“Some reports were dutiful and bureaucratic; others exuded enthusiasm. All were revealing.”
John Sailer began looking into this and discovered a massive amount of documentation.
He then wrote a report for the Wall Street Journal:
Inside Ohio State’s DEI Factory
A search committee seeking a professor of military history rejected one applicant “because his diversity statement demonstrated poor understanding of diversity and inclusion issues.” Another committee noted that an applicant to be a professor of nuclear physics could understand the plight of minorities in academia because he was married to “an immigrant in Texas in the Age of Trump.”
These examples come from more than 800 pages of “Diversity Faculty Recruitment Reports” at Ohio State University, which I obtained through a public-records request. Until recently, Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences required every search committee to create such a report, which had to be approved by various deans before finalists for a job were interviewed.
In February 2021, then-president Kristina Johnson launched an initiative to hire 50 professors whose work focused on race and “social equity” and “100 underrepresented and BIPOC hires” (the acronym stands for black, indigenous and people of color). These reports show what higher education’s outsize investment in “diversity, equity and inclusion” looks like in practice. Ohio State sacrificed both academic freedom and scholarly excellence for the sake of a narrowly construed vision of diversity.
Each report required search committees to describe how their proposed finalists “would amplify the values of diversity, inclusion and innovation.” Some reports were dutiful and bureaucratic; others exuded enthusiasm. All were revealing. Racial diversity was touted as a tool to achieve viewpoint diversity, but viewpoint conformity often served as a tool to meet de facto quotas. One report said a candidate would “greatly enhance our engagement with queer theory outside of the western epistemological approaches which would greatly support us both in recruitment and retention of diverse graduate populations.”
Other committees valued political ideology as an end in itself. In a search for a professor of chemistry, the report notes that one candidate’s “experiences as a queer, neurodivergent Latinx woman in STEM has provided her with an important motivation to expand DEI efforts beyond simply representation and instead toward social justice.” Another report concedes that “as a white male” one proposed finalist “does not outwardly present as a diversity candidate.” In his defense it notes that he recently published on critical race theory.
The reports required search committees to describe how they evaluated diversity statements. The committees cited those statements as the sole reason for eliminating certain candidates in fields as varied as aquatic ecology, lighting design, military history and music theory.
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