MIT Does Away with Diversity Hiring Requirement

Evan Poellinger | May 7, 2024

In a surprising turn of events, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has made the decision to stop requiring diversity statements as a part of its hiring process.

In a decision reached on Monday, MIT President Sally Kornbluth, in conjunction with “the Provost, Chancellor, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, and all six academic deans,” announced that MIT would be focusing instead on being able “to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here.”

Kornbluth also seemed to frame the issue in terms of intellectual diversity, arguing that, “we can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.”

The move represents a stark about-face from MIT’s previous hiring process. According to the New York Post, a job posting for MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering demands that prospective candidates include, “a statement regarding their views on diversity, inclusion, and belonging, including past and current contributions as well as their vision and plans for the future in these areas” as a part of the application process. What, exactly, propagating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology has to do with understanding nuclear engineering remains unknown.

MIT’s decision sets it apart from its peer highly-selective universities. Ivies Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia University all maintain the practice of using diversity statements as a part of their faculty hiring process. In fact, Harvard specifically suggests that prospective faculty candidates can compose “the most compelling diversity statements” with statements that “offer your definitions of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) and demonstrate how your research, teaching, and service actualize your EDIB goals.” Princeton frames its diversity statement requirement as “an opportunity for you to highlight the ways you would advance an institution's DEI work.”

While other states have taken measures to curb the influence of DEI, MIT’s decision represents possibly the first example of a highly-selective university in a blue state which has chosen to step away from a key tenet of DEI ideology.