In the New York Post this weekend, College Fix Senior Reporter Christian Schneider writes about so-called “diversity statements” that are being required of university faculty across America. These professions in favor of the amorphous concept of “diversity” mirror such requirements at religious colleges that require “professions of faith.”
Professors and other faculty members are asked to pledge their commitment to “equity” and “inclusion” and to demonstrate how they have acted to fulfill this pledge in the past. And much as with the religious version, the goal of these policies is to ensure uniformity of belief.
Consider the University of California, Los Angeles. To be considered for tenure-track positions, applicants are required to write a full statement outlining their commitment to diversity. According to UCLA guidelines, the extent to which a professor promotes equity, diversity and inclusion is a key factor in making progress on the tenure track.
Promoting these ideals “is inseparable from how the University of California conceives of ‘merit,’ ” the school says. UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley all require similar diversity statements.
The new requirements have some faculty members fighting back, as professors are concerned how they will be applied.
Such concerns are valid, because the statements of diversity are vague in the extreme. Left unsaid is what, exactly, “diversity” means and how to achieve it. Does the commitment to diversity mean giving extra help to minority students? Does it mean speaking out in favor of tenure for transgender faculty, even if they haven’t earned it on the merits? Or is simply providing a classroom where students are free to learn enough to satisfy the requirement?
There’s also a concern that the push for diversity only extends so far, excluding the ideological variety that is arguably most important for a college education. Conservative-leaning teachers know the commitment to diversity rarely extends to ideological diversity. And given universities’ growing insistence that students anonymously report professors for any perceived “micro-aggression,” right-leaning professors have ample reason to fear they will be targeted for punishment.