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    UC Santa Cruz Prescreens Faculty Job Applications Based On Mandatory Diversity Statements

    by Jeremiah Poff, Washington Examiner




    The University of California at Santa Cruz is requiring job applicants for academic positions to submit statements affirming a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and filters applicants based on those statements.

    Job postings for faculty positions on the UCSC website show the university initially filters candidates based on their “Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

    All schools within the University of California system require faculty applicants to include statements of commitment to diversity and inclusion, but only UCSC expressly tells applicants that the “’initial screening of applications will be based’ on the statement.”

    The litmus test is not limited to any particular academic discipline.

    A review of the university’s job postings showed that tenure-track assistant professor positions in art , computer science , electrical engineering , chemistry , humanities , and history all contain the “initial screening” language.

    Max Eden, a research fellow in education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, said diversity and inclusion statements “burst onto the scene in the UC System last decade and have since spread to cover 1/5th of all higher education hiring.”

    But UCSC’s open declaration that the statements will be used for prescreening job applications was a first, Eden said, adding that he expects the practice to “spread widely,” just as the initial requirement of diversity statements did.

    It’s not clear when UCSC implemented the prescreening standard. A spokesperson for the university did not respond to a request for comment. The UC System also did not return a request for comment.

    The University of California, in its faculty hiring standards for the entire system, says, “Contributions in all areas of faculty achievement that promote equal opportunity and diversity should be given due recognition in the academic personnel process, and they should be evaluated and credited in the same way as other faculty achievements.”

    The UC document specifically cites “mentoring and advising of students and faculty members, particularly from underrepresented and underserved populations” as a factor that should “be given due recognition in the teaching or service categories of the academic personnel process.”

    Zach Greenberg, a senior program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said, “When these institutions require faculty applicants to profess their allegiance to political beliefs favored by the university, they impermissibly violate academic freedom and expressive rights.”

    “Public universities bound by the First Amendment may not impose political litmus tests on faculty applicants,” Greenberg said. “Requirements that professors adhere to contested viewpoints involving vague terms such as diversity, equity, and inclusion run the risk of excluding faculty with minority, dissenting, or simply unpopular views.”

    Scott Yenor, a professor of political science at Boise State, said diversity equity and inclusion statements “are a kind of litmus test or loyalty oath to this reigning ideology.”

    “In the short term, it will solidify that the young cohort of Ph.D.s will overwhelmingly adopt this vision of education and do research in this area,” Yenor said. “The long-term effects over the course of a generation are what really we should worry about. No one who objects to this ideology will try to get advanced degrees — why would one bother?”

    “Fewer men will enroll for advanced degrees since it will be difficult to get such jobs,” he said. “Soon, no one who knows differently from the DEI framework will be on the universities. DEI will become the new standard for professions — and then the quality of science especially will be severely compromised.”

    The UC system’s requirement of diversity statements has attracted a host of criticism in the past.

    AEI’s Eden said that institutions such as the UC system “are predicating employment in higher education on fealty to an ideology that is hostile to the traditional values of the university.”

    Abigail Thompson, a professor of mathematics at UC Davis, wrote in a 2019 article that the system’s requirement of diversity statements was “a political test with teeth” and compared it to the 1950s trend in U.S. universities to require prospective faculty to sign anti-communist loyalty oaths.

    “Imposing a political litmus test is not the way to achieve excellence in mathematics or in the university,” Thompson wrote. “Not in 1950 and not today.”

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