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Conservative ASU whistleblower professor exposes DEI requirement in faculty evaluations

An outspoken professor at Arizona State University is sounding the alarm on what he contends is a pervasive pattern of implementing diversity, equity and inclusion dogma campuswide.

Despite a recent decision by the Arizona Board of Regents to stop asking for DEI statements from job applicants, Professor Owen Anderson said that will not solve the onslaught of progressive ideology he contends continues to be rampant at ASU.

“Specifically,” he added in an interview with The College Fix, “it will not change the chilling effect on campus where conservatives and Christians do not speak out because their beliefs are discriminated against. And it will not change that hiring committees look for applicants that reflect their own leftist beliefs rather than striving for intellectual diversity.”

Anderson, a professor of philosophy, religious studies and theology, provided a screenshot of his 2022-23 annual review to The College Fix that shows he was asked what contributions he made to DEI in the past year.

He answered that he added information about Native American cosmologies to his curriculum.

He said he was asked about his DEI contributions in his annual performance review despite the fact that DEI proposals within the faculty bylaws to ask such questions have not been formally approved.

“ASU’s policies protect free speech, including dissent. It is because of this that I am speaking up about instances where I believe ASU can be more consistent with its own policies,” Anderson told The College Fix. “Instances of requiring employees to accept DEI philosophy as true, or asking such questions on annual reviews, are not consistent with ASU’s own policies.”

Proposed amendments to the ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences faculty bylaws include a mission statement that reads in part its “commitment to diversity and inclusion helps to ensure that access and equity are at the forefront of this experience.”

Currently the 40-page bylaws, a copy of which was provided to The College Fix, includes a variety of suggestions to embed DEI requirements into teaching evaluations and best pedagogical practices.

The proposed faculty bylaws for the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences currently include the words “diverse” or “diversity” 17 times, the word “equitable” or “equity” 10 times, and the word “inclusive” or “inclusion” 19 times.

The document also states that “NCIAS expects faculty commitment to building the University and its programs. Service to the College, therefore, as well as to the academic profession and to the community at large, is an essential part of every faculty member’s record.”

“… Service to underrepresented and underserved communities is particularly valued, as well as those efforts that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in and outside of the University.”

While the proposals don’t outright require DEI for faculty advancement, they repeatedly state that inclusive teaching, increasing access and “similar pedagogical practices are valued by the college.”

Anderson is no stranger to serving as something of a whistleblower.

He testified at a July hearing by the Arizona Legislature’s newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona’s Public Universities.

The committee was formed over concerns that ASU improperly shut down the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development, which is housed in ASU’s honors college, after it hosted two well known conservatives — Charlie Kirk and Dennis Prager — prompting massive protests by professors.

Anderson testified not as a representative of the university but as a free speech expert and concerned citizen.

He said on Twitter prior to the hearing that “I have been speaking out about how my college at ASU has employee training classes teaching radical gender ideology and has tried to change our bylaws to include that our syllabi are evaluated by antiracist and decolonizing philosophies.”

When asked by The College Fix if the Arizona Board of Regents’ decision to no longer ask for diversity, equity and inclusion statements in job applications would address his concerns, he said it only tackles “one part of the problem.”

He said it does nothing to redress the harassment of conservatives by faculty over the Lewis Center event, for example. He also pointed out he was still asked to spell out his DEI bona fides in his recent annual review.

Anderson frequently updates his Dr. A’s Substack to shine a light on what he contends are other problems at ASU.

One post from April 2023 includes a screenshot statement describing required Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Trainings for faculty, staff and student employees.

He wrote that while the posted topics sound generic, such as simply DEI training, “many of these are further broken down into topics like ‘white supremacy.’ Parents and potential students will be interested to learn what teaching ASU presents as ‘the fact of the matter’ and that no alternative views or debate is held.”

Dr. A’s Substack has also had a busy month of August. Recent posts in the past few weeks include: “ASU Student Club Calls for Socialist Revolution,” “ASU Drag Event” and “ASU pays for gender reassignment.”

Anderson also told The College Fix that faculty are quizzed after mandatory diversity trainings, which appear to be based on the work of influential critical theorist Kimberle Crenshaw.

In an instructional video that Anderson alleged is required by some ASU employees to watch, Crenshaw describes intersectionality as not so much a “grand theory” as it is a “prism for understanding certain kinds of problems,” with emphasis on white supremacy as being the source of all other discrimination.

She added that “schools do a good job when they understand” intersectionality. Along with Crenshaw’s “bias quadrant” diagram, Anderson said employees are then tested on her ideas in true-or-false questionnaires in which the more progressive answers are considered true.

MORE: Arizona lawmakers learn sordid details on cancelation of ASU center that hosted conservatives

IMAGE: Dr. Owen Anderson Facebook page screenshot

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About the Author
Parker Miller -- Grove City College