DIE vs Merit

David Glasser:

The University of Southern California is prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion over merit and talent when awarding funding to students in PhD programs, according to a group of scholars who recently sounded the alarm on the issue as well as a memo that spells out the practice.

While dozens of universities consider DEI when distributing funding to PhD students for research, USC is “particularly extreme” in this regard, USC Professor James Moore, Columbia University Professor Spiro Pantazatos, and former USC doctoral candidate Kursat Christoff Pekgoz wrote in an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed on May 18.

“Our review of more than 30 graduate school websites for leading U.S. research universities suggests that while most leading institutions dedicate some share of resources to funding mostly or exclusively students from underrepresented groups, USC’s reliance on group identity to define eligibility for centralized doctoral support is particularly extreme,” the professors wrote.

A February 2022 memo sent by University of Southern California leaders to graduate program faculty details how. The elite, private school used to have two separate PhD funding programs, one specifically to advance DEI and another largely merit-based.