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Harvard Ends Mandatory DEI Statements in Hiring

This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.
Arts and Sciences

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences revealed that it will no longer require applicants for tenure-track positions to submit written pledges of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Service statement

Candidates applying for positions in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences will now be required to provide a “service statement” detailing their initiatives to enhance academic communities such as departments, institutions, and professional societies, instead of a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement.

Change in policy

This change in policy was quietly introduced in the spring and officially disclosed.

DEI statements

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), which pertains to professors in the undergraduate program and certain graduate schools within the university, began mandating DEI statements in tenure-track job applications during the 2019-2020 period, according to the Boston Globe. Gay was serving as the dean of FAS during this time.

Protests

Recent controversies, including leftist anti-Israel protests on campus and the removal of former president Claudine Gay, have brought attention to the influence of identity politics at Harvard in recent months.

Harvard Law

Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy penned an opinion piece in the Harvard Crimson in April stating, “By requiring academics to profess — and flaunt — faith in DEI, the proliferation of diversity statements poses a profound challenge to academic freedom.”

Abandon

The headline of Kennedy’s article read as, “Mandatory DEI Statements Are Ideological Pledges of Allegiance. Time to Abandon Them.”

Graduate School

Although the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) has eliminated the requirement for DEI statements, other departments at Harvard, such as the Graduate School of Education, are still retaining this practice.

Perspective

The school requests applicants to provide a teaching philosophy statement that outlines their perspective on teaching, including details about their “orientation toward diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.”

MIT

In May, MIT made headlines by becoming the first prestigious university to eliminate the need for diversity statements in its faculty recruitment process.

Sally Kornbluth

Sally Kornbluth, the president of MIT, made a statement to National Review: “We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.”

Funding

In March, the University of Florida took action to comply with a Florida Board of Governor’s regulation that restricts funding for diversity programs.

DEI contracts

This resulted in the closure of the diversity department, termination of DEI staff, and cancellation of DEI contracts with external providers.

Shut down

Consequently, the college shut down the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, removed DEI roles, and cut administrative appointments related to diversity.

Redirected

In May, the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reduced funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the upcoming budget year. The allocated funds were redirected towards public safety and law enforcement initiatives instead.

Leftism

“…DEI statements will essentially constitute pledges of allegiance that enlist academics into the DEI movement by dint of soft-spoken but real coercion: If you want the job or the promotion, play ball — or else,” Kennedy wrote in his op-ed for the Crimson. “… It does not take much discernment to see, moreover, that the diversity statement regime leans heavily and tendentiously towards varieties of academic leftism and implicitly discourages candidates who harbor ideologically conservative dispositions.”

Public statements

Harvard recently announced that it will no longer issue official public statements on political matters.

Alan Garber

This decision came after a report from an “Institutional Voice Working Group” established by interim president Alan Garber.

Political issues

Under the guidance of interim Harvard Provost John F. Manning, the group was tasked with examining the university’s involvement in political issues. This inquiry was likely sparked by the criticism Harvard faced for its ambiguous response following the invasion of Israel by Hamas on October 7.

Noah Feldman

According to Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, who serves as the co-chair of the working group, the report recommends that the university maintain political neutrality while promoting free and open discussions, dialogues, and the pursuit of truth.

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