At UCLA, 20 paid diversity advocates isn’t enough
The University of California, Los Angeles hopes to pay more students to fight “toxic masculinity” and “microaggressions” on campus, just two weeks after announcing it had already hired 20 foot soldiers for its social justice army.
Hosted by the UCLA Intergroup Relations Program, the Diversity Peer Leaders project is a year-long internship during which students are paid $13 per hour to facilitate workshops on social justice issues and intercultural communication.
Two weeks ago, school officials confirmed that 20 students have been hired, at an estimated annual cost of up to $42,000. Reached by Campus Reform, a spokesman claimed that the project is not funded by taxpayers, but rather, by the Student Services Fee.
That $376-per-quarter fee is not optional. Over a standard four-year degree, the fee amounts to at least $4,512—more if a student takes longer to graduate.
Despite mounting criticism of the program since Campus Reform initially broke the story, UCLA has since chosen to hire even more students, announcing on Tuesday that it hopes to recruit an unspecified number of graduate students to the program, too.
“Attention friends of IGR! We have re-opened applications for GRADUATE students who want to be paid Diversity Peer Leaders for 2018-2019! Check out the application… and please share it with friends!” notes the August 14 Facebook post.
UCLA declined to disclose how many additional students they seek to hire. With 20 undergraduates already hired, it’s unclear if they seek to hire an equal number of graduate students, or perhaps just a handful to watch over the younger students.
In any case, the expansion will no doubt add to the cost of the program. If just five students are hired, and all Peer Leaders work the maximum number of hours, the cost of the program would rise to $45,000. If 20 students are added, that cost would roughly double, to $84,000.
UCLA declined to respond to those estimates, but some UCLA students aren’t pleased.
“Student taxpayers creating jobs is not inherently problematic,” he noted, but stressed that he feels it becomes an issue when “those funds are used…with no input from students.”
Louis Madrid IV, a senior studying history, told Campus Reform that the expansion “reaffirms the notion that UCLA is trying to indoctrinate their students with a certain agenda.”
He also suggested that the program might be antagonistic towards some.
“If a student was a libertarian or conservative who believed that microaggressions are a ridiculous premise…the program would most likely deem that student a bigot and jeopardize their academic career,” he speculated.
The DPL program also runs a secretive Toxic Masculinity Committee, as Campus Reform previously reported.
While UCLA officials previously claimed they don’t seek out students to fight toxic masculinity—instead suggesting that students’ themselves chose what to focus on upon being hired—the job application contradicts this, explaining that toxic masculinity is one of the topics students might wish to work on.
“The committee is a waste of school resources,” said UCLA student Victoria Miller. “These toxic masculinity workshops won't work unless the men it targets decide to show up, which is highly unlikely...The committee is preaching to the choir.”
“One of the things that deeply concerns me is, where does it end? If the existing campus programs can’t make sure all students feel included, then how many students do they have to hire, with our money, before all leftists on campus are satisfied?” asked sophomore David Johnson. “I know what it’s like to not feel included on campus, but if the current programs aren’t working, I fail to see how throwing my money at it will make a difference.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen