Alabama's three largest tax-funded universities are spending at least $2.5 million a year on salaries for staff working in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) departments on campus.

DEI bureaucracies in public Alabama universities have come under fire over the last several months from conservatives who claim that the programs and departments do not fulfill their alleged purpose of promoting tolerance.

Instead, critics have accused DEI bureaucracies of stifling intellectual diversity and discriminating against dissent. 

In February, the Alabama Republican Party passed a resolution supporting legal efforts to abolish DEI policies and bureaucracies and mandatory diversity training in public universities and other public institutions. 

A related bill in the Alabama House of Representatives cleared the House State Government Committee on Wednesday. If passed, it would ban all public education institutions from "promoting or endorsing, or requiring affirmation of certain divisive concepts related to race, sex or religion," which could impact DEI departments in public schools.

But how much are these DEI bureaucrats getting paid?

1819 News used public records to determine the highest-paid DEI officials at the state's flagship universities: the University of Alabama (UA), Auburn University and the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB). 

Using the employee's most recent pay, 1819 News calculated how much that employee would make this year, assuming he or she does not receive a raise or a pay deduction. 1819 News also only included staff in the universities' official DEI departments. 

Some of the colleges within the universities have DEI-related committees, such as Auburn's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering's Inclusion and Diversity Committee and the Auburn College of Liberal Arts's Inclusive Excellence Cabinet, but these appear to be filled by regular faculty members and student representatives. Some graduate schools, like UA School of Law, have their own DEI Departments as well and were not included in this report.

1819 News also did not include academic faculty, who may teach or conduct research relating to DEI initiatives, such as the coursework and research topics outlined by Auburn in much of its recent "Sustainable Development Goals" report. 

Auburn University

Auburn University's primary DEI bureaucracy is its Office of Inclusion and Diversity (OID), which oversees both the Cross-Cultural Center for Excellence (CCCE) and Diversity Education and Engagement (DEE).

Auburn's highest-paid DEI bureaucrats include:

  1. Associate Provost and Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer Taffye Benson Clayton - $275,990.04 annually ($22,999.17 monthly)

  2. Deputy Cheif Diversity Officer JuWan Robinson - $118,970.04 annually ($9,914.17 monthly)

  3. Sr. DEI Analyst Rizwan Hussain - $86,300.04 annually ($7,191.67 monthly)

  4. CCCE Director Tonika Boyd - $83,940 annually ($6,995 monthly)

  5. DEE Director Rochelle Johnson - $83,439.96 annually ($6,953.33 monthly) 

University of Alabama 

UA's primary DEI bureaucracy is its Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI). The highest-paid DDEI bureaucrats are as follows:

  1. Vice President and Associate Provost for DDEI Gwendolyn Christine Taylor - $298,047.12 annually ($24,827.26 monthly)

  2. Assistant Vice President of Engagement & Programming LaToya M. Scott - $153,924 annually ($12,827.80 monthly)

  3. Executive Director of External Engagement Cassandra Williams Smothers - $132,168 annually ($11,014.10 monthly)

  4. Assistant Director of the Intercultural Diversity Center Shemaiah Kenon - $61,443.12 annually ($5,120.26 monthly)

  5. Administrative Assistant Osielia Lewis - $52,848 annually ($4,404.19 monthly)

University of Alabama Birmingham

UAB's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) serves as its primary DEI department. Its highest-paid admin include:

  1. Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Equity and Inclusion Mona M. Fouad - $407,749.08 annually ($33,979.09 monthly)

  2. Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Paulette Patterson Dilworth - $284,090.04 annually ($23,674.17 monthly)

  3. Director of Strategic Initiatives Holly Holliday-Jones - $105,963.60 annually ($8,830.30 monthly)

  4. Diversity Education Director Michelle M. Allen - $85,932.96 annually ($7,161.08 monthly)

  5. Executive Assistant Davelyn L. Daniels-Carter - $84,379.08 annually ($7,031.59 monthly)

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