The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI) released a report Tuesday detailing a potentially alarming aspect of some public state university’s hiring processes, requiring faculty to pledge support for progressive ideologies.
“Universities should be safe havens for free expression, but in Arizona and across the country, progressives are using diversity statement requirements as a political litmus test to enforce intellectual and political conformity in support of leftist dogmas like Critical Race Theory [CRT] and CRT-based terminology such as ‘intersectional personal identities,'” according to an email from the GI.
New Goldwater policy report:
Arizona public universities FORCE job applicants to provide MANDATORY "diversity statements." It's a full-frontal attack on free expression and equal opportunity for ALL…
— Goldwater Institute (@GoldwaterInst) January 17, 2023
To conduct its research, the GI surveyed job listings across all disciplines from the University of Arizona (UA), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and Arizona State University (ASU). The report stated that as of fall 2022, 28 percent of UA’s job postings mandated a diversity statement, while the numbers are much higher for NAU, 73 percent, and 81 percent at ASU.
For example, the report showed snippets of some applications from universities. One form from NAU listed a “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice” (DEIJ) statement, among other mandates such as a teaching portfolio and professional references. On NAU’s website, the institution states it is critical for DEIJ “to be woven throughout the instructional structure” and seeks to hire those who engage with DEIJ in their “professional endeavors.”
Furthermore, the GI stated that DEIJ statements became more prevalent in Arizona during 2020 and were possibly in response to the killing of George Floyd and the unrest that followed.
Public universities nationwide have had an imbalance issue regarding political views for years. In 2017, the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that only 12 percent of surveyed professors identified as conservative, while 60 percent responded as liberal. The GI stated that DEIJ requirements in applications are keeping this disparity as it is, if not worsening it.
“In general terms, the problem is that a large number of colleges and universities nationwide are actively screening out prospective candidates who are insufficiently aligned with left-leaning causes,” according to the GI.
Furthermore, the GI warned that enforcing these statements can “destroy meaningful truth-seeking” within that institution. Academics and scholars who do not fit into a university’s DEIJ mold may either have to contort their research to fit the mold or abandon it altogether. This issue may also extend to students who will be learning under faculty who have been selected through a DEIJ filter.
Not only this, but the report also states that there may be constitutional violations at hand. Under Arizona Constitution Article 11 Section 7, it states that “no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any public educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil[.]”
The GI says that with this information now available to the public, Arizonans should contact local officials and demand change.
“Arizona families and state taxpayers should make clear to those with the power to bring reform—including members of the Arizona Board of Regents and state lawmakers—that such policies undermine the academic integrity of our university system and must be discontinued,” a GI spokesperson told The Arizona Sun Times via email. “The Institute will be reviewing all options to ensure Arizona’s educational institutions are in compliance with the intent of state and federal law.”
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