The Academic Apparatus:

Not Quite Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

by Sean Kullman

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Updated February 3

As universities continue to push programs and staffing that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), some are beginning to notice the price tags of these programs. Information from Professor Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has shown that the University of Michigan has allotted 126 positions at a cost of $15.6 million and Ohio State University has allotted 131 positions at a cost of $13.4 million for the 2021-2022 academic year for diversity, equity, and inclusion staff.

GIBM further disaggregated the data to learn that male representation in these programs is staggeringly low. At the University of Michigan, males only account for 25% of DEI staff, while at Ohio State University, males only account for 32% of DEI Staff. There are even fewer males who are in the top 10 salary earners when broken down by percentage of employees by gender and total number of employees. At the Univ. of Michigan, women account for 6.3% and men account for 1.6% of top 10 salary earners; while at OSU, women account for 6.9% of top 10 salary earners and men account for 0.75%.

While the University of Michigan and Ohio State University boasts solid male student populations of 49.7% and 48.3% respectively, these universities are far less likely to have male representation in its DEI staff and programming. And statewide, males are grossly underrepresented in colleges in Michigan according to a FOX 47 news report in September of 2021 and a GIBM analysis of student enrollment at various universities throughout the state. “According to the most recent data from the state's education dashboard, across the state, 52 percent of undergraduates at public universities and community colleges were women, compared to 42 percent men. About 5 percent of students didn't report their gender.” According to UNIVSTAT, males account for 43% and females account for 57% of total undergraduate and graduate enrollment in Michigan.

At Ohio University 58% of students are women and 42% are men, percentages that nearly mirror the state totals. Males accounted for just under 43% of all students enrolled in Ohio’s community college, university regional, and university main campuses and women accounted for just over 57% in 2020-2021.

Disaggregating data by sex is only one component of the Male Gender-Gap, as many universities continue to conflate race data, focusing on race without disaggregating by sex. Any study in education that does not disaggregate by sex is statistically misleading. Earlier studies by GIBM at the high school level have shown that boys of all races are behind their female counterparts in college readiness and basic skills and the same holds true in college outcomes.

Conflating Data

As many universities openly discuss racial differences in admissions and outcomes, the data is often conflated. Nationwide, women are more likely to attend and graduate college than their male counterparts of the same race while also receiving greater financial aid. Few universities (and high schools) differentiate data at the intersectionality of race and sex, and in doing so offer up misleading half-truths that misrepresent outcomes and the male barriers to higher education. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), "across all racial/ethnic groups, female students earned the majority of certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees" by significant margins (see figure below). Since the 2015-2016 NCES report, the male gender-gap has only increased.

In a September 2021 article, the Wall Street Journal discussed the male gender gap in college. These types of articles are important but tend to have a short shelf life because few media outlets continue a sustained narrative on the topic. And as such, the topic remains practically absent in the minds of policy makers. And when issues particular to males are discussed, the majority of media outlets nearly always sidestep the issue, as happened with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri when he attempted to address American masculinity. Instead of a media focused conversation regarding the challenges of boys and men, media outlets labeled Senator Hawley as the wrong bearer of the message. Government, media, and academia continue to avoid sustained narratives that focus on academic challenges and other social concerns regarding our nation's sons. In the case of Senator Hawley, the media and others did a bate and switch, focusing their attention on their personal disdain of Hawley instead of the growing suicide and opioid crises, educational outcomes, homelessness, healthcare, the overbearing family court system, and so many social concerns disproportionately facing males.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate and New York Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has taken to Twitter to address some of our nation's pressing concerns regarding boys and men. In multiple tweets, Yang addressed male challenges in higher education, ADHD diagnoses, higher juvenile detentions, lower high school graduation rates, declining wages, and loss of manufacturing jobs that traditionally contributed to male employment. Yang states that the "massive social, political, and economic consequences" must be addressed.

Higher Education Must do More

Many in the field of gender issues have seen the downward spiral of boys and men in America, and few, if any, are writing about it and addressing it on college campuses. Schools do not promote and encourage gender studies programs and courses focused on the Psychology of Men and Gender, a course once taught at Gonzaga University and Eastern Washington University by Michael Gurian, Ph.D. Those courses are no longer in favor despite the social realities and challenges of boys and men.

The University of Michigan has a Women’s and Gender Studies program but nothing comparable on campus for men. The same holds true at Ohio State University and its Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. This happens in colleges across the country.

These academic programs (and DEI in general) reinforce a particular social discourse that is strategically aligned with media attention and government policy, even if those interests violate the equal protection clause and do not result in better outcomes. Resources, taken away from students and instruction, expand the academic apparatus at the expense of students. Universities already have Title IX coordinators to ensure universities are avoiding sex and race based discrimination, but males continue to fight, often in court or through Title IX complaints, instead of universities applying the Equal Protection Clause.

Infusing $29 million into bridge programs, scholarships, and increasing the number of full time faculty would be a better use of resources at the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.

As Yang rightly saw fit to address the Male Gender-Gap in college, data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that males of all races are doing worse than their female counterparts in earning college degrees.

The question remains: Will Yang continue with his approach to address the issues of boys and men that impact hundreds-of-millions of families?

The Academic Apparatus

The academic apparatus continues its antithetical approach to masculinity, and the results are seen at all levels of education, from K-8, to secondary, and to post-secondary education. And much of it is exercised in curriculums and DEI objectives that do little to improve essential skills.

There is no denying the American education system, at all levels, is shortchanging our nation's sons.

Universities and high schools should offer considerably more course work on the Psychology of Men and Gender that would be useful for educators, students, parents, and other professionals and laypeople interested in learning more about the outcomes of males in various measures other than toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and privilege. Recognizing positive attributes of masculinity, starting with boys, is essential for healthy development, pedagogy, and life success. However, there is a greater probability of finding an article about the ills of masculinity at Michigan State University than an article regarding the advantages of male attributes such as independence, strength, toughness, and the importance of aggressive nurturance.

At a time when biological sex is being questioned, there is little tolerance for biological viewpoints rooted in biological realities. The notion that boys and girls learn differently is not controversial and, if anything, academic realities and science make it clear. Gender programs tend to violate equal protection at the federal and state levels. California, Washington, and other states are violating the equal protection clause with programs that support women and girls but do not support boys and men, even though data shows boys and men are the group most impacted in outcomes of despair. Supporting our daughters does not mean forgetting our sons. It’s one of the reason Mark Perry, Ph.D. has filed hundreds of Title IX complaints with great success for violating the equal protection of males on college campuses. Unfortunately, it often takes lawsuits instead of common sense and following equal application of the law to ensure boys and men receive equal rights.

The academic apparatus is part of a larger public policy push to offer help to some more than others, as Michigan and Ohio have women’s and girls’ commissions but do not offer commissions for boys and men. (The same is true in states across the country). Much of this is fueled by a prescriptive narrative found in college programs, in the media, and in public policy. The same holds true at the federal level with a White House Gender Policy Council that specifically excludes boys and men. The systemic arch of inequity begins in K-12 education and stretches over post-secondary institutions and into public policy. Fewer males graduate from high school, fewer males attend college, and fewer government policies address the inequities of boys and men from education to health care.

Closing the Male Gender-Gap and Expanding the Common Good

College diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are an expansion of an academic apparatus largely ignoring males. Whether it’s Title IX, equal protections, and college funding, universities and policy makers should look to expand their male representation on campus and offer courses in male studies that recognize inherently healthy male attributes from boyhood and through adulthood.

College and K-12 schools should focus on male representation and male outcomes. Higher education, media, and policy makers need to publicly acknowledge positive aspects of masculinity that contribute to the social good. In doing so, we can energize a nation of boys and men to see the ways their male attributes are essential for a healthy society that encourages our boys and girls to recognize differences and promote the common good.

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