Diversity Statements Banned in Faculty Hiring

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has done away with diversity statements as part of their hiring process. Prospective faculty had historically been asked to submit a statement with their CV describing their experience working with assorted populations and their approach to challenges related to diversity and inclusion efforts. 

The provost, chancellor, and six academic deans supported the move to eliminate this piece of their employment practice, along with president Sally Kornbluth, PhD, who said in a statement released this week, “My goals are to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here. We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.” 

This decision comes amid a flurry of attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campuses across the nation. Critics argue that diversity statements undermine hiring practices based on meritocracy, but proponents say that they help institutions better serve historically marginalized people. 

Public institutions in several states have scrapped diversity statements, but MIT is the first elite university to abandon the practice in their hiring process.