For more than half a century, colleges and universities have relied on dedicated programs to attract students of color and support them. Today, those programs – known as diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, programs – are under attack.
Republican lawmakers assail the programs as being driven by liberal Democrats’ “woke agenda” to value and prioritize racial identity over merit. However, rigorous social science research shows that these programs result in universities with better student learning.
As a researcher who is concerned with racial equity on campus, I contend these are five ways DEI programs have made a difference at colleges and universities throughout the U.S.:
1. Students perform better academically
Students from marginalized identity groups – including Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian students, as well as first-generation students – perform better academically at schools with diversity programs, and graduate at a higher rate.
As a result of DEI programs, students …