Prestigious university ditches woke DEI mandate

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has become the first prestigious institution to remove diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements from its faculty hiring process. On Sunday, MIT confirmed to UnHerd that it no longer requires applicants to submit a DEI statement. 

A university spokesperson also informed Fox News Digital that “requests for a statement on diversity will no longer be part of applications for any faculty positions at MIT.” This decision was made by MIT President Sally Kornbluth with support from the provost, chancellor, and all six academic deans.

Kornbluth explained her rationale behind eliminating the mandatory DEI statements, saying that “compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.” 

She emphasized her goal is to “tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here.”

Previously, MIT required faculty candidates to submit a statement showcasing their understanding of diversity challenges, a track record of collaborating with diverse groups, and a plan to promote DEI at the institution, according to the MIT Communication Lab.

Free speech advocates and critics of mandatory DEI statements, including the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), have repeatedly argued that these requirements “function as ideological litmus tests” and risk limiting employment opportunities for those with differing views. 

A recent survey by FIRE found that a significant portion of MIT’s faculty and students felt hesitant to share their opinions in academic settings.

Last month, Harvard Law School Professor Randall L. Kennedy penned an op-ed in the Harvard Crimson calling for Harvard to eliminate its mandatory DEI statements, arguing they compel faculty to “toe a political line.” 

Though committed to social justice, Kennedy wrote that mandatory DEI statements “ought to be abandoned, both at Harvard and beyond.”

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