Heritage Experts Refute George Mason University President’s Attacks on New DEI Report

Heritage Experts Refute George Mason University President’s Attacks on New DEI Report

Sep 25, 2023 2 min read

WASHINGTON—A new report from The Heritage Foundation’s Jay Greene, Ph.D., and Mike Gonzalez analyzing the largest public universities in the country found that Virginia's schools have the largest diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies, with George Mason University at the top of the list. Their findings prompted a response from George Mason University President Gregory Washington. Greene and Gonzalez refuted his assertions in the following statement:

“Rather than use the release of our report as a constructive opportunity for him to rein in or dismantle DEI bloat at George Mason University, Gregory Washington’s response lashes out at us and falsely claims that GMU has only 17 people working to promote DEI. Except we provided the receipts by listing the job titles and web links for all 69 people. Washington’s inability to know how many people his own university has working on DEI is worrisome.”

“Washington complains that we pointed out how GMU promotes ‘radical ideologies,’ but his response offers not a single defense of the radical content we found on GMU’s websites and instead points to their free speech policies. It’s one thing to allow free speech, and quite another to promote radical and divisive ideologies, which is precisely what GMU is doing with the full backing of its bloated DEI bureaucracy.

“We welcome Washington’s offer to ‘meet with Mason leadership to describe the report and the methodologies that drive [our] conclusions and recommendations’ and would be happy to do so in a mutually agreed upon public forum. If GMU has eliminated or will eliminate DEI positions because of the report, it would be a most welcome change.”


Greene and Gonzalez’s Report defines DEI bureaucracy as the following:

DEI personnel include all people listed as staff or interns on the university websites for units ostensibly designed to advocate for and serve racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual-orientation groups on campus. These entities go by various names, but they tend to include the words diversity, equity, inclusion, multicultural and/or the identity of a group in the title. Staff involved in legally required activities, such as ensuring compliance with civil rights legislation, were not counted in the DEI personnel totals. Similarly, academic units that offered classes and degrees, such as African American or gender studies departments were also not counted as DEI personnel. The DEI staff are best understood as administrative units on campus that articulate and enforce orthodox views on matters related to race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Lindsey Burke, Ph.D., director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation and member of the GMU Board of Visitors, took no part in the production or review of the report.

Read the full report here.

The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s largest, most broadly supported conservative research and educational institution. Heritage has been leading the American conservative movement since our founding in 1973. More than 500,000 dues-paying members support our vision to build an America where freedom, prosperity, opportunity, and civil society flourish.

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