The Corner


The Loyalty Oath Returns as the ‘Faculty Diversity Statement’

For decades, American higher education has been caught up in a mania over “diversity.” Most colleges and universities now have at least one course on “diversity” but often more, sometimes mandatory for graduation. (Those courses are invariably Trojan Horses that bring in a host of “progressive” notions to be planted in impressionable young heads.) They have offices of “Diversity and Inclusion,” staffed with lots of earnest believers, college graduates who would have trouble getting a job that didn’t depend on the ability to utter clichés. They have campaigns to “diversify” their faculties, meaning tha they will hire to meet group quotas.

Fitting perfectly into all of that is the nasty development I discuss in my Martin Center article today, the faculty “diversity statement.” Those are statements required of current and prospective faculty members at an increasing number of schools. The point is to help schools separate true believers in “diversity” from those who just pretend or, worse, don’t hold with the tenets of “diversity” at all.

My article was inspired by a recent paper published by the Oregon Association of Scholars on this subject. Diversity statements are big in the Oregon higher-education system. I tip my hat to Portland State political-science professor Bruce Gilley, who has gone out on a limb in blowing the whistle on this development.

Can this juggernaut be stopped?

I think that mandating what amounts to a loyalty oath to a political creed is on thin ice as far as the First Amendment goes. The more expeditious route to go, however, would be to use the Higher Education Act and the Department of Education (much as I’d rather get rid of both) to put an end to “diversity statements.” Make colleges and universities that persist in using them face the loss of federal money. That would do the trick.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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