‘A massive complex dedicated to the neo-marxist agenda’: UNC spends $90 million on nearly 700 DEI-related staffers

That is the conclusion of a fabulous site devoted to government transparency called “Open The Books.”  

Judging from what these folks have uncovered, that DEI vote at UNC-Chapel Hill is merely the tip of the iceberg:

The University of North Carolina’s 16 campuses spend no less than $90 million per year in pay and benefits on no fewer than 686 staffers under the “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) umbrella.

On Wednesday, the system’s governing board may end the controversial program that institutionalizes bias and prejudice based on neo-Marxist principles and falsehoods.

Our audit team at OpenTheBooks.com reviewed official university payrolls after filing records requests and searched university websites for DEI committees and their membership lists. Here’s how the UNC program breaks down:

  • 288 are employed in DEI-related roles listed on the UNC system’s payroll.
  • Another 398 people were found to hold DEI-related roles not shown in the payroll records. Found on university websites, these employees are members of DEI committees, commissions and councils.
  • An additional 80 students were appointed to mostly volunteer DEI roles.
  • Another 66 employees are listed on the university websites for DEI committees but don’t appear in the university payroll – likely meaning the websites are out of date.

We found at least 30 DEI-focused groups steering DEI across the 16 universities. These pulled professors, lecturers, advisors, librarians, directors, and deans out of their academic functions and into efforts to spread DEI policies and principles.

We uncovered empirical evidence that DEI has permeated 300 departments across every aspect the UNC system of 50,000 employees.

For a truly complete picture, we know there is more research to be done. While we compiled a long list, there are indications that even more people are working in DEI-related roles.

First, we searched over two dozen keywords in the UNC payroll to find employees in DEI roles. (Keywords: DEI, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Race, Black, African American, Equality, Equal, Equitable, Inclusive, Racial, Justice, Multicultural, Immigrant/ Immigration, Latina/o/x, LGBTQ, Culture/Climate, Belonging, Women, gender and sexuality, Color, Indigenous, Bias, American Indian.)

We found 288 staffers. Then, we moved onto the dozens of UNC websites for the 16 universities that showed involvement on councilsdean’s advisory committees, as diversity liaisons and more. We searched the payroll for the names of the 398 people that we found, and if they weren’t already included in the DEI payroll list we compiled, then we added them.

Another 66 people were listed on DEI committees but whose names couldn’t be found in the payroll. They are not included in the almost 700-person figure.

Finally, about 80 students were listed on DEI committees, mostly in volunteer roles. Any students who may have been in paid positions as interns cannot be found on UNC payroll and are not included in the 700-person total.

Overall, we did our best to quantify the entire complex of DEI, Office of Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity, Title IX, and other offices. Some of these agencies are mandated by state or federal law.

However, for the first time, policy makers and politicians can see the entire picture and can determine what is necessary and what is waste.


Here are some fun charts these good folks cooked up for us.  (*Your tax dollars AT WORK.*)

But, wait.  There’s more:

UNC has paid DEI employees very well. Just how well is still shrouded and not disclosed by the system…

In likely violation of North Carolina’s freedom of information laws, UNC has not acknowledged our April public records request for all university payroll to include all cash compensation (salaries, bonuses, other pay, benefits, etc.). UNC was required to respond, “as promptly as possible.”

After six weeks, the UNC system has only provided a ‘base salary’ payroll list. So, the payroll numbers are most likely 10-15 percent higher than disclosed. For total student and taxpayer cost — tack on another 30-percent for the cost of benefits.

The highest paid employee with a dedicated DEI role was UNC Chapel Hill Chief Diversity Officer Leah Cox, taking home $317,538 in base pay. Again, her total sum is likely far higher, including bonuses, other pay and benefits (estimated total cost: $412,800).

The Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity at NC State University, Sheri L. Schwab, has a base salary of $232,964 (estimated total cost: $302,800).

But even higher atop the pay scale are those working full-time either leading schools or in medical school roles, with DEI responsibilities attached.

Here are some examples:


We found that DEI is engrained not just in the training of professors, but also in the more conventional subject matter they teach.

North Carolina A&T lists dozens of courses “that would be categorized as diversity and diversity enhanced course offerings.” In other places, the injection of DEI is part of the pedagogy and not separately listed, making a full count of DEI roles and impact nearly impossible.

They’re not just embedding it into math or art history, either; they’re also explicitly teaching how to spread it to other schools and programs:

At the UNC system, seemingly everyday subjects are shaped by narratives that frame all areas of study around identity politics.

Sara Smith, a UNC geography professor making $139,000 in base pay (estimated total cost: $180,700), is a self-described feminist geography professor, author of Political Geography: A Critical Introduction, a “timely, engaging textbook [that] weaves critical, postcolonial, and feminist narratives throughout its exploration of key concepts in the discipline.

“Accessible to students new to the field, this text offers critical approaches to political geography—including questions of gender, sexuality, race, and difference—and explains central political concepts such as citizenship, security, and territory in a geographic context.”

North Carolina State University, with the largest student enrollment in the UNC system, houses College of Sciences departmental diversity committees with 118 members. At least 75 of them are paid employees sitting on committees dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Each of them is officially on the payroll as lecturers or professors of biology, marine, earth, atmosphere, chemistry, or physics. 

In addition, there are thirty-five students in those science fields who also sit on the “DEI committee” for their department.

DEI is publicly toxic and crumbling.

UNC appears to be joining a group of schools that repudiate the institutionalized bias of “DEI.”

The UNC Board of Governors oversees the entire UNC system. It is expected to vote on a measure this week that would reverse and replace its DEI policy.

This follows an April vote by the Board’s five-person committee on University Governance to dismantle DEI offices.

Last week, UNC Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees diverted $2.3 million to Public Safety from DEI, as the campus has been embroiled in Pro-Palestinian protests and encampments.

In February 2023, the UNC System dropped its DEI requirements in hiring, stating:

[The UNC System can no longer] “solicit nor require an employee or applicant for academic admission or employment to affirmatively ascribe to or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement.”

Some DEI websites have been taken down and the pace seems to be escalating. 

Three websites dedicated to DEI at East Carolina University are no longer reachable on the internet. UNC Charlotte’s diversity and inclusion page has been removed, as well as several DEI pages for UNC Asheville.

The website of UNC Chapel Hill Office of the Provost Diversity and Inclusion has also been removed.

The two websites referenced at the start of this piece were taken down this morning: UNC Chapel Hill College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Diversity Advisory Committee (26 members) and UNC Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Liaisons (48 members).

However, to hold them accountable, our auditors screenshot all UNC websites where we found staff in additional DEI roles not included on the payroll.


We asked UNC President Peter Hans –and a spokesperson – why the system invests so much money and energy into DEI, but they have not yet responded to our requests for comment.

DEI has become toxic in the court of public opinion. That much is illustrated by the president’s failure to affirm his support for the program.

With nearly $100 million in annual student tuition and taxpayer money pushing DEI, the administration could hope to out-live the headlines.

Instead, it appears the Board’s action Wednesday will be decisive. If it seeks to fund additional teaching and research, as opposed to Left-wing ideology, then the future path for UNC is clear.[…]

So, they’re scurrying away like cockroaches when someone turns on the lights. You just have to love watching the money the state has confiscated from you being used to demean and destroy our culture, our economy, and our nation. 

If you think this is limited to state universities, THINK AGAIN.  It’s in your K-12 systems. It’s in our community colleges. As we said earlier, this is just the tip of the iceberg in the long, but important, fight to restore sanity and seriousness to public education.  The people who have allowed all of this to happen and flourish are a disgrace.