‘Political Litmus Test’ Thrown Out

(TheIndependentStar.com) – In a win for conservatives and common sense, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced that it will no longer require candidates for faculty positions to affirm their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), a requirement called by critics a “political litmus test.”

This decision positions MIT as the pioneering elite university to reject a practice that has been criticized by advocates for free speech.

“Requests for a statement on diversity will no longer be part of applications for any faculty positions at MIT,” a university spokesperson conveyed via an email to The New York Post.

This policy shift was initiated by MIT president Sally Kornbluth, with the backing of the provost, chancellor, and all six academic deans.

“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,” Kornbluth stated.

“We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work,” she added.

Historically, diversity statements have been both a component of the curriculum vitae and a form of allegiance to DEI values, obliging candidates to extensively detail their dedication to “advance excellence in diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging as a teacher and a researcher in higher education,” as per Harvard’s description of its diversity statement requirements.

These requirements are prevalent across major academic institutions in the United States as they compete to publicly affirm their commitment to DEI.

For instance, Princeton markets its diversity statement as “an opportunity for you to highlight the ways you would advance an institution’s DEI work,” and Columbia University provides a detailed four-page guide to assist job candidates in demonstrating their engagement with and understanding of diversity and inclusion.

As a highly esteemed institution, MIT receives applications from some of the foremost minds in the global scientific community. Yet, even candidates for specialized roles were not exempt from the diversity statement mandate.

A 2023 job listing for MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering included a requirement for a diversity statement alongside requests for reference letters and samples of published research.

This requirement, though now standard at many U.S. universities, has been a point of contention among proponents of academic freedom and free speech.

They argue that these statements compel academics to align their expressed views with the ideological leanings of the institution, regardless of their personal beliefs or commitments.

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