School gets nearly $1 million from NY state university budget for ‘diversity’ hires

One university in New York has been granted almost $1 million as part of a "diversity" initiative.

The system has set the goal of hiring "up to" 1,000 "underrepresented" individuals.

A New York university has been granted almost $1 million in funding from the state’s university system to support salaries of exclusively minority faculty and to increase “diversity” within the faculty.

Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, announced a $957,000 grant from the state system budget that will span over a three year period and support select faculty members at the university.

The grant is part of the SUNY network’s new program called Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth, or “PRODiG” initiative, that seeks to “increase faculty diversity” which in turn would “renew the faculty, support student success, and promote excellence through diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences” at the college.

[Related: Cornell thrusts $60 million at faculty diversity plan.]

“The goal of this system-wide initiative,” the press release stated, “is to support SUNY campuses in their efforts to recruit and retain up to 1,000 early-to-mid-career professors from underrepresented groups by 2030.”

The funding received by the program this year will reportedly be used to support the salaries of six specific faculty members at Stony Brook University. Those who received funding from the grant were also invited to attend the PRODiG Cohort Institute, which took place December 3 as part of the 2019 SUNY Diversity Conference in Albany.

When Campus Reform reached out to the college for comment, the Office of Diversity at Stony Brook pointed to a SUNY press release about the PRODiG program.

[Related: UMich defends multi-million dollar diversity investment. Outspoken prof doesn’t buy it.]

The release explains that the initiative aims to “increase faculty diversity to better reflect the diversity of students across its 64 campuses” and double the size of underrepresented groups from eight percent to 16 percent over the next decade across the entire system.

“A diverse faculty is critical to academic excellence and is key to preparing all students to live and work in an increasingly global, inclusive, and interconnected world,” the press release states.

The new funding effort comes as more colleges around the country are spending millions of dollars on diversity offices, staff, and other efforts specifically targeted toward certain groups of people, even as multiple studies have shown that allocating more money for diversity doesn’t have the intended effect. For example, Campus Reform reported in 2019 on South Texas College of Law’s Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy, which found that despite spending millions of dollars to increase faculty diversity, there was in fact little to no increase in faculty diversity.

Another study in 2018 found that diversity efforts in STEM could have unforeseen consequences that actually hurt those they are intended to help. A 2016 Harvard University study relayed similar findings, as Campus Reform reported at the time. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3