Coming to a university near you. . .

August 9, 2022 • 12:00 pm

I knew before looking up this tweet, sent by a reader, that Sailer was a conservative. And sure enough, he works for the National Association of Scholars, which Wikipedia describes as “an American non-profit politically conservative advocacy organization, with a particular interest in education.”  You can stop reading now, if you wish, but Saller simply lays out UC Berkeley’s rubric for what DEI requirements must be met for new hires. What he presents comes directly UC Berkeley’s own website, so these “guidelines” (read “requirements”) are genuine.

I’ve enlarged them below the tweet.

Please click the three boxes below to enlarge for reading.  As Berkeley’s Office for Faculty Equity and Welfare notes, there is a requirement that all scholars, whatever their fields, must as part of their job applications answer three groups of questions about how they feel about  DEI initiatives and how they’d advance them:

Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are responsibilities of all Berkeley faculty through their research, teaching, and/or service. As a public institution we expect all new hires to meet our equity and inclusion standards for excellence. These responsibilities are codified in both the UC Berkeley Principles of Community(link is external), and The University of California Regents Policy 4400(link is external). Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging also supports our campus goals for diversifying the faculty and creating an inclusive campus climate for all individuals. The purpose of this webpage is to provide candidates for faculty positions and faculty search committees information about how to consider and evaluate contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout the faculty search process.

So if you want a job at Berkeley, you’d better read what’s below, and tweak your statements and interviews so you give the search committee what it wants. I urge you to read all three boxes.

Berkeley evaluates all candidates applying for jobs in three areas of DEI: how much they know about it, what has been their track record in the past of advancing it, and what are their plans for advancing it at Berkeley if they’re hired? As the UCB website notes:

The sample rubric, below, is a template for search committees to use for assessing candidate contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). It is a guide, and can be adapted to specific searches as appropriate given departmental or disciplinary expertise.

Each area is scored from 1-5; the minimum score is 3 and the maximum is 15. I’ve heard that there are cutoffs below which faculty applications are simply not evaluated for scholarship, but simply thrown in the bin. I’m not sure whether that’s true, and, if so, whether a numerical cutoff is limited to some searches or all searches. But you better believe that you’ll be evaluated on how high your joint score is.

Here’s what you must know, must have done, and must plan to do about DEI. In this first area, you must be somewhat of a student of DEI to get the maximum points. No nerds who just study math need apply, no matter how good their scholarship!

It’s clear from the above that they’re looking for certain answers, and if you say the wrong thing, you lose points (and a chance at a job).

Below: To get the most points, you must have a deep and long-lasting record in advancing equity.

And of course you must have plans—specific plans, not just vague statements. If you’re in chemistry, for example, you have to show up with a bunch of new ideas about how to advance equity (not equality) and inclusion at in Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry.

Sailer gives similar statements from other good universities in the thread below his tweet, including Emery, Cornell, The University of Virginia, and The University of Michigan. They’ve all followed suit, Little Brothers following Big Brothers.

When I read these things, I feel I’m being thrown into a different world of academia—one in which advancing knowledge is subsidiary to advancing a very specific ideological program: the kind of antiracism espoused by Ibram Kendi and Robin DiAngelo.  The purpose of a University now is not to produce and disseminate truth and wisdom, but to change society in certain directions. This change is to be effected by professors imposing their DEI philosophy on their students.

Of course, as a liberal I don’t object to students finding their way to liberalism and the philosophy of promoting equal opportunity in America. But they must arrive at this philosophy on their own, after exposure to a diversity of ideas. And they must do it on their own; their job at college is to learn, and, as Stanley Fish wrote, Save the World on Your Own Time.  The same holds for faculty. They should not have to engage in activities deemed desirable by the progressive Left. Their job is to create knowledge and impart it (and the methods for evaluating knowledge and arguments) to their students.  Their job is not to disseminate Leftist ideology, and I say this as someone on the Left.

And of all the diversity that is promulgated above, what is notably missing is a diversity of viewpoints. Anybody making statements like “I support freedom of speech and free discussion as a way of furthering the truth” as responses to the rubrics above will lose their chance for a job.

Can you imagine the degree of lying, misrepresentation, and dissimulation these kinds of requirements will foster among applicants for jobs?

My only consolation is that I now these kinds of requirements could never fly at The University of Chicago—at least for the time being.

51 thoughts on “Coming to a university near you. . .

  1. I recently filled out a questionnaire prior to an interview for a community helping program.

    This is the question, and my response.

    5. Explain your thought process behind your efforts to be inclusive when working with others. How do you ensure that everyone in the room feels included and that you are creating a safe space for everyone?

    Easy: I always see everyone in the room as individuals, humans with full potential. That is the safest modality I can project.

    Later, I had a one to one Zoom with one of the staff, and was asked the same thing again. I elaborated a little to the effect: “when I am in the presence of others, I affirm all are 1) in the largest “group,” Homo Sapiens; and 2) in the smallest “group,” an individual. And all have equal standing and humanity. Period.

    The staffer clearly grew uncomfortable, but he didn’t challenge me.

    Note: I think activists have a name for my response, but I can’t think of it. “Negative anti-racism?” “Toxic color blindness?”

    Note2: imagine you are specifically required to make everyone feel included and having to create a safe space? Especially needing to “ensure” it, as in the question above.

    That is a blank check on their fragility. I guess my sarcastic response would be “I should not be a bigot.”

    1. I had a similar experience at work recently. My response was similar to yours (although not as eloquent) about seeing everyone as individuals.

      However, I did add something along the lines of “I do understand that for many people, their racial and ethnic background is a key feature of their individuality. However, to understand how a person’s racial and ethnic background is incorporated into their particular sense of being would require me to learn more about that person as an individual, as I do not consider broad racial and ethnic generalizations useful.”

      That seemed to give me some cover while at the same time allowing me to stand firm in my contention that color-blindness (in the sense of not relying on broad group generalizations).

      1. Good one!

        NOTE: I used the term “color-blind” and so did you, and so does everyone. It is a trap! Woke can say “Ha! You want to be blind, you just don’t want to see us.” followed by a long lecture on systemic racism and commands to become anti-racist.

        The problem is “color-blind”, is a negative position. It elevates “color.” A positive declaration of the same thing marginalizes color. Yep, I said that.

        Positives ….
        “I am character-oriented.”
        “I am unbigoted. I also except correction if mess that up!”
        “All good unless actions prove otherwise.” AGUAPO

        These are mildly good, but not great. That “color-blind” trap is wicked.

        1. wow. I googled.

          “Aguapo” in Spanish is the verb form of “aguapar” meaning “to make beautiful.”

        2. I have always been unhappy with the term “persons of color” as well as “white persons.” All ethnicities and genetic intergrades are colored; those of us with very little melanin are not truly white, but pinkish due to the effect of blood vessels of the dermis. Therefore I am not color-blind, I embrace all colours.

        3. Yes, I think you have identified the issue. The concept of “color-blind” means being able to see past inaccurate and harmful racial generalizations, and dealing with people as individuals. It does not mean ignoring a person’s racial and ethnic identify if that is important to that person, and nor does it mean ignoring historical and ongoing racial injustices.

          It should still be the gold standard of behavior, because it leads to the best outcomes.

          But in the woke era, the term has been misrepresented to refer to a lack of awareness or understanding of racial injustices. The problem is, the converse of being color blind is to start to assume certain things about people based on their racial/ethnic classification, which gets us right back to the evils of inaccurate and harmful assumptions about the behavior and capabilities of people based on their race.

          It also creates no-win situations. As a white male, if I assume X characteristic about a non-white person simply because they are a non-white person, I can genuinely be accused of engaging in racist generalizations. But if I make no such assumptions based on race, I can now also be accused of being “color blind” in the pejorative sense.

          In fact, this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” environment may be intentional on the part of the woke.

  2. These university hiring criteria have been developing for some time. I suspect the acceleration of this process is related to the coming demolition of affirmative action in admissions and hiring by the US supreme court. US universities can see this coming, and can put in place the kinds of DEIB-based job qualifications that will be most easily fulfilled by members of under-represented groups. Affirmative action by any other name would smell as sweet.

    Meanwhile in Canada we have straight-up race-based university hiring, and we have no need for these weak back-door routes to affirmative action.

  3. To hell with new job candidates, they require this same sort of stuff from graduate student applicants.

  4. I’m lucky I already have a faculty position, because there is no chance I could bring myself to write one of these statements beyond, “I strive to treat everyone as an equal regardless of sex, race, creed, etc.” Which would score me a 1.

    I’m not sure how much lying this will actually engender because I really think that anyone who doesn’t already accept this ‘woke’ garbage is so offended by it that they will refuse to play along and they’ll just look for a different line of work. These kinds of statements encourage you to treat people from minority groups as if they were means for your own end. They encourage you to treat minorites like Pokemon: “Gotta collect them all!” Instead of treating everyone as an equal. It’s gross.

    Applicants who are already woke will, of course, have no problem regurgitating the Litany, as required by this Faith Statement.

    It’s really the people who don’t have a good sense of their own political views who will be most affected by this. Being required to recite the Litany is their indoctrination into the religion. “If this is what the good people believe, and I’m one of the good people, I have to believe it too.”

    Maybe I’m wrong and I’m just underestimating how cynical people are and what they are willing to say to get a job despite their own beliefs. But certainly people who are willing to lie like this should be nowhere near academia.

  5. A similar sort of “wokeification” is also transforming medical schools and medical societies, according to an essay posted a few days ago by Heather Mac Donald at CityJournal. The piece is entitled “The Corruption of Medicine” and is very alarming indeed.

  6. As I’ve commented on other threads, it surely can’t be long before someone challenges the UC system in court for violating the “No religious test” clause in Article VI of the US Constitution.

  7. Thankful that I am now retired as I would have told these people where to shove their questions. I doubt that they really know what it is like to be disadvantaged; I certainly do but it has nothing to do with my skin color, but having grown up dirt poor on a farm in Nebraska, walking a mile to a one-room country school for 7 years, graduating from the town school in a class of 5 seniors, but my devouring books and participating in many extra curriculars I was awarded a 4 year tuition and expenses scholarship to Harvard College. I worked off my butt as I was not academically prepared but I love challenges and graduated cum laude with a senior honors thesis, then earned a PhD at University of Michigan. I did all of this the old-fashioned individualistic hard-working way, not with pity.

  8. For the last 22 years I have worked for the disadvantaged community. But I won’t be arsed by a DEI commissioner/cadre who has done squat for the same. F..k you, is my natural reaction, and, on second thought, f..k you twice if you insist.
    Luckily, or maybe because my work is known locally/regionally I’ve never been confronted with a DEI cadre, or more probably -surprisingly- maybe they don’t exist here (RSA) yet. At ay rate: f..k them thrice, no compromise (on third thoughts).
    There are very, really very, few things that get me angry, but a DEI cadre having done squat questioning the ‘good work’ is one of them. F..k them fourfold (on fourth thought).
    My apologies for this rant, but these DEI cadres really bug me. (F..k them fivefold, on fifth thought)

    1. I do appreciate your rant, as F is my go-to word for everything now. And at this point, not even a loud or angry one, just a passing F or FU is sufficient. Easier than having to explain a damn thing to people who don’t want listen (or think) anyway.

      If feeling charitable, one can add the genteel “… and the horse you rode in on.”

    1. Good link, thanks! Haidt ( a very sensible scholar) writes that “the current mandatory anti-racist statement is a giant step in the wrong direction”. He describes anti-racism as “intellectually shallow and morally offensive”.

    2. That was … entertaining! I could never have such frank email exchanges, though. I don’t feel nearly as job-secure.

  9. If this policy becomes a long-term thing it will be interesting to compare the quality of the faculty at universities requiring DEI groveling and those that don’t. I suspect the latter will have the better quality academics, the former the better bullshit artists.

    1. It does seem to be a real market opportunity, especially for smaller state schools in red states, to exploit. “Come to Rural State College for an education without woke-ism,” or some such.

      1. Rural “State?” how could that escape, since Woke has attached like a parasite to anything “that receives taxpayer funding or is part of government.”

        You need “Rural Free College”

    2. What it most definitely does is expand the ranks of administrators whose job is to operate DEI initiatives. My position, unless I learn otherwise, is that efforts should focus on getting young people interested in academia long before college.

      1. YES the DEI initiatives and interference with curriculum has been responsible for such a negative atmosphere at my university, and has led to near bankruptcy. A Dean, a provost and a president have thrown in their towels the past 2 years.

    3. An experiment of this sort was carried out in the field of Genetics in a galaxy far away during the
      1940s and 50s. The contributions of that society to Genetics and associated fields (such as molecular biology, population biology, evolution) during the entire rest of the 20th century answers your question.

  10. I wonder if at some point you won’t get services that do pro-forma writing of these things for people. KInd of like college papers and essays.

    Aren’t these secular version of religious litmus tests?

    1. As a matter fact, many universities now offer advice and guidance on the fabrication of Diversity
      Statements. Google it. I will bet that commercial services to help and even ghost-write these essential academic documents are already in operation. It is clearly a growth industry.

  11. >> Their job is to create knowledge and impart it (and the methods for evaluating knowledge and arguments) to their students. Their job is not to disseminate Leftist ideology, and I say this as someone on the Left. <<

    As someone on the Right, I applaud your intellectual honesty. I find it a characteristic sorely lacking on the Left these days.

    1. As a cynical curmudgeon, i find it sorely lacking on the Left, on the Right, and in much of the Middle.

  12. I would be very uncomfortable trying to satisfy those requirements, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a real diversity and inclusion problem that needs to be addressed on a lot of campuses.

    In my freshman year back in the ’70s at a NY public university, I found my white dorm mates, mostly from Long Island, to be vocally and shamelessly bigoted against the black students, accusing them as a group of being thieves and muggers and intellectually lacking. They said these things out loud. Ironically my white roommate was a drug dealer.

    Where I teach now, at a public university in the South, blacks and minorities are better represented, but there is little interaction between black and white students, who form their separate, segregated social circles. In class, the blacks sit together at one end and the whites at the other. What makes it more difficult is that each group has different cultural habits, particularly in speech, which accentuates distrust in each other.

    So there is a problem. How to solve this, however, doesn’t seem to be to have woke professors lecturing about diversity, although it does help to teach the white students about historical injustices, which they didn’t learn much about, or were taught lies about, in grade school.

    The only thing that breaks through those prejudices is interaction and familiarity. One of the few positive effects of WWII was that whites were required at times to work alongside blacks (who were still in a subservient position of course), which to a limited extent did dispel some racial prejudice, and gave blacks a chance to prove their worth.

    The above rating system, although well intentioned, is more about virtue signaling than trying to solve the problem. There’s nothing wrong with expecting faculty to acknowledge the problem and finding ways to increase interaction in their classes, but it shouldn’t be a primary factor in hiring.

  13. They are Statements of Communion. Pretty run of the mill litmus tests of conscience. They prevent those who do not embrace the doctrine of salvation of the oppressed from holding positions of influence. This is reminiscent of Anglicans who banned (Test Acts 1673 etc) Catholics, Puritans and other non-conformists, from holding government offices, including teaching at Oxford and Cambridge. DS are more insidious than anti-communist statements of the 20th century because they demand deeds, actions and a personal dedication to anti-oppression. One has to live the struggle for righteousness not just promise not to overthrow the government. The rubrics themselves bring to mind Michael Apple’s critical scholar/ activist who is in selfless communion with the oppressed. Actually grading specialized language underscores the frank ecclesiastical nature of these statements.

    Statements to hold office are just part of a doctrinal culture. The purging of apostates alive and dead, the attacks on income and careers, and mob justice were all features of preliberal early modern Europe. Read the Tolerance chapter in Ritchie Robertson’s magisterial The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness 1680-1790.

    In a strange way we are reestablishing the prescientific religious institution where eternal doctrine and moral standing are central and empirical investigation unnecessary, so non-conformists need not apply.

  14. A thing that I would like to know is how would faculty applicants from other countries even know what the hell to do with this screening process? When we have a faculty opening, we regularly interview the most amazing and accomplished scholars from the Middle East, or Asia, and I doubt they have spent a moment of time preparing their DEI creds.

  15. I’m inclined to say I would paraphrase Frankie Boyle, who closed a chilling but very funny monologue with “We will all be forgiven by the heat death of the universe.” I could say something like, “Equity of outcomes is already guaranteed: We are all inherently, ultimately, and equally valueless in the face of the heat death of the universe. I don’t need to act to produce this outcome; the laws of physics guarantee it.”

    1. Elon Musk keeps pointing out that we are 90% through the life of the Sun! [500M left to go out of 5B.] This is why he is impatient.

      Actually, that we all face annihilation without “needing to act” to get it echoes the obverse: we all face life without needing to act to get it.

        1. No idea either. But as the sun even begins to show its age, it will start to slowly heat up and expand. I suspect it doesn’t have to progress in that very far before life on the surface becomes impossible. So Elon might be right here. Maybe.

  16. I’m standing by to see when and if and how these institutions handle a Nobellist they’re interested in bringing onboard who is not inclined to run the DEI gauntlet.

  17. So it’s now “DEIB”. I expect we will soon see in DEI wokeness the sort of performative acronym extension that has already occurred in gender wokeness. 💢💢💢

    1. OK, I will admit it, earlier today when this discussion began I had to look up DEI. Oh my, Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective. Populations that have been-and remain- underrepresented among practitioners in the field and marginalized in the broader society.

  18. Berkeley, and many other academic institutions, are engaged in a simple process of cultural appropriation. What they are appropriating is a version of the Saudi concept of mutawa, also known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Wikipedia tells us:

    “…based on “Wahhabi writings and rulers’ decrees”, the role of commanding good and forbidding wrong developed a prominent place during the second Saudi emirate, and the first “documented instance of a formal committee to enforce the duty dates to 1926”, when the official Saudi newspaper in Mecca published the news of its establishment.[24]. “One ruler orders his emirs to seek out people who gather together to smoke tobacco … scholars and emirs should keep a check on the people of their towns with regard to prayer and religious instruction.” “

  19. It seems that, for all their visionary forebodings, neither Huxley nor Orwell managed to descry the actual dystopia to which the West was to succumb. I hope we wake up and change course before it’s too late. Otherwise, when a future Gibbon writes “The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization”, the main chapters will be dedicated to how woke ideology precipitated its collapse.

  20. I can attest to the DEI statements as a litmus test. I’m currently looking for an assistant faculty position. I will NEVER apply to UC Berkeley due to their draconian measures and shied away from applying to University of Florida due to their DEI crap: “All applicants should discuss their commitment to, accomplishments in, and future plans for enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the educational space, workplace, and in the profession.” My mentor at Harvard showed me her dossier, which includes her DEI statement. I have one, too. It’s awesome, but it isn’t what interests the woke. I’m with Lee Jussim on DEI. I know it is late in the day for Ceiling Cat to read a comment, but if you haven’t seen Jussim’s Substack covering the email exchange between him, Haidt, and Laura King, President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), it’s informative:

  21. I don’t know how scientists will have time to do science when they have to spend so much time saving the world. Talented people need to take their talents elsewhere and not reinforce these ideological litmus tests. Monied donors should do the same. And parents should steer their college-age youngsters to better learning environments. Requiring conformance to a specific ideological perspective is not doing any favors for diversity. It forces job applicants and tenure candidates to be liars if they want to obtain or maintain employment. Parts of our collegiate system are truly sick. I’m so saddened by the state of our educational system, a system I was so proud to be part of back in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    1. OK, this one I blame on the cat. I usually place the keyboard out of reach, as he can invoke keyboard shortcuts that I didn’t even know I had. But I was only putting a dish in the sink and thought it would be safe! Sorry.

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