Harvard law professor argues it's time to 'abandon' mandatory DEI statements: 'Ideological Pledges of Allegiance'

​A Harvard Law School professor argued in an op-ed that it's time to ditch mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statements in academic employment.

A Harvard Law School professor argued in an op-ed that it’s time to ditch mandatory Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statements in academic employment.

Randall Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School, wrote in The Harvard Crimson that while he considers himself a “scholar on the left committed to struggles for social justice,” he feels mandatory DEI statements in employment for academic jobs need to go.

”By requiring academics to profess — and flaunt — faith in DEI, the proliferation of diversity statements poses a profound challenge to academic freedom,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy highlighted one specific job posting at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, which asks applicants to explain “your commitment to furthering EDIB within the context of institutions of higher education.”

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Kennedy says the posting suggests applicants to answer questions like “How does your research engage with and advance the well-being of socially marginalized communities?,” “Do you know how the following operate in the academy: implicit bias, different forms of privilege, (settler-)colonialism, systemic and interpersonal racism, homophobia, heteropatriarchy, and ableism?,” and “How have you engaged in or led EDIB campus initiatives or programming?”

The Harvard law professor points out that DEI statements send a clear message to applicants: “If you want the job or the promotion, play ball — or else.”

”Playing ball entails affirming that the DEI bureaucracy is a good thing and asking no questions that challenge it, all the while making sure to use in one’s attestations the easy-to-parody DEI lingo,” Kennedy wrote.

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He said that mandatory DEI statements often lean “heavily” toward those who hold leftist beliefs, thus discouraging potential conservative candidates from even applying.

”Candidates for academic positions at Harvard should not be asked to support ideological commitments,” Kennedy wrote. “Imagine the howl of protest that would (or should) erupt if a school at Harvard asked a candidate for a faculty position to submit a statement of their orientation towards capitalism, or patriotism, or Making America Great Again with a clear expectation of allegiance? Such pressure constitutes an encroachment upon the intellectual freedom that ought to be part of the enjoyment of academic life.”

Campus Reform reached out to Kennedy and Harvard for comment.