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MIT Breaks With DEI Insanity In Faculty Hiring, But Is It Too Late?

MIT is getting rid of DEI statements in its faculty hiring process, but it is likely too late to reverse the damage already done.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced this month that it has ended using diversity statements for faculty hiring. While several public universities in red states have already done the same, MIT was the first elite private college in a blue state to make such a move. However, it may be too little too late to salvage elite universities’ reputation as one of the most illiberal places in America. 

In recent years, American colleges and universities have fully embraced the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) ideology. They have spent enormous resources to build up DEI bureaucracy on campuses, often at the expense of academic excellence, and embedded DEI in many aspects of the college administration, including hiring. One of the most controversial DEI initiatives requires a DEI statement from anyone applying for a faculty position. The DEI statement typically includes three elements: affirming their belief in DEI, demonstrating their past commitment to DEI through examples, and pledging to do more for DEI in the future. If this sounds bad, it is because it reminds many people of the compelled loyalty pledge in totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union or Communist China. 

DEIs statements have become litmus tests for employment in higher education. All of the University of California’s campuses even developed their own scoring systems, called “rubrics,” to evaluate candidates’ DEI statements. According to Abigail Thompson, chair of the mathematics department at the University of California–Davis, “to score well [on a diversity statement], candidates must subscribe to a particular political ideology, one based on treating people not as unique individuals but as representatives of their gender and ethnic identities … Rather than helping achieve inclusion, these DEI rubrics act as a filter for those with nonconforming views.”

Initially, university hiring committees would review job applicants’ academic records alongside their DEI statements. However, in 2018, UC Berkeley launched an “Initiative to Advance Faculty Diversity” across eight of the school’s life science departments. It started to prescreen candidates solely based on their diversity scores derived from their diversity statement. According to a National Association of Scholars (NAS) report, the UC Berkeley approach reduced the pool of applicants from 893 to 214, and “finalists also were asked to describe their DEI efforts [again] during their job talks.”

Similarly, the NAS report found that the hiring committee at the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University used the DEI statements as a prescreening tool and “reduced the initial applicant pool by around 85 percent, from 400 to around 60.”

MIT also incorporated the DEI statement into its hiring practices. In 2023, when MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering sought to hire an assistant professor “in fields from fundamental nuclear science to practical applications of nuclear technology in energy, security, and quantum engineering,” it required applicants to submit “a statement regarding their views on diversity, inclusion, and belonging, including past and current contributions as well as their vision and plans for the future in these areas.”

But earlier this month, MIT became the first private elite college in a blue state to end the DEI statement mandate in hiring. MIT’s embattled president, Sally Kornbluth, probably made the move out of self-preservation. Last December, House Republicans grilled Kornbluth, along with Harvard president Claudine Gay and Penn president Liz Magill, over the pro-Palestinian protests and the rising antisemitism on campuses. The three presidents’ poor performances drew widespread criticism, especially from mega-donors

Both Gay and Magill resigned from their positions. Kornbluth probably ended the DEI statement mandate in hiring to protect her job. 

Kornbluth’s employment may be safe for now, but it is likely too late to reverse the damage DEI has done to places like MIT. Americans who hadn’t paid close attention to universities’ march to the far left have been shocked to see privileged and ignorant American youth shout slogans that call for the elimination of Israel, set up encampments on campuserect barriers to prevent Jewish students from entering, cause property damage, and openly incite violence

The American public is equally dismayed that the adults supposed to be in charge of these elite universities abandoned their responsibility to protect students and academic freedom. All these adults have done is appease the lunatics and let them run the asylum. Classes were moved online, and commencement ceremonies were canceled to try and stymie the chaos.

Campus protesters and administrators’ cowardly responses showed the public that higher education is little more than an overpriced daycare. About 41 percent of college graduates ages 22 to 27 are underemployed and unable to build a thriving life because the schools they attended didn’t teach them marketable skills or how to think for themselves.

Most Americans are losing faith in higher education. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that 56 percent of Americans don’t think a four-year degree is worth the money. The ongoing unrest and lawlessness on college campuses will only convince more American parents to find other education alternatives for their children rather than paying $70,000 or more a year for a college degree. 

A reckoning for higher education is coming, and the left has only themselves to blame.


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