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A radical activist who has made anti-white comments is no longer in charge of “diversity” at the schools children of military members attend — though she hasn’t been fired or disciplined, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Kelisa Wing, the former Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chief for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, made numerous comments such as: “I’m so exhausted at these white folx in these PD sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too… I had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS.”
She wrote books with lines such as “If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege” — as well as one called “What Does It Mean to Defund the Police.” She also said that people needed to “agitate, agitate, agitate” for “revolutionary” changes, and that “If another Karen tells me about her feelings … I might lose it.”
In September, 22 members of Congress called for an internal investigation, writing that “we are concerned that Ms. Wing’s rhetoric is not in line with the values and standards of the DoD.” They asked “Has Ms. Wing’s radical ideology been integrated into the curriculum proposed by DoDEA?”
The Pentagon said soon after that it would launch an investigation, but it did not follow up with a letter until three hours before a congressional hearing Thursday examining the impact of DEI policies on the military, according to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
“The employee was speaking in a personal capacity… as a result, the Director, DoDEA took no disciplinary action,” the letter said. “The Director, DoDEA concluded that it was appropriate for the employee to continue working for DoDEA. Separately, as part of a headquarters restructuring, the employee was reassigned to another position that does not include diversity, equity, and inclusion,” it added.
Despite taking six months to investigate, the letter’s author, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert R. Cisneros, seemed unfamiliar with the topic when Stefanik grilled him at the hearing.
He said he had “no idea” what “caudacity” meant, though he also said “I do agree that this is not acceptable. It is not condoned. It is not something that I condone. It is not condoned by DoDEA or the Department of Defense.”
He would not commit to publicly sharing the results of the investigation, citing Wing’s privacy. He was unaware that Wing’s own books were in the libraries of the schools she oversaw.
Stefanik retorted: “You should know, you are a DoD official … One reason you should know that is in her own presentation as a DoD employee at a DoDEA summit, she stated, ‘My passion work is dismantling disparate discipline systems, and I am hugely passionate about dismantling the school to prison pipeline, I have written a book [called] Promises and Possibilities Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline — shameless plug.’ That’s her words.”
Stefanik said she suspects the “restructuring” was due to the public becoming aware of Wing’s true feelings. “She should have been fired completely, but she was at least moved somewhere else, not dealing with our kids’ educational systems,” she said.
However, the comments that the DoD determined were merely “personal” were only one of the issues raised by OpenTheBooks.com, a leading government transparency organization. OpenTheBooks found that while working as a DOD employee, she also ran a consulting firm called Promises & Possibilities LLC that has collected tens of thousands of dollars from other sources.
A FOIA request showed that New Jersey’s Cresskill School District paid Wing $26,200 simultaneous to her DOD job, before cancelling her contract following news of her offensive statements. “Despite a full-time job based in Virginia, Wing often spent time during the work week conducting virtual or in-person training sessions for Cresskill staff,” OpenTheBooks found. The DOD refused to fulfill OpenTheBooks’ FOIA request for timecards and conflict-of-interest disclosures that could show whether this amounted to misconduct. (Wing told the Military Times that “I disclose to my employer my private activities as required.”)
OpenTheBooks founder Adam Andrzejewski told The Daily Wire Friday that “Wing had stated that her mission was to ‘… uproot, tear down, rip up and destroy inequitable spaces.’ In addition to her six-figure GS-14 government job, Wing was also collecting tens of thousands of dollars through her private consultancy, offering these diversity and equity materials to public schools at large. This included the same professional trainings for staff that she was giving teachers in DODEA schools.”
“It took multiple investigations from us and multiple hearings from Congress to finally get some answers and some action from the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, there are still outstanding questions for the Pentagon, including whether they plan to eliminate the role or find a replacement for Wing. The DoD also should account for how much public money is being spent on DEI material and trainings all across the Defense Department,” he said.
A DoDEA web page previously said “The DODEA DEI Division was established in 2021 to create equitable access to opportunities, resources, and support for students, employees, and families through examination of beliefs, policies, practices, and interactions to eliminate inequities and disparities. The DEI division will advance equity and cultural proficiency by interrupting systems of inequity in our policies, practices, and procedures by creating a climate that ensures diversity, equity and inclusivity for all students, staff and families.” Now, it redirects to a generic DODEA page.