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This study examines tensions between universalist ideology and racial/ethnic inequalities in STEM education. Using data collected from qualitative interviews with STEM diversity administrators at 10 research-intensive, public universities, the study considers programmatic goals through an interest-convergence framework. Emerging patterns reveal approaches to STEM diversity that must align with departmental norms to gain general support. Administrators find limited opportunities to challenge structural practices that marginalize underrepresented students in STEM. Implications for sustainable diversity efforts in STEM education are considered.