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MIT Drops Faculty Diversity Statement Requirement

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has become the first elite university to ban diversity statements for faculty hiring.

In practice, this means prospective faculty will no longer be required to submit a document detailing how they intend to contribute to the university’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work,” MIT President Sally Kornbluth says in a statement.

A COMMON REQUIREMENT

Since the late 2010s, diversity statements have been common practice at many leading institutions, including MIT, Brandeis University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

At MIT, prospective faculty were offered instructions that outline an overview of the statements, which it said should meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Outlines your track record of working with diverse groups of people and advancing DEI.
  • Concretely discusses what you will do as a faculty member to actively encourage DEI and belonging within your group, department, and community.
  • Follows the instructions provided with the job posting (if applicable).

Prior to MIT, bans on diversity statements were exclusive to only conservative states such as Florida, Texas, and Utah. Critics of faculty diversity statements argue that the statements are ideological viewpoint tests for incoming professors.

“My goals are to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here,” MIT President Kornbluth says.

Sources: UnHerd, wbur

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