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State Auditor reveals Mississippi universities’ expenditure on DEI initiatives, raises concerns about spending and impact

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state auditor shad white

A new report released on Thursday by State Auditor Shad White shows Mississippi taxpayers how much public universities are spending on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

“I have real concerns about what DEI staff may be teaching or doing at our taxpayer-funded universities,” said Auditor White. “For example, during the Trump Administration, President Trump shut down federal government DEI programs because some taught that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism.’ This kind of language tears us apart, not brings us together.”

Overall, Mississippi universities reported spending $23.4 million on DEI from July of 2019 to now.

“There have also been allegations that DEI staffers are duplicative of other human resources staff and are therefore a waste of money,” said White. “In light of all this, as a starting point, I thought it was important for taxpayers to know what public universities are spending on DEI.”

The self-reported expenditures from the universities reveal a wide range of spending:

•Nearly $11 million of state taxpayer funds went to DEI programs
•70% of DEI spending in 2023 was spent on salaries for DEI employees
•DEI spending has increased 47% since 2019

“One unfortunate statistic was the amount of money spent on DEI salaries and the lack of money spent on scholarships,” added White. “If the real goal of DEI was to increase diversity at the universities, one would think more money would be going to scholarships for poor students instead of adults’ paychecks.”

The full report can be found on the Auditor’s website under the reports tab.

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