Texas Tech reverses DEI statement requirement after biology dept. featured in WSJ piece

Texas Tech Chancellor Tedd Mitchell told state lawmakers he will not permit ideological litmus tests at any of the system's universities
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 2:50 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 10:38 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech has announced a review of its hiring policies after diversity and inclusion statements required by the department of biology were featured in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

WSJ: How ‘Diversity’ Policing Fails Science: An open-records request reveals that Texas Tech faculty penalize candidates for heterodox opinions.

The Wall Street Journal opinion story, written by John D. Sailer, said one candidate was flagged for not knowing the difference between “equity” and “equality,” another was flagged for referring to professors with the “he” pronoun. Another was praised for making a “land acknowledgement” during the hiring process, “noting that Native Americans once lived in what is now the United States.”

PDF: Redacted DEI statements from Texas Tech Department of Biology

The TTU biology department had adopted its own diversity, equity and inclusion policy for the hiring process, asking that search committees “require and strongly weight a diversity statement from all candidates.”

The university quickly reversed that policy on Tuesday after the piece ran on Monday, announcing in a written statement:

“Texas Tech University’s faculty hiring practices will always emphasize disciplinary excellence and the ability of candidates to support our priorities in student success, impactful scholarship, and community engagement. Recently, we learned of a department that required a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement in addition to the usual applicant materials as pan of a faculty search. We immediately withdrew this practice and initiated a review of hiring procedures across all colleges and departments. We will withdraw the use of these statements and evaluation rubrics if identified.”

NAS: Victory for Academic Freedom: Texas Tech Ditches Diversity Statements

The Wall Street Journal shared these documents, originally published in redacted form after an open records request by the conservative-leaning National Association of Scholars, saying “They confirm what critics of DEI statements have long argued: That they inevitably act as ideological litmus tests.”

The WSJ piece cites an example of one candidate who “mentioned that DEI is not an issue because he respects his students and treats them equally.” The evaluation notes said “This indicates a lack of understanding of equity and inclusion issues.”

We’ll update this story to include any further statements by the Wall Street Journal, National Association of Scholars or Texas Tech.