultural Affairs Office; and
5. The LGBTQIA Office.
My simple plan to save the tax payers money, without ruining the academic reputation of the university, begins with four simple steps:
1. I would merge the Upperman Center with El Centro Hispano and call it El Centro for Racial Unity. There is no need for blacks and Hispanics to be segregated.
2. I would rename the LGBTQIA Office the LGBTQIAX Office. The “X” would stand for ex-gays – a group currently excluded from the list of gender and sexuality minorities.
3. I would merge the LGBTQIAX Office with the Women’s Studies and Resource Center. It would then be called the Gender and Sexuality Studies and Resource Center.
4. I would then merge the three existing centers a) El Centro for Racial Unity b) the Gender and Sexuality Studies and Resource Center and c) the Multicultural Affairs Office. The new office would simply be called The Diversity Office, or El Diversity Office, whichever sounds more welcoming.
Since one office is more manageable than five, we could fire Jose Hernandez, our current Diversity czar, and save his salary. We could replace him with the most competent leader among the departments just eliminated. There would be no need for a high-level administrator to oversee my leaner, but not meaner, El Diversity Office. We could get rid of the six-digit salary Hernandez pulls in – not to mention those of the other four directors we would let go. That would amount to several hundred thousand dollars in savings to the taxpayer. That is more than the paltry $80,000 UNCW plans to save with the controversial Physics, Oceanography, Geography, Geology merger.
Having eliminated four departments, we may now cancel the planned academic merger and expand by making the two existing departments (Physics and Physical Oceanography Department, Geography and Geology Department) into these four departments:
1. Physics Department;
2. Physical Oceanography Department;
3. Geography Department; and
4. Geology Department.
Creating two departments and eliminating four is a net savings for taxpayers. Best of all, it would actually enhance our academic prestige by creating new academic departments where people study real problems instead of “celebrating” imaginary differences.
During the current budget crisis, we have shut the library down for four hours per night in order to save money on lighting and to cut employee payroll. I would end that practice and make the savings up by shutting down El Diversity Office for four hours a day. Some may not like it but that is El Tough Lucko. Our state is in a budget crisis and we need money so we can feed and educate our illegal aliens.
Of course, the remaining issue is where to put the two academic departments formed under my new proposal. I say we make the student recreation center the new home for both. After all, this is a university, not an amusement park.