Texas Tech removes DEI statement requirements for faculty
The university announced the removal on Tuesday. By Wednesday evening the statement was removed from the website.
AEI did a quantitative study of required DEI statements in November 2021, which found that 34% of faculty job postings at elite institutions required DEI statements.
Texas Tech University has officially removed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements from faculty hiring requirements.
The Department of Biological Science at Texas Tech issued a motion in January to “require and strongly weight a diversity statement from all candidates” for faculty positions, as reported by the National Association of Scholars (NAS).
For example, treating all students equally in the classroom or not clearly articulating the differences “between D, E, and I” were reasons to deny a faculty application regardless of other potential merits, according to documents obtained by the NAS.
The university issued an official response to this development on Tuesday stating that they “immediately withdrew this practice and initiated a review of the hiring procedures.” On Wednesday evening, the statement was removed from the website.
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“Texas Tech University's faculty hiring practices will always emphasize disciplinary excellence and the ability of candidates to support our priorities in student success, impactful scholarship, and community engagement,” according to the official statement.
Required DEI statements for faculty have become an increasing concern for conservative groups in recent years.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) did a quantitative study of required DEI statements in November 2021, which found that 34% of faculty job postings at elite institutions required DEI statements, while 78% of postings mentioned diversity in their advertisement.
Of the positions AEI sampled, political science is the discipline most likely to require diversity statements.
An overwhelming majority of 77% of journalism faculty postings mention diversity, followed by both political science and mathematics at 70%.
A recent article from The Economist also highlights the growing trend of DEI statements as both hiring criteria and requirements for government-funded research grants.
The University of California Berkeley, for example, is one of the most transparent institutions with respect to DEI statement requirements. In 2018, Berkeley administrators eliminated 76% of applicants applying to teach biology for failing to meet DEI criteria, according to The Economist.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) contends that “[v]ague or ideologically motivated DEI statement policies can too easily function as litmus tests for adherence to prevailing ideological views on DEI, [penalizing current and prospective] faculty for holding dissenting opinions on matters of public concern.”
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Stories from inside the academy also corroborate these fears.
As geology professor at the University of Alabama, Matthew Wielicki, told Campus Reform in a recent interview, “[Y]ou’re essentially required to toe the line and state your ideological values as they want them stated” to advance in an academic career.
President of the NAS, Peter W. Wood, responded to Texas Tech’s decision to remove DEI statements in a Wednesday press release saying that while the university’s prompt action is positive, the problem “goes deeper than ‘diversity statements.’”
“American higher education,” according to Wood, “has become obsessed with the ideology of racial ‘equity,’ to the point where ordinary fairness as well as standards of intellectual excellence, have been undermined.”
The official Texas Tech statement was removed from public view shortly before Campus Reform contacted the university media relations department for comment, to which they have not yet responded.
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.
Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.