Leaked memo reveals racial hiring quota for Clemson faculty

Mitchell Gunter
South Carolina Senior Campus Correspondent

  • A leaked memo indicates that Clemson University's College of Science is looking to implement a racial quota for new faculty hires.
  • The memo specifies that at least 40% of candidates selected for Skype interviews must be "underrepresented minorities" (URM), and that 1/3 of tenure-track positions "must be filled with URM candidates."
  • UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from Clemson explaining that the document in question was a draft, and has since been revised to eliminate mandatory racial quotas.
  • UPDATE: Clemson University has provided a statement to Campus Reform asserting that the document cited in this article was only a draft policy, and has since been revised to eliminate mandatory racial quotas.

    "The slide that was obtained by FITSNews, and which formed the basis of its original article, was the first draft of a proposed hiring process and timeline shared with College of Science leadership on April 16," explained Executive Director of Strategic Communications Robin Denny. "The language in question was subsequently changed in early May as part of an iterative review process that is ongoing.

    "11/1 Submit successful candidates with summaries to Dean's office for a collective diversity review."   

    "The current version of the timeline and process clearly states that, while recruiting diverse faculty is important to the College, it should be the 'goal' of the College to recruit more faculty members from underrepresented minority groups, not a mandate," Denny added.


    [Original story]: A leaked memo allegedly reveals that Clemson University considered imposing racial quotas for new faculty hires in an effort to meet a “Diversity goal.”

    The memo, labelled “Process & Timeline,” gives key insights into the college’s hiring process presided over by Clemson College of Science Dean Cynthia Young, and was sent to “a limited number of people this year in preparation for hiring searches next year,” according to FitsNews, which attributes the document to an anonymous source privy to the internal communication.

    Listed under the memo’s “Recruiting Expectations” section are notes specifying a “Diverse candidate pool for all faculty positions”—including lecturer, tenure, and tenure track positions—and that “1/3 out of agreed upon T/TT positions must be filled with URM [underrepresented minority] candidates.”

    [RELATED: Harvard prof calls for racial ‘quota system’ in higher ed]

    Moreover, the memo lays out a concrete strategy for reinforcing the racial quota, mandating that 40 percent of the candidates selected for a Skype interview must be URMs.

    By September 10, the memo indicates that a “Skype Interview candidate list [will be] sent to Chair & Dean for approval (40% URM),” and on September 25, the hiring search committee is slated to forward a proposed campus interview list to Dean for approval, explicitly specifying “1/3 or 2/4 URM for campus interviews.”

    The entire month of October is set aside for campus interviews, after which the search committee will “submit successful candidates with summaries to Dean’s office for a collective diversity review,” on November 1.

    By November 15, department chairs are to “collectively work to secure fall 2019 class of TT faculty,” at which point the memo asks them to determine whether the “Diversity goal” has been met.

    [RELATED: Former dean says Mizzou fired her for questioning racial quotas]

    According to the memo, Dean Young’s office will even “provide language regarding new college and importance of inclusive and diverse faculty” to guide the hiring process.

    Although the memo provides evidence of an effort to implement a racial quota, this is far from the first time that Clemson has discussed such a measure. In April 2017, Clemson released an “Inclusion Update,” which listed a variety of commitments to improve the campus climate, including “Double the Number of Underrepresented Faculty by 2025.”

    “The University continues to make strides to reach this long-term goal,” the document asserts. “Since the fall of 2013, the number of African-American and Hispanic faculty members at Clemson has increased 26 percent.”

    Another measure commits the school to “Provide Increased Funding for Student Groups Representing Diverse Populations,” noting that “the Office of Student Affairs has funded more than $116,000 in inclusion-related programming across the campus, in addition to the base level of funding provided to student groups each year.”

    [RELATED: VIDEO: Students applaud Brown’s new ‘Pocahontas policy’]

    Clemson’s diversity-related initiatives haven’t been limited to faculty, though.

    In April 2017, Altheia Richardson, the Director of the Clemson University Gantt Multicultural Center, proposed requiring student government candidates to pass an “intercultural competency” test before being allowed to run for or hold office.

    Resident Assistants, meanwhile, are already required to “demonstrate a commitment to social justice,” and Clemson freshmen were also forced to participate in a mandatory safe space session titled “Community Dialogues” in September 2017.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter





    Mitchell Gunter

    Mitchell Gunter

    South Carolina Senior Campus Correspondent

    Mitchel Gunter is a South Carolina Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. He is currently studying civil engineering at Clemson University.

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