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University of Missouri System bans diversity statements in hiring

The University of Missouri System will not require applicants to pledge their allegiance to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The system has scrapped any use of diversity statements and instead campuses may provide a “values commitment” to job applicants, the Kansas City Star reported March 24.

“UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi drafted the new language in an email sent Friday to some faculty members and department chairs at the system’s four campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis and Rolla,” the Star reported.

“The commitment would read: ‘We value the uniqueness of every individual and strive to ensure each person’s success. Contributions from individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives promote intellectual pluralism and enable us to achieve the excellence that we seek in learning, research and engagement. This commitment makes our university a better place to work, learn and innovate.'”

The system includes the University of Missouri-Columbia, or Mizzou, as well as the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

NPR Kansas City reported March 27 that:

Earlier this month, Missouri Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would reduce the use of diversity, equity and inclusion standards and practices for medical schools, medical licensing boards and state universities.

However, the university system’s spokesperson said the university did not halt its use of diversity statements in hiring practices because of proposed legislation. University officials saw inconsistencies within departments about diversity statements in job postings and wanted to review the language, the spokesperson said.

Choi said he also is aware of recent reports from media outlets that the university system’s diversity, equity and inclusion statements for hiring purposes were sometimes perceived as loyalty oaths or litmus tests. He added that the university does not use loyalty oaths or litmus tests in hiring, but that “a few of our job advertisements contained information that may give some readers the impression that such a request was inferred.”

In other parts of the country, however, mandatory diversity statements are still widely in use.

As previously reported, applicants across the University of California system must now submit diversity, equity and inclusion statements as a matter of course.

What’s more, studies show “as many as one in five faculty jobs across America require them. And government agencies that fund scientific research are starting to make grants to labs conditional upon their diversity metrics and plans,” The Economist reported.

MORE: Proliferation of mandatory diversity statements continues unabated

IMAGE: University of Missouri / public domain use

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