Many Universities, Embracing DEI, No Longer Hire and Reward Based on Competence and Merit

(p. A13) Diversity is no longer a term to describe the breadth of our differences but a demand to flatter and grant privileges to purportedly oppressed identity groups. Equity assigns desirable positions based on race, sex and sexual orientation rather than character, competence and merit. Inclusion now means creating a social environment where identity groups are celebrated while those who disagree are maligned.

“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” [DEI]—the compound form of these modern concepts—is especially toxic. It divides us by social identity groups, ranks those groups on privilege and power, and excludes those who fail to honor the new orthodoxy. Rather than being equally endowed with innate dignity and fundamental rights as human beings—best judged by our character and not skin color—we are supposed to discriminate and confer status based on race, sex and cultural affinity.

. . .

When coming from the college’s administration, DEI practices essentially gatekeep entry to college faculty, staff and students. Requiring DEI statements as part of the faculty employment process dissuades those who think otherwise from even applying. It stifles discourse by keeping dissenting viewpoints from campus in the first place.

College DEI training programs discourage the open and candid discussion necessary for intellectual growth. They exacerbate divisions between groups, creating an environment of tension, fear and one-mindedness, and they have the pernicious effect of closing minds and shutting down thoughtful debate even before classes begin.

DEI attacks the integrity of the academic project. Instead of listening to divergent voices, ears are shut. Instead of the free expression of contrary opinions, chilling self-censorship takes place. Instead of a campus open to all, one finds a narrow doorway through which only an approved few may enter. If the right pieties and homilies aren’t made, ostracization and exclusion become the norm rather than the exception. Unanimity, inequality and exclusion—Orwellian indeed.

For the full commentary, see:

Matthew Spalding. “DEI Spells Death for the Idea of a University.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023): A13.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed abbreviation, added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date February 10, 2023, and has the same title as the print version.)

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