MIT, College, DEI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT Latest College To Get Rid Of DEI Hiring Requirements Allegedly Claiming ‘They Don’t Work’

Before the change, MIT required applicants to submit a statement that "demonstrates knowledge of challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion."

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the first institution to dump diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements from its faculty hiring process

A spokesperson from the prestigious college said, “Requests for a statement on diversity will no longer be part of applications for any faculty positions at MIT.” President Sally Kornbluth made the decision “with the support of the Provost, Chancellor, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, and all six academic deans.”  

Kornbluth thinks there are other ways to build inclusivity outside of diversity statements. “My goals are to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here,” Kornbluth said. 

“We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.”

While free speech and academic freedom advocates have opposed the requirement of DEI statements since the early 2010s, the narrative heightened following the Supreme Court’s overturning of affirmative action in 2023. Conservatives have pushed the need for faculty diversity statements aside, describing them as “ideological viewpoint tests” for potential hiring candidates. 

However, such statements are used at several top universities in the country. 

Before the change, MIT required applicants to submit a statement that “demonstrates knowledge of challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” in addition to highlighting a “track record of working with diverse groups of people.” Candidates were also instructed to speak on a plan to push DEI forward in their position at the school.

A survey from The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a freedom of speech advocacy group, revealed that a “large portion of MIT faculty and students are afraid to express their views in various academic settings.” 

Educators from other Ivy League shared similar sentiments. In April 2024, Randall L. Kennedy, a Harvard law school professor, penned a column in the Harvard Crimson pressing other schools to get rid of mandatory DEI statements, arguing that they add pressure on faculty and staff to straddle political lines. “I am a scholar on the left committed to struggles for social justice,” Kennedy wrote. 

“The realities surrounding mandatory DEI statements, however, make me wince. The practice of demanding them ought to be abandoned, both at Harvard and beyond.”

However, some people in favor of the statements feel they serve an important purpose to guarantee faculty members are able to reach all students that they will interact with in such a diverse setting, according to The Hill. 

Kornbluth has been under a microscope after testifying in late 2023 before Congress about antisemitism on college campuses. Alongside former presidents of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, Claudine Gay and Liz Magill, Kornbluth was the only one who kept her job after the hearing.

RELATED CONTENT: Iowa Universities Set To Close DEI Offices In Summer 2024