Many today have a greater interest in the perception of virtue through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) narratives rather than making a real, tangible impact on improving the lives of others. This is particularly true on college campuses. The support for Claudine Gay at Harvard highlights the insulating powers of DEI, as President Gay fits into the “oppressed” role within the DEI framework, despite attending both an elitist high school and college in Exeter and Stanford respectively. This position of being among the “oppressed” gives her great power. In fact, DEI lays at the heart of the outbreak of the surge in vile behavior, including the recent calls for genocide centered around American college campuses.

The epitome of such moral bankruptcy is my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Penn has rightfully been blasted in the news over the past few months for both platforming calls for genocide and failing to protect female athletics, resulting in a hemorrhaging of key donors. The university announced that Penn President Liz Magill resigned due to her response to anti-Semitism on campus. Undoubtedly, the university hopes that this will put an end to the public scrutiny of UPenn. But Magill’s exit does nothing to change the core rot at UPenn. Magill, as a white woman, was relatively easy to displace within the DEI framework. While Magill was not quite as low as a straight white male on the DEI hierarchy, she was low enough to be removed without substantial backlash.

Magill’s resignation is a start, but the real problems at UPenn — and in our university system at-large — predate Magill’s tenure, and they will continue unless they are directly confronted and real change is made. The university’s embrace of the DEI victim matrix hasn’t just led to an outbreak of anti-Semitism, but to speech code policies that discriminate based on viewpoint.

For example, how did the university decide that calls for genocide were protected speech but questioning the differences between men and women wasn’t? The answer is the twisted moral framework of equity, which forbids students, professors, and university presidents alike from criticizing anyone who is part of an “oppressed” group.

The current system values diversity, equity, and inclusion over meritocracy and truth. Today, university leaders, professors, and fellow students cram down their views of equity-based morality on students, with no room for dissent, which is how we got to where we are today.

I personally experienced this when I tried to speak against having a naked man present when I changed in the locker room at Penn. I was censored because the individual I spoke out against had a higher “oppression” DEI score than I did. The DEI framework and hierarchy enforced at the university ensure that certain groups are protected at all costs, and I was not in that select group.

Taking a deeper look at Penn specifically, professors at Penn receive an average salary of approximately $172,360, which is almost triple the average household income in the United States. To put this in perspective, I made $17 an hour as a Head TA in the engineering school. These professors are highly incentivized to reinforce diversity, equity, and inclusion ideologies and their corresponding anti-meritocratic and anti-free speech behaviors. I even had a professor refer to 9/11 as a “cultural misunderstanding,” as an attempt to promote false anti-Western rhetoric.

So the question remains: How does Liz Magill’s resignation change this issue? After all, Magill is still a tenured professor at Penn Law School. The incentive structures are still in place to promote this radical ideology — and unless donors pull out for broader, sweeping changes, the progress around the recent resignations of Magill and Chairman Bok is all for naught.

To prevent such shameful behavior from occurring in the future, we cannot lose sight of the root cause of these issues. The failure of Penn’s leadership is symptomatic of the deeper issues embedded in DEI philosophies, and without removing those from our ethos, we will ultimately fail to protect future generations from falling into a morally bankrupt delusion. As a member of the next generation, I call on Penn donors, alums, and fellow Americans to continue this fight against this moral perversion and return to the American ideals of free speech and meritocracy.

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Paula Scanlan is an ambassador with Independent Women’s Forum ( and a former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a teammate of Lia Thomas.