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ASU still asks for DEI commitments in hiring despite board directive prohibiting it

‘Scrubbed the formal diversity statement requirements from job listings, only to then bury them deeper in the application process,’ says one critic

Arizona State University continues to ask potential job candidates questions regarding their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion despite a board policy prohibiting the use of diversity statements in hiring, according to a document obtained by The College Fix.

In August 2023, the Arizona Board of Regents decided public universities in the state can no longer require applicants to submit diversity statements.

The move came after an investigative report from the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, found the vast majority of faculty job postings at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University forced applicants to provide the statements.

A university spokeswoman confirmed in August 2023 to the Arizona Capitol Times that ASU “had discontinued the use of DEI statements in all job applications.”

But a current list of questions for potential hires at ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences specifically asks for applicants to endorse the DEI-related aims of ASU in their second round of interviews, according to the document, provided to The Fix on May 20 on the condition of anonymity.

“ASU is committed to advancing diversity and equity and providing opportunities to students in traditionally disadvantaged groups,” the document reads. “What experience do you have with doing this in your current position? How do you hope to translate that experience for our student demographic in particular?”

With that, it appears that although written statements are no longer required, verbal ones appear part of the hiring process.

ASU’s media relations division has not responded to The College Fix’s requests for comment.

Joe Seyton, a spokesman for the Goldwater Institute, said the document obtained by The Fix raises questions about whether diversity statements were ever really discontinued at ASU.

“The blatant, willful violation of the Board of Regents’ directive further corrodes the academic integrity of the university system. It appears that administrators have simply scrubbed the formal diversity statement requirements from job listings, only to then bury them deeper in the application process away from public view,” Seyton said via email.

According to the Goldwater Institute’s investigation: “As of fall 2022, diversity statements are mandated in over a quarter (28%) of job postings at the University of Arizona, nearly three-quarters (73%) of job postings at Northern Arizona University, and in more than four of five (81%) job postings at Arizona State University.”

As part of ASU’s promotion of DEI, in 2020 it established the School of Life Sciences JEDI Initiative, which stands for Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion. This was intended to be a collaboration between students and faculty to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the school. The group released a report in 2022 detailing its objectives.

The initiative’s goals included developing policies and practices that change “our culture to be more inclusive of women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and people from other marginalized groups.”

As The College Fix previously reported last fall, ASU also has a mandatory DEI training for current and incoming staff, and the Goldwater Institute argues the practice flouts a state law banning some forms of DEI training.

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About the Author
College Fix contributor David Glasser is a rising second-year student at the Florida State University College of Law, with over six years of news and opinion writing experience for various publications. He is set to graduate in 2026.