Harvard is sticking by its woman and the University of Wisconsin turned down a mountain of money just to maintain commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The actions of these two universities this week demonstrate the depth of the problem with higher education. Their commitment to ideology is stronger than their commitment to anything else.

On Tuesday, Harvard’s board announced that it would retain President Claudine Gay. The decision was unanimous—despite Gay’s disastrous testimony at a now infamous House hearing on antisemitism in which she waffled on questions about denouncing calls for genocide.

“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules on bullying and harassment?” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asked at the hearing.

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded. Woof.

That was hardly the only jarring or ridiculous testimony of the day.

It got worse for Gay when multiple reports uncovered evidence that she plagiarized her 1997 doctoral thesis and other papers published between 1993 and 2017.

Harvard said that after an investigation it found that Gay was only guilty of “research misconduct,” but that it did discover “a few instances of inadequate citation.”

Political scientist Carol Swain, one of the people Gay plagiarized, said in a Fox News interview that Harvard is trying to “redefine what is plagiarism” to protect Gay.

“Claudine Gay needs to step down. Obviously, the Harvard Corporation did not have the courage to fire its first black president, someone who should never have been elevated in the first place,” Swain said. Swain is also black.

The school seems unfazed by all of this and much of the Harvard faculty has expressed unqualified support. They will stick with Gay no matter what it seems.

It may seem strange to see a school proclaiming to be one of the world’s elite institutions stay committed to Gay, who didn’t exactly have an impressive academic record before she got hired.

But it makes sense if you consider that the school is wholly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in practice and as an ideology.

Gay’s primary work has been focused on race and “racial justice.” In 2020, Harvard Magazine reported that she led a reboot of a “cluster hire” in ethnicity, indigeneity, and migration. Cluster hiring is when schools hire in bulk using DEI statements as the primary standard for applicants.

She also created a program to “recruit leading scholars of race and ethnicity to spend a year at Harvard engaged in teaching our undergraduates.”

It should be clear now, if it wasn’t before, that DEI is what higher education worships, even above standards of education. They are quite willing to abandon academic excellence and even money. 

Consider the actions of another university that reinforce this point.

On Saturday, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted to reject a deal that would have given the school hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for abandoning its DEI initiatives.

“For six months, Wisconsin Republicans have put forth funding bills that hoped to limit or cut diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at state universities in exchange for UW employee raises,” Fox News reported. “Though the latest deal was seen as an ideal compromise, the UW board rejected it in a 9-8 vote while also agreeing not to table the vote for further discussion.”

The deal would have created a three-year freeze on DEI hires, but didn’t actually force them to fire any employees. Instead, a third of the DEI employees would be transferred to roles that didn’t focus on race.

If the DEI administrators can’t be used to further the revolution, then what’s the point, the school’s board seems to be saying.

This move says a lot about the state of higher education and the nature of left-wing institutions.

First, higher education in America is clearly awash in money, both public and private. The University of Wisconsin has a $7.53 billion annual budget for 2023-2024. Our schools get an astounding amount of state and federal tax dollars.

Many of these schools are sitting on astronomical endowments, too. Harvard’s over $50 billion endowment is larger than the gross domestic product of dozens of countries. Yet the American taxpayer is expected to bail out student loans. Maybe the institutions responsible for that debt should take some responsibility in paying it?

The fact that the University of Wisconsin was so willing to turn down a huge chunk of money likely means that it isn’t completely reliant on it. Perhaps it even thinks that the legislature will blink and hand it the money.

That it did this even if it meant its employees wouldn’t get pay raises says a great deal about the nature of the modern Left. Their commitment to cultural values far exceeds their commitment to material ones. They want power and cultural revolution. They are fine abandoning pay raises for their employees when push comes to shove.

It should be a warning for any on the Right who seek to work with, say, public sector unions. Sure, many rank-and-file members simply want higher paychecks and better benefits, but leadership is committed to left-wing cultural causes first. They aren’t suddenly going to change their spots.

If schools would rather commit to DEI, and my feeling is that most do, then it’s time to either stop the gravy train on behalf of taxpayers or park that money elsewhere.

Imagine what could be built with the $800 million that was offered to the University of Wisconsin. Perhaps it’s time to divert that enormous sum of money to institutions that are worthwhile and aren’t committed to Marxist and racialist ideology. Just a thought.

That’s effectively what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did in his state. DeSantis toppled the administration of the New College of Florida, a hyper-progressive liberal arts college, and replaced it with people who are committed to a more classical education.

There’s a reason the Left is obsessed with destroying this small project. They are afraid red states will see how successful it is and repeat this tactic with other schools.

What can’t be ignored with Harvard sticking by Gay and the University of Wisconsin rejecting $800 million is that our elite academic institutions are more committed to DEI ideology than anything else, even common decency.

There’s now some internal pressure for them to change, but outside pressure needs to continue. The moral rot runs deep, and it stems from the worldview that’s come to completely dominate the ivory tower.

The events following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel should clarify this for those who just couldn’t quite accept how fully compromised America’s elite universities are.

The only way to divert them from their path is to drain them of their power, to defund, defang, and deny them the privileged status they’ve held for far too long.

Higher education has become increasingly unserious in fulfilling its primary role. Instead, these monumentally powerful institutions are committed to reinforcing one ideology at the exclusion of other points of view.

That means we need to be serious and use this moment to pull the plug on their project. 

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