The word “America” is verboten, as is the use of Easter or Christmas imagery.

Michigan State University’s “inclusive language” guide also advises against using controversial terms like “female,” “Black,” “special,” “bunny,” “gift,” “nickname,” or “racial minority” for fear someone might get offended.

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The MSU Brand Studio’s Inclusive Guide is “in alignment with strategic efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion” because “Michigan State University values communications practices that support belonging for all Spartans,” it reads.

That guide is among 222 different “diversity, equity, and inclusion” items included in MSU’s most recent DEI report analyzed by The College Fix, which found 140 employees with combined salaries of $18 million are contributing to the work.

While MSU disputed The Fix’s numbers, spokesman Mark Bullion defended the DEI initiatives he said “align with and enable our land grant mission of expanding educational access for all.”

“No budget is dedicated to ‘DEI.’ With more than 12,000 employees, diversity, equity and inclusion administrators are only a tiny fraction of personnel,” he said.

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“With that said, many of the jobs listed are required operational roles that ensure compliance with legal obligations,” Bullion told the news site. “Others include executive leaders with broad divisional oversight and employees who serve on a committee or in an advisory capacity.”

The DEI efforts are part of the university’s ultimate goal to “become a national leader in increasing diversity, promoting inclusion, ensuring equity and eliminating disparities on our campus and beyond,” according to The State News, the student news site.

Data in the report shows MSU has increased overall diversity, but it’s come at the expense of Black and Native American students.

“As of 2023, the African American/Black undergraduate enrollment at MSU was 2,633 people, which is a 3.7% increase from 2013, according to the report. However, this is still less than the 3,046 students cited in the 2002-03 report,” according to The State News. “American Indian/Alaska Natives undergraduate enrollment has seen a similar trend, with a 31.3% increase in the last decade from 83 to 109 students, but still less than the 237 students reported two decades ago.”

Total undergraduates of color, meanwhile, is now at 10,285, up 58% from 2013 and 68% from the 6,119 “total minorities” counted in 2003.

The DEI effort, however, has come at a significant cost to taxpayers, with The Fix using Open the Books to expose the salaries of some of the 140 staff involved in the work.

“Some of those higher-level leaders include Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Norman Beauchamp, who makes $729,994 per year, according to Open the Books,” The Fix reports. “He is listed in The Fix report because Health Sciences is implementing some goals relating to community outreach.

“However, other high-paid administrators appear to be focused on DEI. This includes Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett who makes $373,511 per year, among other benefits, and Deborah Johnson, director of the Diversity Research Network. She makes $204,471 per year.”

A total of 22 personnel work in MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity, as well.

The 2023-24 DEI report shows that out of 222 DEI action items, 22 have been implemented, 88 are being implemented, 52 are under evaluation, and 60 haven’t yet started, The State News reports.

Of the 22 implemented, six are aimed at increasing diversity, five at ensuring equity, six at promoting inclusion, and five at improving outreach and engagement.

James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told The Fix those taxpayer-funded efforts deserve more scrutiny.

“Taxpayers have been showering public universities with billions of dollars and asking nothing in return,” he wrote in an email. “We should revisit that policy.”

“Lawmakers need to reassess how much money is being given to state universities to ensure that taxpayers are getting good returns for their investments,” Hohman wrote.