The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that college and university admissions boards may not use race as a primary factor in deciding which applicants to accept.
That ruling did not stop such institutions from implementing “diversity, equity, and inclusion” standards in their respective hiring practices, however, as evidenced by a host of requirements tacked onto the job applications of public universities in Arizona.
Earlier this year, a review by the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute found that a significant percentage of postings at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University included requirements for so-called diversity statements.
The University of Arizona came in at the bottom of the list with a relatively low 28% of job postings making such a requirement. NAU and ASU, on the other hand, demanded diversity statements from applicants in response to 73% and 81% of job postings, respectively.
Instead of submitting a cover letter with applications, these jobs called for a two-page statement detailing how the applicant had engaged in racial activism or otherwise pursued the ill-defined ideal of diversity. In certain cases, the universities demanded that candidates express support for “intersectional personal identities.”
Amid backlash based on the Goldwater Institute’s findings, however, the Arizona public university system has rescinded those requirements.
According to a decision by the Arizona Board of Regents, “some departments at the universities may have included a request for a DEI statement in a job application” even though they were never mandated.
While certain job postings might still include such a request, the board confirmed that “the universities have discontinued any requests for such statements in job applications.”
🚨🚨🚨 The Arizona Board of Regents said Tuesday the state's public universities have dropped the use of diversity, equity and inclusion statements in job applications, a move that follows demands by the conservative Goldwater Institute. 🚨🚨🚨https://t.co/u94uEB5GNl
— Goldwater Institute (@GoldwaterInst) August 10, 2023
Calling the development a “huge victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches argued that the previous requirements represented an infringement of the First Amendment as well as a clause in the Arizona Constitution that guarantees “no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil.”
A number of states, including Texas and Florida, have advanced legislation in recent months to prohibit public universities from making DEI statements a prerequisite for any position.