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Goldwater Defeats ‘Diversity Statements’ at Arizona Universities

August 8, 2023

The Goldwater Institute just struck a death blow against the use of political litmus tests in Arizona’s public universities, as the schools are eliminating the practice of requiring “diversity statements” on job applications. The decision came after the Goldwater Institute exposed that up to 80 percent of faculty job postings at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University were forcing applicants to provide the statements in order to screen out insufficiently progressive candidates.

“This is a huge victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches says. “The Goldwater Institute is continuing to show the nation how to defeat the destructive ideologies that are crippling colleges and universities.”

Diversity statements—which ostensibly function to promote innocuous-sounding concepts such as “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI)—are increasingly used across academia as a political screening test to enforce intellectual and political conformity in support of leftwing concepts aligned with Critical Race Theory (CRT). But as Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher explained: “DEI programs and ‘statements’ do not produce free expression nor more diversity of thought, equal opportunities, and a culture that includes everyone in school activities because DEI’s guiding principles are rooted in the racially discriminatory worldview known as critical race theory.”

What’s more, mandatory diversity statements violate the First Amendment when used as hiring criteria at public universities, in addition to flouting the Arizona state constitution’s ban on the use of political tests in public educational institutions.

Arizona now joins the ranks of multiple other states following Goldwater’s lead in ditching mandatory DEI statements. Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Goldwater Institute’s nation-leading reform to prohibit the use of political litmus tests for hiring and promotions. Lawmakers and university leaders have likewise now eliminated diversity statements in states such as Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina as well.

Unfortunately, DEI’s stranglehold in public universities extends far beyond forcing faculty job applicants to pledge allegiance to progressivism—across the country, a bloated apparatus of DEI administrators seeks to enforce ideological conformity in every aspect of campus life. But the Goldwater Institute is spearheading the nationwide fight to dismantle DEI in higher education.

In Texas, for instance, Goldwater also enacted a powerful reform that completely defunds the DEI bureaucracies that were swarming the state’s public colleges and universities. And that reform complements a suite of related Goldwater efforts, including the Institute’s “Freedom from Indoctrination Act,” which ensures students learn useful civic knowledge in their general education courses and keeps them from being forced into activist-driven programs of social conditioning.

The left is trying to use diversity statements and DEI bureaucracies to suppress political dissent before it even appears on campus. That’s why Goldwater is working to restore a higher education system that reflects the values of the people it serves and shapes students into responsible and thoughtful citizens—and we’ll keep showing the nation how to win.



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