Eliminating DIE hiring statements

Mike Damiano

Less than five years ago, Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences followed a trend that was then sweeping across American higher education. It instituted a requirement that professors who wished to work at Harvard submit an essay explaining how they would advance “diversity, inclusion, and belonging” in their work.

On Monday, the university’s largest division announced it had reversed course, eliminating the requirement after receiving “feedback from numerous faculty members” who were concerned about the mandatory statements.

A seemingly routine part of academic hiring, diversity statements have become the focus of intense scrutiny as universities grapple with the question of whether well-intentioned efforts to diversify the elite ranks of American institutions have sometimes collided with other core values of academia.