Year after year, media note and sometimes bemoan the ballooning cost of higher education.
There are various reasons for surging costs, but the primary one is the remarkable expansion of university administration in recent decades. As Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, wrote in the New York Times a few years ago:
Universities are large and require administrators to function, of course. The problem is there seems to be no end to the expansion. This point was recently illustrated by Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Perry, who also is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, used the University of Michigan as an example to highlight the rise of “diversicrats” (diversity bureaucrats) on today’s campuses. The numbers are astonishing.
- The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of nearly 100 (93) full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice-provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts, and coordinators.
- More than one-quarter (26) of these “diversicrats” earn annual salaries of more than $100,000, and the total payroll for this small army is $8.4 million. When you add to cash salaries an estimated 32.45% for UM’s very generous fringe benefit package for the average employee in this group (retirement, health care, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, paid leave, paid vacation, social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, etc.) the total employee compensation for this group tops $11 million per year. And of course that doesn’t count the cost of office space, telephones, computers and printers, printing, postage, programs, training, or travel expenses.
If you fell out of your chair upon realizing that the University of Michigan has a full-time diversity staff of nearly one hundred employees, one of whom earns more than the president of the United States, you can be forgiven. I nearly did too.
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