March 27, 2023

Required Faculty Diversity (DEI) Statements Undermine the Future of the University of Washington and Other Colleges

At the University of Washington and many other academic institutions, applicants for faculty positions must complete a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement that describes their past actions in support of DEI and how they will foster DEI if appointed.  In addition, these required statements generally demand that the applicant express support or commitment to DEI principles.

As will be shown below, such DEI statements are of questionable legality, suppress viewpoint diversity, and politicize academic institutions.  They are destructive to the foundational values of academia, create a monoculture of opinion, act as a litmus test of political belief, and often hurt the groups they are meant to support.

DEI Represents the Politicization of the Academy

Although the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion superficially appear to be general and innocuous, the working definitions used in most universities are highly partisan and politicized.  Diversity generally refers to encouraging the representation of certain identity groups, based on race, color, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.  Equity refers to equal outcomes for all groups, not equality of opportunity.  And Inclusion generally only encompasses certain favored groups.

The political nature of such DEI ideas is highlighted by the huge differences in support of DEI across the political spectrum.  In a recent poll of 1491 faculty by the non-partisan group FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression), 75% of liberal or left-leaning faculty supported mandatory diversity statements while 90% of conservative faculty and 56% of politically moderate faculty saw them as inappropriate political litmus tests.  Several Republican-led states are abandoning DEI statements, in contrast to states where the Democratic Party is dominant.    Thus, DEI faculty statements require the support of ideas that are only favored by only one side of the political spectrum— the very definition of politicization.

Compelled Speech and Compelled Actions

The First Amendment bars the government from compelling people to express ideas they do not want to say.  Thus, it is illegal for a state university, such as the University of Washington, to compel faculty speech, and this is particularly egregious if the required speech is political in nature. 

To illustrate, a number of the current University of Washington faculty job announcements compel speech by requiring that the applicants state their commitment to DEI principles.  For example, the applicant for an Assistant Professor position of School Psychology in the UW College of Education must provide “a one-page diversity statement describing your experience and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”  This is clearly contrary to the First Amendment.

As noted by University of Chicago professor of law Brian Leiter “the new diversity statements require candidates to profess allegiance to a controversial set of moral and political views that have little or no relationship to a faculty member’s pedagogical and scholarly duties.”

Illegal compelled speech in DEI statements is such an obvious problem that one of the leading advocates of faculty DEI statements, University of California, Davis, Law Professor Brian Soucek has noted that such compelled speech regarding DEI should be avoided (he states this in a debate with Professor Leiter).  Instead, Professor Soucek recommends that DEI statements should only deal with actions:  past actions demonstrating support for DEI and promised future actions that will enhance DEI ideas and principles.  However, one should ask:  if compelled speech is illegal, how can compelled actions be less problematic?  Is it not worse to compel someone to take an action they disagree with than being forced to speak words they find problematic?   

The compelled speech of faculty DEI statements is similar in nature to the infamous University loyalty oaths of the late 1940s and early 1950s, where applicants had to attest to their commitment to American institutions and rejection of communist ideology.  The fostering of such loyalty statements by major universities (such as the University of Washington) is now seen as undemocratic and illegal, representing an unfortunate stain on the reputations of major academic institutions.

We don't need to repeat this

Abuse of Faculty DEI Statements

DEI statements have substantial potential for abuse, such as serving as a litmus test of political belief, screening out candidates of particular backgrounds and beliefs, or giving preference to candidates from specific racial, ethnic, or sexual orientation groups.  Such statements also have the potential to lessen the quality of faculty teaching, research, and service, or to reduce the diversity of viewpoints among college faculty.

At some institutions, such as some schools in the University of California system, DEI statements have been used to filter faculty candidates BEFORE their academic and teaching credentials were considered.  Thus, a brilliant potential faculty member destined for Nobel-Prize-level contributions would be rejected if her commitment to DEI was not sufficient.  For example, certain rejection would occur for any faculty candidate whose statement simply noted that all students should be treated equally as individuals and that no student should be favored or penalized for their background.  Political views, rather than promise in research and teaching, is the key filter at the UC system.

The required California faculty DEI statement was used (illegally) to give preferences to those from certain races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations (affirmative action is prohibited by law in California).  We know this because of a summarizing report at the University of California, Berkeley, for 2018-2019. For a life-science cluster position, 896 individuals applied, with 54% being white, 26% Asian, 3% African American, and 13% of Hispanic background. Of these candidates, 679 (78%) were rejected because of their DEI statements before their research and teaching potential were considered.  After the DEI filtering review, only 14% were white (down from 54%), 59% were Hispanic (up from 13%), 18% were Asian (down from 26%), and 9% were Afro-Americans (up from 3%).  It is clear that profound racial discrimination and preferences occurred, with the DEI statement being the central tool.  Jim Crow racism was wrong, racism based on required DEI statements is also wrong.

Since there are no explicit measures for scoring DEI statements, such statements are inevitably subjective and reflect the opinions, prejudices, politics, and preferences of the faculty in each academic department.  More progressive/left-leaning disciplines, such as education, social work, and Global Public Health will tend to demand the most political commitment of faculty candidates, ensuring a viewpoint monoculture, a problematic situation for an academic community where ideas need to be challenged and probed.

A potent example is found in a current job announcement for an Assistant Teaching Professor in Global Health at the University of Washington.

"We are dedicated to hiring faculty who model the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and the decolonization of global health through all elements of their academic portfolio.  We view equity and social justice as essential to our mission of building health excellence. The successful applicant will be expected to embody these values in their teaching, mentoring, and service activities, and in any research or practice activities in which they engage. To be considered for this position, all applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to antiracist and decolonizing principles, and a willingness to continue growing new skills in alignment with our school’s EDI Roadmap. "  

An applicant with moderate or conservative views, or not willing to “align” with the school’s EDI roadmap, would be rejected.  So much for diversity of viewpoint in that department.

The politicization is also occurring in more moderate STEM departments.  For example, a young faculty member in a UW engineering department opposed an initiative to have faculty DEI statements required of present faculty (when they came up for advancement).   Some left-leaning members of his department then opposed a merit raise for him.  Fortunately, other faculty objected to such inappropriate politicization, and the raise was approved.  Not surprisingly, this highly promising faculty member decided to leave the UW the following year.   There are stories like this in other departments.

No Evidence that Mandatory DEI Statements Produce Benefits

One would think that before universities required DEI statements from thousands of faculty applicants, with considerable effort and expense required for their generation and review, some evidence of the value and efficacy of such statements would be required.  Surprisingly, no such evidence exists.  An extensive search of the academic literature finds no published studies documenting the value of faculty DEI statements, and inquiries to DEI statement supporters reveal they have no evidence to cite.   In contrast, faculty DEI statements have substantial potential to cause harm and division.

It is important to note that faculty candidates can always voluntarily note any contributions or interest in DEI in their faculty applications.  

Just the Tip of The Iceberg

Faculty DEI statements are just one example of a massive transformation that has undermined American institutions of higher learning.   Universities like the UW have put huge resources into a DEI bureaucracy and associated programs, which has led to a reduction in faculty and student viewpoint diversity.  Many faculty are afraid to speak their minds on controversial topics.  The large financial outlays for highly paid diversity Deans, staff, and “advisors” have reduced support for teaching and research and increased the cost of college tuition.  The recent events at Stanford Law School, where a diversity dean hectored a visiting speaker, is only one example of the profound deterioration that has occurred at leading universities.


If one wanted to design a measure to undermine the essential foundations of an academic institution, few would be more effective than mandatory DEI statements for new faculty.  It reduces the diversity of viewpoints of new faculty and encourages a faculty monoculture of similar political and social ideas on one side of the political spectrum.  It undermines academic quality by steering decision-making away from the teaching and research capabilities of prospective new faculty to a consideration of their social and political views.  Both academic institutions and their students suffer as a result, with no studies showing evidence of any benefit.  On top of these obvious problems, DEI statements often represent illegal compelled speech.

If you agree that mandatory faculty DEI statements are a bad idea, let the UW know about it.  Talking to your state legislator is also a good idea.

Faculty Senate:
UW Vice President for Diversity:

Important Update

This analysis was sent to the email listserv of the UW Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).   AAUP has the mission to protect faculty freedom and played an important role in protesting the loyalty statements and restrictions on faculty speech during the late 40s and 50s.   UW AAUP refused to publish my contribution on their listserv, with the moderator calling the above message "spam."   UW AAUP has been captured by a group of partisan activists who regularly censor viewpoints different from their own.  Ironically, their actions prove several of the points noted above.


  1. Apparently, too many in academic institutions never understood George Orwell's 1984 or Animal Farm. They don't understand that their utopia is actually a dystopia. They don't understand that the Golden Rule isn't a law that can be enforced with punishments for people who don't follow it 100% of the time. They believe book burning isn't bad if people are only forced to burn bad books - or should I use 1984's Newspeak and call them "ungood" books?

    I pity the students and our society, if they aren't taught to think critically rather than becoming flapping pieces of paper and only "know" what they've been fed.

  2. The curse of the third generation - coming home to roost.

  3. Dude--I don't know if you mean to sound racist, sound racist. DEI is an appropriate response to centuries of oppression. In case you hadn't noticed, racisim is thriving in America right now, and attempts to dismantle any effort, like DEI, to address historical wrongs only fortifies the hate.

    1. Jeff....You are wrong. You don't fight racism with more racism. You don't fight hate with more hate. Preferences for one discriminates against another (such as Asians). And my name is not "Dude"....cliff

    2. "DEI is an appropriate response to centuries of oppression." you just assume this without bothering to offer any evidence. Is that supposed to be an argument? It's lazy and weak.

    3. Not only are you wrong, Jeff, but what you've said is thoughtless and incoherent. Let's take a closer look at D.E.I. by breaking it down into its component parts.


      Diversity is neither good nor bad. It can be either depending on the form it takes but it is certainly not the unalloyed good that D.E.I. proponents demand that it is. The ironic thing regarding the "diversity" that D.E.I. proponents are so fanatical about is that it bears only the most superficial resemblance to actual diversity which is defined as a range, or variety, of things. The "diversity" of D.E.I. takes the form of a monoculture in which the only diverse thing, if it even can be said to be such given the speciousness of the concept, is race. D.E.I. involves approximately zero diversity of thought or opinion.


      Equity is just Communism, plain and simple. Equity - being the opposite of equality, which seeks an equal footing for all to achieve the most that their ability permits, seeks equality of outcome whereby those with lesser ability are the recipients of undeserved benefaction which they lack the capacity to achieve on their own. The theft of opportunity from those perceived to have more than "their fair share" and the redistribution of that opportunity to those perceived to be lacking in that regard is a cornerstone of the concept of equity and, indeed, reparations. Reparations is actually a form of equity though it's not often described as such. Reparations is typically considered to be a form of redistribution by which descendants of American slavery are essentially compensated for "lost wages". But since the ultimate goal of reparations, as well as equity, is to create identical outcomes between different groups of people, it's entirely consistent with that goal to just sink the whole ship and bring everyone down together.


      Inclusion is the one part of D.E.I. which is generally an unalloyed good. I can find no fault with the idea of including a wide variety of people with an array of ideas and points of view as this is the spice of life and is often the catalyst for the best ideas that humans have devised. Collaboration and cooperation, even among those with competing points of view can yield particularly fruitful results in art, academia, science, industry, politics and beyond. That said, D.E.I. zealots only pay lip service to the concept of inclusion (as they do with much of their supposed ideals) because they only wish to include those who look, think and act a certain way - a way that, primarily, allows them to achieve their ultimate aim which, rather than the putatively lofty goals of diversity, equity and inclusion, is power. Make no mistake, what the D.E.I industrial complex/bureaucracy is really about is silencing dissent and consolidating power so that its would be royalty and priestly class will be afforded the authority to impose their will and whim.

      I don't always agree with Cliff and I'm often not a fan of his non-meteorology and climate related blogs but I can certainly understand why someone in academia, arguably the arena in which D.E.I. has mad the greatest inroads toward achieving the power it so desperately craves - even a tenured professor - would be greatly concerned by the rapid and extreme changes which have taken place over the past decade or so.

    4. Jeff - Thank you for clearly presenting the DEI counteragrument. Agree with me or ... "You're a racist." No logic. No evidence. No peer reviewed studies to support DEI. Just pure emotions. "You're a racist." "You're an oppressor." "What you represent must be dismantled." "You are responsible for wrongs." "You support hate." Oh bother!

    5. Interesting to see the piling on one of the few to voice opposition to this post. Kind of ironic that it encourages Cliff's non-weather posts to become an echo chamber for conservative views.

    6. Jeff, racism is indeed thriving because of people like you. Excluding anyone from being hired based on race is by definition racism. You should check a dictionary, as well as the actual history of slavery and abolitionism, before you comment again to avoid future embarrassment.

    7. qfranklin...this is not about progressive or conservative views. Many folks on the left are against DEI statements, just as they were against the loyalty oaths of the 50s...cliff

  4. I was shocked to see the level of ignorance and appealing behavior of Stanford Law students towards someone they disagreed with and the Dean of DEI at Stanford was the leader. Law students at Stanford theoretically some of the best and brightest in the country. Very depressing.

  5. Most conservatives I know are concerned about diversity, and all ethnics, races, religionists doing well. So why don't some brilliant conservatives (and there are a lot), come up with conservative statements about that. Certainly some years ago, Cliff's concern with math being taught right in all schools and specifically including mostly black attended high schools in Seattle is the sort of thing we all should be hearing.

  6. It's all well and good to be fair minded and educate yourself to understand and prevent racism and religious, ethnic and sex-based discrimination.
    Unfortunately, some people don't understand that the obeisance to DEI statements, pronoun imposition, and examples of people being shouted down or cancelled for expressing an unpopular opinion is causing a groundswell of resentment and a backlash. Most folks just want a commonsense approach to solving our problems and not something that borders on enforcing beliefs and opinions. The resentment isn't restricted to hard conservatives but is spreading to those in the middle and liberal political spectrum.
    It's unfortunate that the hard push to promulgate these practices is looked upon by some of us as a descent into self-parody.
    I consider myself very liberal politically. Never voted Republican if I could avoid it. So just a fair warning that the harder you push the more support you lose. Actions cause reactions. That's basic politics.

  7. This language around DEI at first seems like laughable sociological techno-babble but it is very much coded language for who should or shouldn't apply for a position with the University. Before you know it, people who don't fit the mold won't even bother applying (which includes People of Color who don't align themselves politically the way white liberals think they should). If that's the future of the University then we can just forget about critical thinking, open discussion, and diversity of thought.

  8. Judicious as always....Thank you, Cliff. Hang on tight.

  9. Cliff, I was looking at applying for some community college level teaching positions in the area. I was not happy with the application process ... about 1/2 of it was about ensuring equity and inclusion (I'm not sure how that fits into a math, oceanography or meteorology class). While I believe that I offer something to students and can be a good teacher, I just decided not to take the leap at this time. I'm lucky, I am a retiree who works for fun and a little extra income. If I were in another position, I would just pick up and leave for a more sane area. I am all for equal rights (we are all made equal by our Creator), giving a helping hand, etc. But a math or science teacher is teaching about the information and how to search for it. Things have gone way too far - to the point where the people who label themselves as anti-racists or antifascists need to look hard at themselves in the mirror.

  10. Thank you for your courage Cliff. Your bravery is inspiring. I know that you've put a huge target on your back, the arrows are coming, and these idealogues don't take prisoners. Unfortunately, you and others that have gone public will be taking the bulk of the punishment until the rest of us quit hiding under our desks.

  11. I'm sticking to weather this time. Today is very nice but I'm astounded at how low the dewpoint is- 28 degrees according to one source. On Friday it was down to 18 degrees.

  12. I've taken to calling the DIE Diversion, Invasion and Evasion, or similar sarcastic substitutes.

    Inclusion sounds great until you realize it's a way to join certain things which have reason to be separate. Categories are by their very nature exclusive of everything outside that category. Diversity is often lauded by the same people who cancel others for having different viewpoints. Equity makes sense in some conditions but would be unfair in others.

    Educators are there to teach, to know their subject, and give appropriate guidance and challenge to students. They're not there to protect students from being offended by certain topics. Unfortunately it seems diversity champions are quick to take offense when faced by views different from their own. Universities are for adult discussion and learning, not to reinforce currently trendy philosophy. The whole DIE (yes, I know it's supposed to be initialed as DEI) industry is a misuse of money and time and a distraction from what colleges should be doing.

  13. Bravo, Prof Mass! Thanks for your voice of reason and practicality.

  14. I am very liberal in my politics, but I agree with Cliff 100%. It is crazy the DEI offices seem to push us away from the idea of a diversity of opinions. The situation with the speaker at Stanford is absurd.

  15. Thanks Cliff for pointing out to this problem! I'm at UW. I find it oppressive how one particular rhetoric is being enforced on all of us. The problem is that there is ZERO guidance how such statements should be written and what is expected. Even when you try to comply you may end up saying of doing something that some find "offensive". It seems that there is only one particular type of wording that is allowed and you are supposed to learn the "correct vocabulary" (whichever that is) and recite it like a religious prayer. I personally know people who have done a ton of work to improve diversity and are still turned off by this entire DEI thing. Say the wrong thing (or whatever is thought to not comply with the DEI rhetoric) and you get labels attached. There are just too many labels attached to too many things.

  16. In other news, the max temp at my location in Bellingham today was a whopping 64.7F (after a morning min of 33.4F) - the warmest temperature I've measured since 10/19/22.

  17. As an undergrad, many years ago, I attended classes (in Thompson Hall) on the history of Russia and also of Communism, taught by top-notch profs who leaned center-right, then a Marxist philosophy class (in Denny) taught by a practicing Marxist revolutionary. Those were the days! One could get a variety of opinions from the faculty, challenge a Soviet official one hour then argue with an American commie the next, all in good fun. (I knew my stuff already, because I'd lived in both Soviet and Chinese societies, and could push the profs when they talked nonsense, which the historians seldom did.)

    These neo-Puritans are much less tolerant and kindly than the old kind. And whereas the original Puritans helped create western education and science, these ones are tearing it apart. Ibrim Kendi or Robin DiAngelo (who studied in the same sociology department where the great Rodney Stark taught for 32 years!) are no John Miltons.

    Kendi is one important source for the new "anti-racism," which is just the old racism flipped around. The same unironic reversal occurred in the Cultural Revolution in China. You attack the grandkids of the supposed oppressors of yesteryear, and you become the reincarnation of Bull O'Conner, yet think you are a second Martin Luther King Jr. Marxism in its original form was incubated at the University of Berlin, yet Einstein later complained that German scientific faculties provided far too little resistance to the Nazis, and often supported them. How can a radicalized faculty ever ratchet back down again to moderation and objectivity? I'm not sure the trend can be reversed. Something wicked this way seems to come, out of those universities with all their beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms.

  18. Thanks Cliff. Well Done.
    I'm too old to apply for anything, but if a were younger I would stay clear of UW or similar places. The alumni should withdraw support.

  19. Well, one could say that the administration is diverting attention from themselves, and implying that faculty attitudes and classroom experiences are what create an unwelcoming climate at the school, or unequal chances of success. The culture of the students themselves can contribute, and the administration is responsible for admissions, factors which could keep tuition low, things like supportive programs for first generation college students (some students fail in the first quarters because their high school was weak at teaching writing or time organization), sponsoring academic clubs that can be a way for students to make friends on a big campus where they don't know anyone.

  20. Basing hiring decisions on a diversity statement is crazy we should be hiring the best scientists/researchers/teachers. But then again I'm not suprisised, I think college administrators are some of the most corrupt people around these days they wouldn't price gouge students so much if they had any integrity and the COVID measures they imposed on students were crazy. Only 1 out of 4 people in my family is better off from going to college so if I ever have kids I'll advise them against college but still let them go if they want to. I think part of the problem is kids are told the lie that if they don't college they won't get anywhere in life so they feel forced to go to college. College administrators feel like they can get away with anything because of their capative audiance but this is a flagrant violation of the first amendment.

  21. This is a well-crafted and sane essay that is effective in pointing out the weaknesses and dangers of DEI coercion. I have heard and read many similar analyses. But when it comes to radical environmentalism, radical social engineering.... well, radical anything... the "believers" are so convinced that their belief is not only righteous but also CRUCIAL to world survival that they really don't give a darn about ANY opposing opinion, regardless of how logical it might be.... whether it is written off as "SPAM", identified as a "conspiracy theory, or simply associated with TRUMPISM, it can, without any due process or due diligence, casually be discarded or ignored. Zealots will be zealots.
    Having said all this, we must continue to resist these attacks on liberty and I thank those who, like Cliff Mass, take the time to do this. Sadly, I harbor little hope that the tide can be stemmed in western Washington, western Oregon, and much of California and the East Coast.

  22. When I was at the University of Oregon majoring in anthropology a student stood up and began challenging the professor, arguing against the idea of evolution for biblical creationism (to audible groans from most of the students). After a couple of minutes of listening to the student's ignorant, faith-based harangue the professor politely but firmly informed the student that he should drop the class if he was only there to promote his personal beliefs. I suppose now that student would have to be endured in the interest of diversity. Perhaps geology professors will have to accomodate the flat-earthers, and astronomy professors give equal time to the biblical creation myth. It's a slippery slope...

    1. Not the biblical creation myth, but Australian schools are now required to teach indigenous creation stories in science class, and give them equal weight to "colonialist" ones.
      The diversity will only ever go one way.

  23. Once a university prioritizes correct beliefs over knowledge, it ceases to become a university. It becomes a seminary, a religious institution that aims for eloquence, not inquiry.

  24. Here is what I wrote to the emails above: To whom it may concern;

    While we all want equity, inclusion and diversity in all facets of life; requiring someone to write up how they expect to achieve that for a job interview is problematic. For one, this is very subjective on the part of the reader. If the reader doesn’t agree with the writer, the writer is therefore (possibly) denied a job. No matter if the applicant won a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize or whatever other accolade given to that person.

    Universities are supposed to be ‘think tanks’ not ‘think like me’ tanks.

    Seems the effort to include, diversify and be equitable---you are actually doing the reverse. May want to revisit this requirement.


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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