Harvard Law Prof Calls for an End to Mandatory DEI Statements

2024-04-03 05:00:23

Professor Randall L. Kennedy is a self described person of the left, but he seems to get the problem here.

He writes at the Harvard Crimson:

Mandatory DEI Statements Are Ideological Pledges of Allegiance. Time to Abandon Them.

On a posting for a position as an assistant professor in international and comparative education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, applicants are required to submit a CV, a cover letter, a research statement, three letters of reference, three or more writing samples, and a statement of teaching philosophy that includes a description of their “orientation toward diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.”

At Harvard and elsewhere, hiring for academic jobs increasingly requires these so-called diversity statements, which Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning describes as being “about your commitment to furthering EDIB within the context of institutions of higher education.”

By requiring academics to profess — and flaunt — faith in DEI, the proliferation of diversity statements poses a profound challenge to academic freedom.

A closer look at the Bok Center’s page on diversity statements illustrates how.

For the purpose of showcasing attentiveness to DEI, the Center suggests answering questions such as: “How does your research engage with and advance the well-being of socially marginalized communities?”; “Do you know how the following operate in the academy: implicit bias, different forms of privilege, (settler-)colonialism, systemic and interpersonal racism, homophobia, heteropatriarchy, and ableism?”; “How do you account for the power dynamics in the classroom, including your own positionality and authority?”; “How do you design course assessments with EDIB in mind?”; and “How have you engaged in or led EDIB campus initiatives or programming?”

The Bok Center’s how-to page mirrors the expectation that DEI statements will essentially constitute pledges of allegiance that enlist academics into the DEI movement by dint of soft-spoken but real coercion: If you want the job or the promotion, play ball — or else.


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Harvard Law Prof Calls for an End to Mandatory DEI Statements


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