Texas Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences passed a resolution titled “Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University.” The motion mandated that faculty search committees require diversity statements and heavily value them in the hiring process. It also called for every faculty search committee to provide “a report on the evaluation of the required diversity statements.” Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, I have acquired these DEI evaluation reports from eight separate faculty searches.
In my latest article for the Wall Street Journal, “How ‘Diversity’ Policing Fails Science,” I unpack these documents and their implications. Simply put, they perfectly illustrate the case against diversity statements. These documents show how the biology department penalizes some job candidates for not adopting the language of identity politics. They also reveal horribly misplaced priorities.
The evaluations are embedded below. Readers are encouraged to peruse the documents for themselves, but a few of the DEI “strengths” and “weaknesses” that the search committees named are worth highlighting here.
Candidates’ weaknesses included:
- “Mentioned that DEI is not an issue because he respects his students and treats them equally. This indicates a lack of understanding of equity and inclusion issues.”
- “Poor understanding of the difference between equity and equality, even on re-direct, which suggested rather superficial understanding of DEI more generally.”
- “Wasn’t a lot of discussion of the nuances between D, E, and I and how they (inter)related.”
- “Didn’t distinguish well between international and domestic students and their DEI needs.”
- “Conflation of international with diversity without explaining any subtlety.”
- “Diversity was only defined as country of origin and notably never mentioned women.”
- “Not during DEI meeting but observed multiple examples of microaggressions towards women faculty, including assuming one junior faculty was a graduate student and minimizing the difficulties of women in the US by comparing to worse situations elsewhere.”
Their strengths, meanwhile, include:
- “Some awareness of level of problems – saw them as key (unconscious bias, microaggressions). “
- “Lived experience with axes of diversity growing up via the caste system in India.”
- “Inclusivity in lab – her theme will be diversity, and she will actively work to creating the culture – e.g. enforce code of conduct, prevent microaggressions etc.”
- “Clear on difference between African diaspora of scientists and African Americans.”
- “Land acknowledgement in talk.”
Photo: Texas Tech University by cmh2315fl // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0