Leftist hiring practices are hurting public universities, scholar argues

Heartland Institute Policy Advisor David Randall accused Oklahoma's public universities higher education of discriminating against conservative applicants by requiring a commitment to social justice.

Randall told Campus Reform that the University of Oklahoma posted a large number of discriminatory practices.

A Heartland Institute scholar recently accused Oklahoma colleges and universities of discriminating against conservative applicants by mandating “radical requirements.”

David Randall, Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars and a Heartland Institute Policy Advisor, condemned the hiring practice in an article published in the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA).

OCPA is a think-tank based in Oklahoma City.

”Universities share a national job market and a national professional culture- very radical,” Randall told Campus Reform. “Academic political biases are virtually identical throughout the country.”

Randall’s research revealed that a number of public universities in Oklahoma require applicants to commit to so-called “radical advocacy” on the job. Applicants are also required to submit a “teaching statement” that demonstrates their commitment to “racial justice in the classroom.”

Randall analyzed the Chronicle of Higher Education job board to conduct his research.

[RELATED: Diversity statements can determine who gets hired at universities]

Randall told Campus Reform that the University of Oklahoma (OU) posted a large number of discriminatory practices.

”The central administration there is heavily committed to diversity ideology,” Randall said, “so that means a har higher proportion of the jobs have such language.”

Randall cited a job post at OU for an Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Performance. 

The position requires applicants can teach students to “explore and expose oppressive structures and power dynamics within our culture and artform.” The instructor will be responsible for increasing “the incorporation of inclusive pedagogies in [the] classroom.”

Applicants are expected to be familiar with “non-Western performance techniques” including styles from “African diaspora, Latinx, Asian, or Indigenous cultures.” Additionally, applicants should be familiar with “works from a Feminist or Queer theatre perspective.” 

In December 2021, OU advertised an opening for a psychology department chair. The university narrowed its search to prioritize “women, members of minority groups, veterans, those with disabilities, and LGBTQIA community[.]”

At the same time, applicants had to be “committed to excellence, inclusion, and diversity.”

Randall stated that other the hiring standards for other universities were “more a matter of departmental initiative.” 

[RELATED: Monument commemorating ‘spirit of the pioneers’ removed from Oklahoma college]

Randall uncovered two open positions at the University of Central Oklahoma English department that asked applicants to display a commitment to social justice-minded pedagogies. 

The Assistant Professor of English position with a specialization in Creative Writing (Poetry) requires applicants to have “a strong commitment to antiracist and social justice pedagogy.” 

A similar position with a specialization in English Education requires applicants to be committed to “equity-driven teaching, especially in culturally responsive pedagogy.”

“Higher education officials increasingly thumb their noses at the taxpayers of this state,” Dutcher said, “a state in which political-correctness slayer Donald Trump (twice) won 77 of 77 counties.”

OCPA has been a long-standing critic of Oklahoma higher education hiring practices. Past articles criticize roles designated for “queer and latinx studies,” “transgender studies,” and “climate justice” personnel. 

OCPA Senior Vice President Brandon Dutcher told Campus Reform that “the rot in higher education is accelerating.”

Dutcher explained to Campus Reform that OCPA has been “training young leaders” and partners “with an ever-growing number of donors who are fed up with their alma mater and who have finally realized it doesn’t make sense to keep donating money to institutions that are undermining the American way of life.”

Campus Reform contacted every school named in this article and will update accordingly.

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