If there’s one thing to thank “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) experts for, it’s their knack for revealing the stunning hypocrisy behind universities’ DEI initiatives. Case in point: Maria Thompson and Susan C. Turell’s 2022 DEI audit of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), laying bare the university’s failure to adequately address a rape case involving a staff member.
To solve the history of unresolved rape incidents, Turell and Thompson recommend the implementation of an equity plan and forming a DEI task force—whatever that might accomplish. If DEI programming has failed to create a safe climate, then how will more DEI will help UIS?
However, a UIS insider tells me that the university ditched the report.
On October 10, 2022, former Vice Chancellor Dennis R. Papini released the damning DEI report to the campus community and announced plans for a University Town Hall, where the auditors were to discuss the report with the university community on October 19, according to emails obtained by Minding the Campus.
In an abrupt about-face, however, Chancellor Janet Gooch sent a follow-up email two days before the townhall, canceling it, and attacked the DEI audit’s credibility:
The methodology of the study is unclear, and unfortunately, the manner in which some of the perceptions were communicated in the report was viewed as offensive to several members of the university community. The sense of trust and cooperation that is needed to make the upcoming necessary work to address concerns has been damaged by the limited understanding of the methods and the tone of the report, and therefore, we will not be utilizing this report to inform our next steps.
Chancellor Gooch, instead initiated a series of listening sessions in October 2022—a superficial response to faculty upset with the cancelation.
But, according to the campus insider, by January 2023, any trace of the reputation-damaging DEI report had vanished. Gooch recalibrated by announcing a DEI makeover through a new initiative, the Chancellor’s Committee for Belonging, Dignity, and Justice (BDJ). BDJ would distract from the critical DEI assessment.
Though Turell and Thompson do not specifically name the rapist in their DEI audit, the rapist in question, according to my source, is Xuesong ‘Gary’ Yang, a man hired by UIS and jointly paid by UIS Admissions and the Business College to recruit Chinese students.
In 2017, five years before the DEI audit, “Yang pleaded guilty after DNA testing confirmed the victim’s account that he had raped her in his downtown Springfield office last August,” according to Illinois Times. The paper reported that:
Yang … raped the woman just one day after she arrived in the United States to study English at the university. After the rape, UIS students from China said that Yang held power over them, telling them that he had the authority to change grades and send them home.
Illinois Times continued, saying that students previously came forward with complaints of sexual assault, but UIS reportedly conducted an informational meeting for international students rather than a comprehensive investigation. Furthermore, the DEI audit implies that UIS went five years without addressing Yang’s actions.
In failing to investigate sexual assault and in downplaying the failure, a university that supposedly supports DEI committed the ultimate exclusion: university leaders put students’ safety at risk. Yet, the failure to create real safe spaces was not punished but rewarded. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently granted UIS $700,000 of taxpayer money to implement diversity and anti-bias training for law enforcement officers in central Illinois.
It’s akin to giving a pay raise to an employee who just committed a crime and begs this question of the DOJ: how could the agency deem UIS an ideal DEI trainer of cops who will undoubtedly be confronted with rape and sexual assault?
Clearly, allegiance to DEI doesn’t encourage action to “believe women.” And, spending tax-payer dollars on DEI becomes a nefarious endeavor when the recipient demonstrates a history of dismissing the most grotesque actions of its faculty.
Photo by Illinois Springfield — Flickr