NYT finally covers DEI statements

September 13, 2023 • 9:30 am

It takes the NYT a long time to catch up to current events in Woke World, perhaps because they wait to see how things shake out among liberals before deciding whether a story is worth covering, and how it should be covered. (Their coverage of the events at Evergreen State and Oberlin, for example, was unconscionably late.)

Now they’re covering DEI statements as requirements for college hiring, using as their opening example of Yoel Inbar, which the Chronicle of Higher Ed and I discussed at the end of June. As I wrote then:

I’m not sure why the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote such a long story about this issue, but probably because it instantiates an ongoing controversy in higher education. Actually four controversies, the last of which isn’t mentioned in the article:

1.) Should candidates be required to submit “DEI statements” when they apply for a job at a university?

2.) Should those statements be vetted against a given “correct” ideological position by the university or department?

3.) Should the candidate be denied a job if their DEI statements aren’t ideologically correct?

4.) Is it legal to require these statements (especially at a state university) since they may violate the Constitution by being loyalty oaths and subject to “viewpoint discrimination?”

In the case of psychologist Yoel Inbar, a professor at the Unversity of Toronto who applied for a joint hire with his partner at UCLA’S Department of Psychology, UCLA’s answer to the first three questions was, respectively, yes, yes, and yes.  He didn’t get the job. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), however, thinks the answer to #4 is “no,” and is investigating the issue.

Inbar’s job offer was nixed (it was proposed a spousal hire; they had already given an offer to his wife) after 50 irate grad students objected to Inbar’s previouscriticism of diversity statements.  FIRE began an investigation, but I’m not sure about the outcome, if any.

At any rate, the NYT, way late to the party, uses Inbar’s failure to be hired as the lede for its story on DEI statements, which you can read by clicking below:


First, the paper tells us what we already know:

Diversity statements are a new flashpoint on campus, just as the Supreme Court has driven a stake through race-conscious admissions. Nearly half the large universities in America require that job applicants write such statements, part of the rapid growth in D.E.I. programs. Many University of California departments now require that faculty members seeking promotions and tenure also write such statements.

Diversity statements tend to run about a page or so long and ask candidates to describe how they would contribute to campus diversity, often seeking examples of how the faculty member has fostered an inclusive or antiracist learning environment.

To supporters, such statements are both skill assessment and business strategy. Given the ban on race-conscious admissions, and the need to attract applicants from a shrinking pool of potential students, many colleges are looking to create a more welcoming environment.

What they don’t add, but should have, is that some University of California hires assess the DEI statements before looking at academic credentials, and if your statement doesn’t accrue the right number of diversity points, it’s tossed (the article does allude to the U of C rubrics, which require ideological conformity and are thus horrifying examples of compelled speech). Here’s what you MUST NOT SAY:

Many University of California campuses post their scoring methods online. These are widely used but not mandatory, and make clear which answers by an applicant are likely to find disfavor with faculty diversity committees.

An applicant who discusses diversity in vague terms, such as “diversity is important for science,” or saying that an applicant wants to “treat everyone the same” will get a low score.

Likewise, an applicant should not oppose affinity groups divided by race, ethnicity and gender, as that would demonstrate that the candidate “seems not to be aware of, or understand the personal challenges that underrepresented individuals face in academia.”

Note that “opposing affinity groups divided by race, ethnicity, and gender” is in fact opposing segregation! We’ve come full circle: segregation used to be what we fought against, now it’s what liberals want. 

Some readers have taken issue with my claim that DEI statements were never used in the first cut, but it’s true (emphasis below is mine):

At Berkeley, a faculty committee rejected 75 percent of applicants in life sciences and environmental sciences and management purely on diversity statements, according to a new academic paper by Steven Brint, a professor of public policy at U.C. Riverside, and Komi Frey, a researcher for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, which has opposed diversity statements.

Candidates who made the first cut were repeatedly asked about diversity in later rounds. “At every stage,” the study noted, “candidates were evaluated on their commitments to D.E.I.”

Things have since loosened up a bit, especially at Berkeley, but make no mistake about it: the DEI statement, as it was for Inbar at UCLA, can make or break your application.

Now the purpose of this screening (but not its execution) is well motivated: to give deprived minorities equal opportunity to be hired. But the problem is that “equity”— proportional representation—does not reflect equal opportunity if different groups have different interests or talents, or especially when different groups aren’t given equal opportunities from birth. And so the solution is to downgrade academic merit in favor of “Social Justice”:

A decade ago, California university officials faced a conundrum.

A majority of its students were nonwhite, and officials wanted to recruit more Black and Latino professors. But California’s voters had banned affirmative action in 1996. So in 2016, at least five campuses — Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Riverside and Santa Cruz — decided their hiring committees could perform an initial screening of candidates based only on diversity statements.

Candidates who did not “look outstanding” on diversity, the vice provost at U.C. Davis instructed search committees, could not advance, no matter the quality of their academic research. Credentials and experience would be examined in a later round.

I oppose mandatory DEI statements not because I oppose diversity (and that includes ethnic, gender, ideological, and socioeconomic diversity), but because their use constitutes compelled speech, a violation of the First Amendment as well as of the purpose of academia, which is to teach, create knowledge, and learn. There is no justification for making academics hew to certain political or ideological points of view to be hired; this is fact is counterproductive to the vigorous argument and discussion that is the heart of academia. And it takes no imagination to see that as “approved” political points of view change, so will the statements that academics are forced to swear to.

Of course the diversicrats, now occupying an increasing number of university positions and taking up more and more dollars in university budgets, can confect an excuse why DEI statements are necessary:

Professor Soucek, at Davis law school, said ideological diversity is not the point.

“It’s our job to make sure people of all identities flourish here,” he said. “It’s not our job to make sure that all viewpoints flourish.”

He’s partly right and partly wrong. First, conforming to DEI rhetoric does indeed quash ideological diversity, which is critical for colleges. But to equate conformity to DEI statements with the flourishing of “people of all identities” (a good) is an assertion without supporting data. If a candidate has a history of bigotry or complaints about mistreating people of different genders, ethnicities, or views, then yes, of course, that speaks to their effectiveness as teachers and mentors. But absent such a history, must we still pledge fealty to certain approved ideologies? There is, after all, tenure, of which teaching plays a role.


To argue that diversity statements politicize academia and impose a point of view is also a mistake, according to the faculty diversity work group at Santa Cruz. “Social justice activism in academia seeks to identify how systemic racism and implicit bias influence the topics we pursue, the research methods we use, the outlets in which we publish and the outcomes we observe.”

First of all, “implicit bias” is an unsubstantiated myth, though it continues to be propagated as if it were real and we’re all imbued with it. More important, while academia must not discriminate against people’s immutable traits or origins, its purpose is not to promulgate “social justice activism.” As Stanley Fish wrote in an eponymous book directed to academics, save the world on your own time.

While I’m a liberal and adhere to liberal principles, I also don’t think people should be forced to adhere to my principles. They can be persuaded to join me, but I’m not dumb enough to think that everyone will. The notion that authoritiarianism of the “progressive” left, as manifested in DEI statements, will effect a permanent cure of racism in academia (not nearly as pervasive as diversicrats assert) is an abiding falsehood of our age.

32 thoughts on “NYT finally covers DEI statements

  1. Now the purpose of this screening (but not its execution) is well motivated: to give deprived minorities equal opportunity to be hired.

    I suggest that it’s not, I suggest that the motivation is to hire candidates “of color”, period. It’s Kendian: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination”.

    Edit to add: If they could get away with simply saying “no white males” then they would. But that would be illegal, so they are trying to achieve the same thing by less direct means.

    1. Check for a video out there (seen on X) of Kendi describing his antiracism along side Liberation Theology.

      I can’t recall exact quotes. Has to be heard.

    2. Proof of the prediction in your edit is that in Canada, they can get away with saying “no white males”….and so they do! For optics, they have to quote something Kendian in the job posting–and “reconciliation” is always a good dodge, too–but the Constitution patched together late at night in a hotel room in the 1980s does explicitly allow reverse group-ism. (We’re squeamish about race, so we talk about “historically disadvantaged groups”.)

  2. On the topic of “social justice”, the new book by the distinguished nonagenarian Thomas Sowell (Social Justice Fallacies) will be published next week and is certain to be worth reading.

  3. The myth of “implicit bias” is the justification for legions of DEI training companies to make money by providing implicit bias training courses. These courses are universal and typically mandatory. Every company wants to check the “We believe in diversity” box, so each shells out lots of cash to engage these consultants. What a scam!

  4. I’d like to give a well thought out and emotionless response, but this is becoming one of my pet peeves as time goes on so I get emotional. I have a great deal of respect for teachers (one of my top three most respected professions), and it’s no wonder that there is a teacher shortage. Individuals spend exorbitant amounts of money for college and go into debt to become teachers only to be scrutinized, censured, and sued by parents if they don’t like what or how their child is being taught. Now these future teachers have to be screened to make sure they conform to current day political correctness. (insert flowery expletives here)

  5. “The notion that authoritiarianism of the “progressive” left, as manifested in DEI statements, will effect a permanent cure of racism…” An experiment of this sort was carried out in a galaxy far away, in order to effect a permanent cure of individual greed: a commitment to Social Justice, as defined by the ruling Vanguard Party in its many Committees, was required in every sphere of life and drummed incessantly into every medium of communication. The experiment was continued for three generations, thus in theory permanently re-shaping the culture of social behavior in that population.

    The outcome was the current ruling class of Russia. No wonder that our Anglosphere
    “Progressives” prefer post-modernist theorizing to the old method of experimental test.

  6. “I oppose mandatory DEI statements not because I oppose diversity (and that includes ethnic, gender, ideological, and socioeconomic diversity), but because their use constitutes compelled speech, a violation of the First Amendment as well as of the purpose of academia, which is to teach, create knowledge, and learn.”

    This is a good opportunity to practice applying the dialectic that Marxists – perhaps those inspired by Herbert Marcuse or other post-whateverists will apply:

    [ begin Marxist dialectic ]

    Ah, but the “free speech” and teaching, knowledge-production, and learning cited simply serve to support the power of the hegemony in the first place – trapping the marginalized in the prison of contradictions that those principles create in the first place, that are never resolved, that lead the oppressed that actually produce the knowledge never to reap the privilege of the power it produces.

    Clearly, we have actually thought about these issues in detail, such that they will liberate all – instead of merely serving as cover to claim power.

    Our plan will take work, it will require some pains, and many iterations – the revolution is perpetual, until the end of History – but liberation of humanity in society is worth nothing less.

    [ end Marxist dialectic ]

    I apologize but – depressing as it is, I get a kick out of doing that.

  7. If you want to know what DEI means in theory and in practice, then I recommend this pro-DEI book by Shirley Davis, which shows that “DEI” stands for a comprehensive program for social engineering devised by the Woke Left:

    * Davis, Shirley. /Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Dummies./ Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2022.

    Davis introduces herself on her website as follows:

    “Dr. Shirley Davis brings a unique background as a seasoned HR and Diversity & Inclusion global thought leader, a senior executive, a certified leadership coach, and a former Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for several major Fortune 100 companies.”

    1. How about this re-written title:

      “How to Get Control of Everything by Calling Everything Terrible Names for the Aggrieved”

    2. On the Amazon.uk website Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Dummies has only ten customer reviews – all of them 5 star and none of them from UK purchasers (9 from the US and 1 from Canada).

      1. FWIW there’s eight copies in a library system I can access.

        And one of them will be in my hands soon. Should be delightfully depressing.

  8. I wonder how many people in the DEI industry had to sign DEI statements before they could be hired? And how diverse are all those administrators and DEI kingpins?

    1. Just from seeing the faces of the ones who get themselves in the news, I think they are pretty diverse according to the American understanding of diversity, just as the NBA is highly diverse and, say, Queens NY, is not. Neither is the Toronto concert audience, for that matter, according to public statements made by the American chap the Toronto Symphony hired as CEO last year. This came as a surprise to everyone who lives there, where municipal information is available in > 180 languages* and to anyone who actually attends symphony concerts. Granted some of these languages are spoken by white people so they don’t count, and some of the audience the CEO hopes to attract have spent their event money attending Raptors games down the street, but still….


  9. The “affinity groups” do have a certain affinity . . .

    Anyone who had familiarity with men and women of certain generations, particularly those from the US Deep South, has certainly encountered the mindset expressed in statements like “. . . they need to stay with their own kind.”

  10. For example, here’s how the American Psychological Association defines the three DEI terms:

    “DIVERSE: involving the representation or composition of various social identity groups in a work group, organization, or community. The focus is on social identities that correspond to societal differences in power and privilege, and thus to the marginalization of some groups based on specific attributes—e.g., race, ethnicity, culture, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, spirituality, disability, age, national origin, immigration status, and language. (Other identities may also be considered where there is evidence of disparities in power and privilege.) There is a recognition that people have multiple identities and that social identities are intersectional and have different salience and impact in different contexts.

    EQUITY: providing resources according to the need to help diverse populations achieve their highest state of health and other functioning. Equity is an ongoing process of assessing needs, correcting historical inequities, and creating conditions for optimal outcomes by members of all social identity groups.

    INCLUSION: an environment that offers affirmation, celebration, and appreciation of different approaches, styles, perspectives, and experiences, thus allowing all individuals to bring in their whole selves (and all of their identities) and to demonstrate their strengths and capacity.”

    Source: https://www.apa.org/about/apa/equity-diversity-inclusion/framework

  11. This thing about DEI statements has a whiff of the Chinese Communist re-education camps. Hopefully not to develop further along those lines.

  12. “save the world on your own time”
    If the purpose of academia is not social justice, maybe a separate institution, an activist church of social justice, should be funded? The people in academia who see activism as their main purpose could join it.
    We need a lot more activism actually, although the environmental causes such as promoting a less energy-intensive lifestyle (ebikes over cars, plant foods over animal, heat pumps, etc.) are more crucial.

    1. But you see, Laura, the social justice warriors know that they cannot compel the populace to use ebikes instead of cars, eat plant foods instead of meat, and install heat pumps that cost three times as much to run in cold climates as natural gas*. The populace will say No, and vote out the governments that try to make them comply. But the SJWs can compel the use of the correct language and DEI obeisance among pusillanimous university colleagues. So that’s where they devote their meanest, take-no-prisoners efforts.

      They will leave it to other starry-eyed activists with loftier goals but less focused lust for naked power to cement their hands to German airport runways.

      * And as electricity becomes ever more expensive as unreliable supply falls behind expanding demand as we “electrify everything”, the cost differential will increase.

      1. We do, desperately, need to make changes to prevent too much greenhouse gases. Doing such things is a function of government – to get a people as a whole to do things they don’t do enough of, on an individual level.
        The activist idea located itself in academia because academia is funded, in the name of promoting knowledge.
        Social justice is a good thing. The people in academia who see themselves in an activist role would probably not in reality be the good activists for it, though. So the activist church would consist of other people. But it should have that public funding to power it, if we are actually to make needed changes.
        The environmental issues really look far more pressing, though.

        1. “Doing such things is a function of government – to get a people as a whole to do things they don’t do enough of, on an individual level.”

          Go on…

      2. The UN will exert power through the Diversity Equity Inclusion language to reach the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

        Look at goal 8 :

        “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”


        … notice that all those words can have different meanings. “All” “decent”, “inclusive” – to be determined by the council of wizards – or “stakeholders”, as their language puts it.

        It’s all there to read. It’s their own conspiracy, not anyone else’s.

  13. “Social justice” is what Walter Gallie calls an essentially contested concept. Different people mean different things by it.

    “[T]here are concepts which are essentially contested, concepts the proper use of which inevitably involves endless disputes about their proper uses on the part of their users.”

    (Gallie, W. B. “Essentially Contested Concepts.” /Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series/ 56 (1955-56): 167–198. p. 169)

    For instance, Friedrich Hayek writes:

    “To discover the meaning of what is called ‘social justice’ has been one of my chief preoccupations for more than 10 years. I have failed in this endeavour – or, rather, have reached the conclusion that, with reference to a society of free men, the phrase has no meaning whatever.”

    (Hayek, F. A. /New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas./ 1978. Reprint, London: Routledge, 1990. p. 57)

    However, what he considers meaningless is the concept of social justice qua distributive justice, whereas others such as Iris Young think that…

    “…instead of focusing on distribution, a conception of justice should begin with the concepts of domination and oppression.”

    (Young, Iris Marion. /Justice and the Politics of Difference./ Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990. p. 3)

  14. …this is fact is counterproductive to the vigorous argument and discussion that is the heart of academia.

    Argument and discussion that is not only no longer valued, but actively discouraged, I’m afraid. There’s probably more debate at Oral Roberts University than a state school nowadays, and that is awfully sad.

  15. A few notes:

    The Minnowbrook conference on Public Administration, 1968

    The Administrative State: a Study of the Political Theory of American Public Administration
    Dwight Waldo
    New York: Ronald Press Co, 1948;
    rev ed New York: Holmes & Meier, 1984

    I’m looking for this literature at the moment – the definition of equity – in social equity theory :

    An administered economy that adjusts shares (redistribution) such that citizens are made equal

    That’s the goal of DEI, socialism – but of course, communism is at the end of that.

    Thus, “D” and “I” are the ways to achieve that Utopia oops I mean goal of “E”.

    A few links – I hope these make it:




    And I should say I’m going from a James Lindsay talk on YouTube.

  16. Here’s a definition of “social justice”:

    “My own definition of social justice is a wide-ranging one: a framework of political objectives, pursued through social, economic, environmental and political policies, based on acceptance of difference and diversity, informed by values concerned with:

    * achieving fairness, equality of outcomes and treatment;
    * recognising the dignity and equal worth of, and encouraging the self-esteem of, all;
    * the meeting of basic needs, defined through cross-cultural consensus;
    * reducing substantial inequalities in wealth, income and life chances; and
    * the participation of all, including the most disadvantaged.

    This goes beyond many definitions because it incorporates both a recognition of the need to have consensus across cultures (and thus religious backgrounds) and that this consensus has to be achieved through widespread and inclusive participation.”

    (Craig, Gary. Introduction to /Handbook on Global Social Justice/, edited by Gary Craig, 1-16. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018. pp. 6-7)

    1. “… consensus has to be achieved through widespread and inclusive participation.”

      Iron Law of Woke Projection :

      Justice as determined by the few select wizards who truly understand the mystery of society – to be distributed by the wizards to that society in shares to all individuals except the wizards.

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