Is the tide turning on DEI?
Even progressive groups are voicing their concerns
Last week, the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University system announced a ban on requiring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements for admissions and faculty hiring. The next day, the Chancellor of the University of Houston system followed suit, noting that the system stands “against any actions or activities which promote discrimination in the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion”.
DEI has long been a lodestar of American university policy — but is the tide turning? The term DEI often carries ideological baggage, as countless university racial literacy toolkits and diversity action plans demonstrate, but until recently little has been done to curtail the growth of the university DEI bureaucracy. Rather, a commitment to DEI has been increasingly baked into the very job descriptions of university employees. In a 2021 survey, 19% of faculty job listings asked for diversity statements. In a 2022 survey, 45.6% of large universities included some assessment of DEI in their tenure policies, a proportion that is mirrored even in medical schools.
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These overt requirements — and the accompanying sense that they enforce a kind of ideological conformity, especially on issues of race, gender, and social justice — help explain why DEI has become a major political issue across the United States. While conservative states such as Florida and Texas have led the legislative charge, even some decidedly centrist and progressive groups have voiced their concerns over DEI requirements. A few university leaders seem to be listening.
In July of 2022, the Academic Freedom Alliance, a nonpartisan group of university professors, called for an end to required DEI statements in an open letter co-authored by the former dean of Harvard Medical School. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a free speech group that has challenged Ron DeSantis’s policies in court, has released its own model legislation that would outlaw DEI statements at public universities. Even Jeremy Young of PEN America, a more progressive free speech group, recently noted that the organisation is “concerned about the free expression implications of mandatory diversity statements in university hiring processes”.
In other words, mandatory diversity statements are one of the most controversial DEI policies, and a few universities are now pulling back. Last month, I published documents showing how Texas Tech University assessed job applicants’ diversity statements. The documents show the university punishing job candidates for espousing race neutrality while praising others for using progressive catchphrases. Texas Tech quickly responded by saying it would no longer support the practice. Simultaneously, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a memo saying that the use of diversity statements in hiring was already prohibited by law. Texas A&M and the University of Houston are following explicit political orders.
Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors, which governs the public universities in North Carolina, recently adopted a motion banning “compelled speech.” The policy never uses the term “DEI” — it will require the leadership of individual colleges to follow through with more focused enforcement — but it lays the groundwork for ending DEI statements across North Carolina.
At first glance, the DEI regime might seem to be cracking up. No doubt, the news from Texas and North Carolina certainly marks a major development — and attests to the efficacy of political pressure. But the pressure on universities to embrace DEI is still ultimately far greater. The United State Department of Energy, America’s largest funder of the physical sciences, now requires all grant applicants to submit a plan describing how equity and inclusion will be “an intrinsic element to advancing scientific excellence” in their proposed projects. The National Institutes of Health is giving out nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in grants to universities for faculty hiring — with the explicit condition that the new hires demonstrate “a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusive excellence.”
For most universities, DEI remains a guiding principle. The battle over American higher education has only just begun.
Division Inequality and Exclusion.
I could not (and didnt) have put it better myself. I have now stolen that
A “non-partisan group of university professors”? Really? In a field where liberals outnumber conservatives by 12 to 1 or more how can there even be such a thing?
It’s a three-way coalition between Identity Politics leftists, Bernie Bros and Clinton-ite leftists.
When non-DEI universities begin to surge ahead in popularity and achievement the penny will start to drop on alumni and, eventually, the universities themselves.
It was believable that anything of the sort was going to happen back in 2015, perhaps. Meaning no offence to the fine university systems of Texas and North Carolina, I’d bet a great deal of money they’re never overtaking the ivies.
Wokeness/DIE/whatever you want to call it is here to stay, because whatever a few Republican governors have gotten around to noticing is happening under their noses, it’s emerged as the mechanism by which an ever-expanding number of elite aspirants in the US compete over a stagnant-to-shrinking pie: https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2021/11/crises-of-elite-competition-in-the-east-and-west/
But the Ivies may start to lose some of their appeal. Yale Law in particular has made a laughingstock of itself in recent years. The business of law is inherently conservative and is ultimately about making money. The partners of these firms take note of these things even if they don’t say anything publicly. I read that a recent survey showed people who list their pronouns on applications are less likely to be selected. That is because it is a signal that you are likely not a deep thinker – and are much more
likely to be a troublemaker.
Hopefully the market provides them. It is starting in the US. More men, particularly white men, will want to attend these as well to avoid the institutional hostility they get from DEI.
These “DEI” proponents are all Marxist to the core. It’s all about control!
I suspect it’s much more an ‘identity’ politics manifestation than Marxist. I’ve yet to hear an advocate demonstrate even a basic understanding of Marx or traditional Marxism.
Of course it does have an almost Orwellian underscore but George was pulling from both ends of the totalitarian spectrum.
Anyway point being the silliness and toxicity behind some DEI needs to be hit hard with good language and argument. Not corresponding silly labelling.
Identity politics is the successor ideology to Marxism, replacing the bourgeois vs proletariat of the traditional Marxist oppressor/oppressed binary with the intersectional pyramid of “cis” heterosexual white male vs everyone else. On this basis, Rob Clark could reasonably describe DEI’s proponents as post-Marxist.
I don’t think it’s all about control. It’s all about jobs for people with mushy degrees that leave them unqualified for anything in the real world.
And there was me thinking ‘Institutional’ Race-ism, along with several other isms and obias didn’t really exist ! That’s the great thing about universities, they’re teaching you something new everyday, even if you aren’t a student.
“…now requires all grant applicants to submit a plan describing how equity and inclusion will be “an intrinsic element to advancing scientific excellence” in their proposed projects.”
Imagine for a moment if this line was changed to, “now requires all grant applicants to submit a plan describing how Christian beliefs will be “an intrinsic element to advancing scientific excellence” in their proposed projects.”?
What amazes me is that the “EDI” industry (as UK calls it) – fails to see how DIVISIVE as opposed to DIVERSE this idiotic mantra is.
I am exposed to this Mantra on a daily basis within The NHS and cannot believe the ££ and time spent talking about this whole subject.
Hardly a single person I know challenges the Group Think that we have to get “at least 50% BAME” (a “polite way of saying “non white”) the local demographics are 60% white and 40% “BAME” (vile/non-inclusive term in itself) – and our staff at all levels throughout out trust is around 70% non white. Do I care? NOPE – our staff do an incredible job.
I do NOT want to have to start first and foremost looking at the colour of someones skin before deciding whether to consider them. Further – and MOST IMPORTANTLY “EDI” is much much more than Skin Colour as expressed in The Equality Act 2010 (itself a sledgehammer to crack a salted-peanut)
By now, one would think a boilerplate or template of “proper” DEI statements is widely available to applicants. So everyone knows what they need to say. Whether anyone truly believes such statements probaby doesn’t matter. It’s an easily gamed, silly hiring process. But once hired, you then need to accept that you’ll be forced to sit through lectures from all the newly hired DEI administrators. Though in the end, I don’t think any of it really matters. DEI or no DEI, leftist controlled universities will continue to find ways to hire only members from their own ideological and political tribes. DEI is just making it more convenient for now.
Obfuscation is part of so many toolkits these days, the goal being to baffle you with bullsh1t – then badger you relentlessly until you ultimately kowtow to their demands.
Equal opportunity should have been the goal all along. Having largely been achieved, equal rights for all isn’t even the goal any more: the competition is over which ethnic interest group gets to be fawned over, the modus operandi being to demonize other ethnicities as their oppressor.
Let’s have The University of Whiteness, dedicated to preserving, protecting, promoting, advancing and celebrating white/European civilization. No DEI department whatsoever. Curriculum to remain firmly Colonized. Systems Of Oppression — like mathematics and science — not open to Other Ways Of Knowing. POC welcome of course — on merit — but at the first signs of Victimhood they will be asked to go to another school. No Safe Spaces at UofW, expect to be made uncomfortable.
OMG! I might actually be able to crawl off the scrap heap!
Maybe not. The “movement” is VERY powerful and few speak out against its very Divisiveness. In my experience many “non BAME” (hate that term) nod their approval when some (what I consider to be a) racist and divisive attack/rant kicks off about how terrible it all is.
When I ask for Stats – I am met with total obfuscation and / or silence and on occasion downright hostility because “can you see?” – I think to myself “can you see?”
There is something amusing about watching gender critical feminist professors get cancelled, demonized and publicly abused for saying things that unquestionably true – given that most of them have spent an entire career doing that to others.
So there’s an interest in protecting university professors from the grim results of DEI, etc., but what about the rest of us? As usual it will be all about them as they reap their own bitter harvest. We, however, out here in little people land can starve.
DEI? like NKVD, SS, etc?
AWAITING FAR APPROVAL
I am banned from this story… haha
that is how you know you are hitting near the mark I guess
You probably guess wrong. Many of this parish have been issued with “Awaiting For Approval” notices and the comment eventually printed. There are several reasons why the notice could be issued. Unfortunately, even allowing that English may not be your first/best laguage, having an ego insufferably greater than your intellectual capabilities. is not one of them.
Personal barb not necessary…
Lesley, totally agree.
I have found this site to be largely free of the bile of most other sites.
Lets work to keep that
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