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Red state bans use of diversity statements in university hiring


Daily Caller News Foundation

The Idaho State Board of Education announced Tuesday that it would not permit four-year public universities to consider applicants’ diversity statements during the hiring process.

The board unanimously voted to bar universities from “requesting or requiring” a written statement that outlines an applicant’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), according to an announcement. The ban will take effect immediately and was voted on because the statements permit officials to consider factors outside of merit.

“Hiring decisions should be made based on merit and the qualifications of the candidates who apply for positions at our institutions,” State Board President Kurt Liebich said in the announcement. “Requiring written statements can complicate matters and take the focus off qualifications of individual candidates. We want to hire highly qualified people invested in the success of every student at our institutions.”

The state board oversees four public, four-year institutions including Idaho State University, Boise State University, Lewis-Clark State College and the University of Idaho.

“The movement to end diversity statements doesn’t surprise me at all,” John Sailer, National Association of Scholars Senior Fellow and Director of University Policy, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As a policy, mandatory diversity statements are almost indefensible, and they rightly draw comparisons to the McCarthy-era loyalty oaths. It’s an obvious problem with an easy solution.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a free speech watchdog group, released survey results in February that revealed half of university professors disapprove of mandatory diversity statements and argue they violate academic freedom. Critics refer to the statements as an “ideological litmus test.”

The Idaho State Board of Education, Idaho State University, Boise State University, Lewis-Clark State College and University of Idaho did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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