The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass) ended an application requirement that forced potential employees to pledge their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Fox News reports that the decision, which had previously brought criticism to the university, was celebrated as a “victory” for freedom of speech by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), formerly known as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
“Public institutions like the University of Massachusetts Boston are bound by the First Amendment to make hiring decisions in a viewpoint-neutral manner,” said FIRE’s Program Officer Haley Gluhanich. “We’re glad the university eventually changed course. But maybe next time, it doesn’t need to take five months of advocacy.”
FIRE first discovered the existence of the requirement in June, where faculty applicants were ordered to submit statements expressing their “experience and commitment” to DEI. FIRE denounced these rules as a “clear violation of both prospective faculty’s academic freedom and the university’s obligation to uphold the First Amendment.”
“UMass Boston tried dodging the issue for several months,” Gluhanich continued, noting that FIRE “recently discovered that the DEI requirements had finally been removed from the job listings we flagged and that newly posted job listings contained no similar requirements.”
In a written statement following the reported decision to reverse the requirements, a UMass spokesman said that the university “will continue to comply with all applicable employment laws pertaining to the hiring of our faculty and will continue to support our faculty’s Constitutional rights while we embrace our diverse community at UMass Boston.”
While DEI ostensibly claims to support diversity in the workplace, the overwhelming majority of DEI programs across the country, from universities to corporations, have proven to simply be a vehicle for anti-White rhetoric, favoring minorities and women over White applicants and men when it comes to hiring and promotions. DEI has come under greater scrutiny in recent years, and has seen a new surge of legal challenges in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to end the practice of affirmative action in higher education.