The University of Massachusetts Boston has removed a hiring requirement for prospective faculty that demanded a statement which demonstrated their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The ideologically-charged diversity statement requirement was first exposed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in June.
As Fox News reported, this statement was required even for non-DEI affiliated faculty, such as for a professorship in computer science. FIRE Program Officer Haley Gluhanich told Fox that UMass “tried dodging the issue for several months,” but have since removed the diversity statement requirement.
Indeed, according to FIRE’s website, the organization first called out the university for violating prospective faculty members’ First Amendment rights, which “prohibits rejecting applicants for failure to profess allegiance to any particular political or ideological position.” FIRE sent two additional requests for the university to remove the diversity statement requirement on August 3 and October 30 after the university failed to act.
Despite UMass Boston quietly bowing before the U.S. Constitution, other institutions have continued to pursue infusions of DEI into their hiring and personnel policies.
In a 2021 survey, the American Enterprise Institute found that of 999 academic job postings they examined, 19 percent required a diversity statement. Still, other institutions have taken steps to combat this spread. Both the University of North Carolina and the University of Washington implemented measures which prevent the influence of diversity statements in assessing faculty hires and faculty tenure respectively.
At present, it looks like diversity, equity, and inclusion is being forced to make way for a diversity of ideas instead.
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