Posted on November 10, 2021

Study: Diversity Statements Required for One-Fifth of Academic Jobs

Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon, November 8, 2021

Nearly a fifth of university jobs require diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements that press applicants to express and expound upon their commitment to diversity, according to a new study from the American Enterprise Institute.

The study, from the Educational Freedom Institute’s James D. Paul and the University of Arkansas’s Robert Maranto, is the first to empirically estimate the prevalence of diversity statements in higher education, which they say may narrow the research questions that academics feel comfortable addressing.

Using a representative sample of 999 job postings, the study found that 19 percent require a diversity statement; that the statements are significantly more common at elite schools than non-elite ones; and that jobs in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are just as likely as jobs in the social sciences to require a diversity statement from applicants.

The last finding surprised Paul, the director of research at the Educational Freedom Institute, who told the Washington Free Beacon it was a testament to the sway of DEI ideology in academia. He and Maranto had hypothesized that the more empirical a field, the less likely it would be to use “soft” criteria when evaluating applicants. But when they actually ran the data, that hypothesis collapsed.


DEI statements have grown more routine in recent years, especially on the West Coast. Between 2018 and 2019, most schools in the University of California system mandated DEI statements for all faculty applicants, with a system-wide task force recommending that the requirements be standardized across UC schools. Such requirements soon made their way east: In 2020, a job posting at the University of Denver asked applicants “how you plan to integrate DEI into your role as a faculty member, including new or existing initiatives you would like to be involved with.”

{snip} The study notes that at the University of California, Berkeley, more than 76 percent of applicants to a life sciences post were eliminated on the basis of their DEI statements.

Others, like the American Enterprise Institute’s Max Eden, see the requirements as ideological litmus tests, loyalty oaths to a “woke” worldview in which equity matters more than education and free thought.

“Universities are conditioning employment on fealty to an ideology that is inherently hostile to the university’s traditional mission,” Eden said. “If colleges started asking prospective faculty about their patriotism or commitment to American ideals, you can bet there would be a mass outcry about academic freedom.”


The study, which reviewed postings on three popular online job boards, suggests that DEI litmus tests are not aberrational. They are now common at both public and private universities—especially the elite ones, which the study found were 18 percent more likely than non-elite schools to require diversity statements. The authors defined an “elite school” as any college or university in the top 100 of the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings.