“Diversity statements” are the latest device the left has come up with to impose and enforce woke conformity in education. Stanley Kurtz explains how they work:
Let’s say you’re applying for a teaching job at a university. In addition to submitting a CV and a description of your academic research, many universities now require you to answer a series of questions designed to prove your commitment to the ideology and practice of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). How do you think about DEI? In what ways have you tried to advance DEI? How to you plan to further DEI as a faculty member?
Some schools measure your replies to such questions with a pre-set “rubric,” and some even determine who will be in the first batch of rejected applicants based largely, or even solely, on their diversity scores.
Many universities are now pre-screening job applicants for conformity to “woke” ideology — the belief that students should be considered, first and foremost, as members of a racial or ethnic group, rather than as individuals. Applicants who adhere to the classically liberal principles foundational to our education system are actually excluded.
According to Stanley, diversity statements are now used at around one-fifth of higher-education institutions, and are employed both in humanities departments and in STEM fields. Because they are even more common at prestigious schools, we can expect them to spread to many less prestigious ones.
Diversity statements are also gaining ground at the K-12 level. A December 2021 report in Education Week showed they are now being used to screen non-woke applicants out of K–12 teaching positions.
How can this trend be reversed? Through legislation. Stanley writes:
Together, Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, North Carolina’s James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and I have just issued model state-level legislation designed to bar the use of diversity statements — and all other political and ideological tests — at public K–12 schools and universities. The model is entitled the “End Political Litmus Tests in Education Act,” and you can find a link to the text here.
Stanley would also like to see anti-diversity statement legislation at the federal level, along the lines of Sen. Tom Cotton’s Campus Free Speech Restoration Act. That Act would remove the eligibility of a public university for federal loans or student grants, should the institution enact speech policies that violate the First Amendment. At the same time, it includes a multi-stage review process to encourage schools with unconstitutional policies to relent long before actually losing their eligibility for federal aid.
Stanley says the same mechanism could be adapted to schools that maintain diversity statements. It would swiftly put an end to the practice at public universities nationally.
The tide has turned against wokeism in education. As Stanley puts it, “the counter-revolution has begun and the drive to end diversity statements is now part of it.”