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Tags: harvard | diversity | dei | inclusion | faculty

Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences to Drop DEI Statements

By    |   Tuesday, 04 June 2024 11:59 AM EDT

Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences will stop requiring diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) statements as part of its hiring process, the Harvard Crimson reported on Monday.

Nina Zipser, dean of Faculty Affairs and Planning, told the community in an email that she and FAS Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra initiated the change in response to feedback from numerous members of the faculty. The administrators said many were concerned the current requirements were "too narrow in the information they attempted to gather" and caused confusion for international candidates.

The FAS, which is the University's largest faculty, will now require a statement regarding an applicant's "efforts to strengthen academic communities" and how they will create "a learning environment in which students are encouraged to ask questions and share their ideas." The new directive will also only apply to finalists, as opposed the previous practice of requiring all applicants to submit a DIB statement.

Harvard has been ground zero in the backlash against DIB statements with former University President Claudine Gay having been a favorite target of conservative commentators as to the perilous nature of the diversity movement.

Gay resigned in January following accusations of plagiarism and mounting pressure due to the school's inability to tackle antisemitism during months of pro-Palestinian protests.

While FAS's diversity statements precise language has been removed from the school's handbook, Zipser noted the goal is to maintain a diverse workforce while maintaining academic priorities.

"This broader perspective acknowledges the many ways faculty contribute to strengthening their academic communities, including efforts to increase diversity, inclusion and belonging," she wrote in her email.

The trend of diversity statements in hiring staff and admitting students has become increasingly controversial and seen as a political litmus test as opposed to an indication of a candidate or student's qualifications.

Harvard becomes the latest school to drop the practice, following similar moves recently by MIT and the UNC systems.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) argued that typical DEI statements "compel faculty to express or demonstrate commitment to the university's viewpoints or to conform their pedagogy, research, and/or service activities to specific ideological perspectives."

A 2021 study from the American Enterprise Institute noted that across almost 1,000 university job postings, 19% required diversity statements and 68 percent included the word diversity in some fashion.

James Morley III

James Morley III is a writer with more than two decades of experience in entertainment, travel, technology, and science and nature. 

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Politics
Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences will stop requiring diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) statements as part of its hiring process, the Harvard Crimson reported on Monday.
harvard, diversity, dei, inclusion, faculty
382
2024-59-04
Tuesday, 04 June 2024 11:59 AM
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