The commitment to Critical Social Justice (CSJ) on America’s college campuses does not waver. It may go underground for a while, it may be difficult to detect for a while, but it is ongoing and persistent. Pauses mean a gathering of forces followed by bursts of action.
At Idaho’s universities, there is a pause in some respects, but Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is churning beneath the surface. Universities are now requiring job candidates to include DEI statements in their job packets; adherence to this ideology is becoming a prerequisite to get a job as faculty in Idaho’s universities. These ideological loyalty oaths on college campuses require faculty candidates to pledge commitment to the university’s diversity agenda in its struggle against meritocracy, individuality, and colorblindness.
CSJ is the ideology that holds that America and Western civilization itself have built irredeemable structures of systematic racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Advocates claim to know this because groups have different outcomes in America. For example, women make up 50% of the population but only 15% of engineers, so CSJ advocates claim it must be due to sexism rather than choice or preference.
CSJ advocates insist those structures can be destroyed and replaced with institutions that will bring about group equity. In higher education, DEI policies promise to increase group equity. DEI is the answer to the problem posed by CSJ. DEI emphasizes group identity, assumes group victimization, and claims entitlements for certain groups. It rejects the ideas of a pluralistic free society, the rule of law, and universalism in human experience.
Universities around the country are pursuing DEI policies with binge hiring of administrative personnel, a bevy of new policies, and changes in curriculum. Hiring policies are changing to require implicit bias training and increase affirmative action. Campus police policies are changing. New academic centers, such as Boise State's Antiracism Center, are popping up on campuses to increase their DEI profiles. More DEI events are planned.
DEI statements for job candidates is another prevailing nationwide trend. Faculty candidates have been traditionally evaluated based on a cover letter, their curriculum vitae, a research statement, and teaching statement. Now, DEI statements require that candidates pledge fealty to the CSJ-DEI ideological framework, in both word and deed.
The purpose of diversity statements is to disadvantage or weed out dissidents — any candidate in favor of a free society and against the ideological pursuits of the university.
A recent study from the American Enterprise Institute found that about 20% of job postings included DEI statements. Such statements, I have found, are much more common in the hard sciences than in the social sciences and humanities.
Boise State and University of Idaho have posted many jobs requiring DEI statements from candidates. Take a look at this sample of Boise State job listings:
University of Idaho also has posed jobs requiring DEI statements:
The University of Idaho is also requiring a diversity statement for Vice Provost of Academic Initiatives.
Conservatives, classical liberals, and everyone who is not a DEI activist would hardly feel welcome to apply for these jobs. Males must think they have little chance of landing the jobs. Universities compromise academic excellence by cutting themselves off from the whole market.
These job postings have been approved at the highest levels of our universities. The prevalence of DEI statements throughout the hard sciences at Boise State suggests either the college dean or an upper administrator are pursuing these policies. Perhaps both of those things.
Universities should eschew diversity statements altogether. However, given higher education’s commitment to DEI, this reform will likely require legislative action. The Legislature could ban universities from requiring DEI statements in job applications. Similar to how the Legislature banned racially discriminatory hiring practices, public institutions should not ideologically discriminate either. In their place, universities could adopt a newfound commitment to intellectual diversity and their core mission to pursue truth.
The surface calm should not mislead. Our universities continue to radicalize despite the expressed wishes stated by our legislature last term.
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