university of massachusetts boston
The University of Massachusetts at Boston
Want a job at the University of Massachusetts Boston? Well, until recently, you'd have to pledge your commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion first.

The worrying requirement came to light in a job ad, requiring would-be assistant professors in computer science to write a "diversity statement that reflects [their] commitment to diversity equity and inclusion" as part of their job application.

And applicants for a lecturer position in the department of health science were required to demonstrate a commitment "to support[ing] our goal of ensuring an inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace and educational environment."

That's a political litmus test if I've ever seen one.

Thankfully, the school has quietly dropped the requirement, after being called out by First Amendment watchdog group the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

Required DEI statements, according to FIRE, "encroach on faculty's First Amendment right not to adopt prescribed views."

"Their subjective criteria could easily also be abused to penalize applicants with minority, dissenting, or even simply nuanced views on DEI-related issues that may not dovetail perfectly with the university's goals," FIRE program officer Haley Gluhanich wrote in a letter to the university.

dei requirement university position boston Free Speech
© FIRE/UMass Boston
FIRE's right. Requiring professors to profess allegiance to vague and highly-politicized concepts of "equity" and "inclusion" is undoubtedly an infringement upon their academic freedom.

Besides, what exactly does DEI have to do with computer science?

In my book The Canceling of the American Mind, my co-author Greg Lukianoff and I argue that it's about time all colleges drop required DEI statements.

"To any sensible person, a statement requiring you to explain your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is a political litmus test," Lukianoff, who serves as president and CEO of FIRE, told The Post. "There is literally no way that's not being abused as a way to evaluate someone's politics."

Although promoting "diversity" sounds like a laudable goal on face value, the DEI bureaucracy that's taken over college campuses and corporations alike is divisive.
dei training coca cola robin deangelo
A controversial diversity training provided by "White Fragility' grifter Robin DeAngelo, to Coca Cola employees urged workers to be โ€œless white.โ€
Champions of DEI can be hugely alienating, like White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo who advised people of color to "get away from white people" and diversity consultants who instructed Coca Cola employees on how to "be less white."

I've seen this firsthand. When I was 14, my classmates and I were divided into "affinity groups" based on race and segregated into separate buildings to discuss our experiences โ€” all in the name of "equity."

Even as a young teen, I already felt alienated by DEI. No doubt professors seeking employment may feel the same โ€” but they may also feel pressured to betray their conscience for the sake of securing a paycheck.

No college or university that purports to protect the free speech and free conscience of their faculty should require a commitment to any concept or philosophy โ€” let alone one that's so controversial.
Greg Lukianoff FIRE free speech dei
© Courtesy of greg lukianoffCo-author Greg Lukianoff is the president and CEO of the free speech watchdog group the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).
UMass Boston dropping the requirement is a victory for academic freedom, but that's only a start.

A 2022 survey of large colleges by the American Association of University Professors found that 46% use DEI criteria in the tenure-granting process.

Another survey conducted by FIRE also showed that half of professors agree that DEI statements are political litmus tests that violate academic freedom.

And they're correct that viewpoint discrimination really is happening in the hiring process.

A survey conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, found that 76% of applicants for a professorship in life sciences were eliminated from the pool solely on the basis of their diversity statements.

The Canceling of the American Mind argues that DEI statements on job applications can be abused as political litmus tests.

It's worth asking again: how in the world does a professor's views on DEI impact their ability to teach students about the sciences โ€” life, health, computer or otherwise?

If only certain views on DEI are allowed, campuses โ€” where merely one in ten professors consider themselves conservative, according to recent numbers from the Higher Education Research Institute โ€” will undoubtedly become even more insulated echo chambers than they already are.

"At a time when viewpoint diversity is at a historic low among professors, to now suddenly apply a political litmus test is just nuts," Lukianoff said. "If anything, universities should be looking for heterodox opinions, but they're doubling down on conformity-inducing measures."

Public colleges aren't even allowed to require professors to pledge allegiance to the United States for the sake of their freedom of conscience โ€” and rightfully so.

Why in the world, then, should they be able to demand a pledge to the creed of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Rikki Schlott is a New York Post columnist, News Features reporter, and author of The Canceling of the American Mind. Schlott completed a research fellowship with the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and co-hosts the Lost Debate podcast. She covers higher education, women's issues, freedom of speech, and popular culture.