Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wokeademia

I'm working on an economic view of political polarization. One aspect of that project is the extent to which many institutions in our society have become politicized. Today's post is one little data point in that larger story. It tells a little story of how to politicize an institution and silence dissenters.

Jerry Coyne reports on the "diversity equity and inclusion statement" required of anyone hired by the University of California, or desiring a raise or promotion. This is a required statement each candidate must write "Demonstrating Interest in and Ability to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion." It's not about whether you are "diverse," meaning belonging to a racial, gender, or sexual-preference group the University wishes to hire. It is a statement, as it says, of your active participation in a  political movement.


Jerry's news in this post is that the statements are now being scored numerically, and only the files of those scoring high enough are passed on for scholarly review. Jerry previously posted  here on the case of Abigail Thompson, professor of mathematics at UC Davis, who dared to question diversity statements in a letter to the American Mathematical Society, pointing out that they are political tests
Why is it a political test? Politics are a reflection of how you believe society should be organized. Classical liberals aspire to treat every person as a unique individual, not as a representative of their gender or their ethnic group. The sample rubric dictates that in order to get a high diversity score, a candidate must have actively engaged in promoting different identity groups as part of their professional life.... Requiring candidates to believe that people should be treated differently according to their identity is indeed a political test...The idea of using a political test as a screen for job applicants should send a shiver down our collective spine....
and he covered here the inevitable kerfuffle, which only goes to prove how much it is a political test.

To be clear here, Abigail's point is not whether classical liberalism is true or not. The point is whether a classical liberal may not be appointed to the university of California, no matter his, her, or their scientific accomplishments, or must be made to abjure and deny that political belief as a condition of employment. You can disagree with classical liberals, but you can still agree they may express their political views, and you may agree that they should not be  forced, as a condition of employment,  to abjure their beliefs and associations, to express other beliefs, and to be forced to participate in activities and associations that advance other political views.

Before the twitter mob goes nuts, the point today is the nature of the diversity statement. I'm not arguing against "diversity" either in its plain English sense, or in its current political meaning as a euphemism for racial, gender and sexual-identity quotas. I do, as required by my employer, put quite a bit of thumb on the scale in hiring and appointments.  We'll argue about that some other day. Jerry too, in addition to being an eminent scientist, describes himself as a liberal, and believes in advancing diversity in academia. But not loyalty oaths.

What is it? 

The university not only requires the statements, but gives
these statements precedence in the hiring process, so that if your statement doesn’t exceed a minimum numerical cutoff for promoting diversity, increasing it in your past, and promulgating it in the future should you be hired, your candidacy is terminated 
My friends (anonymous!) in the UC system report that the criteria are clear and the word is out: Don't try to be clever.  Don't quote Martin Luther King, on judgement by content of character rather than color of skin.  Don't write vibrant essays on the importance of ideological, political or religious diversity.  Don't quote federal anti-discrimination law, the 14th Amendment, and the UC's own statements of non-discrimination in hiring. Don't write about class diversity, diverse experiences of immigrants, such as people born under communism in Eastern Europe or the amazingly diverse experience of the colleague you just hired who came from a small village in China. Don't write about the importance of freedom of speech, or  anti-communist loyalty oaths in the 1950s. Are you thinking of writing about your hilbilly elegy background, your time in the military, your support for gun rights and Trump, and how this background and viewpoint would enrich a faculty and staff that likely has absolutely zero people like you? Don't bother. We all know what "diversity" means. And, heaven forbid, don't express distaste for the project. The staff are on to all these tricks,  and each of these specifically will earn you a downgrade. For an example of what not to do, see UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge's (UCLA law) posted diversity statement. Let's see if he gets that raise.

Jerry links to the UC Rubric to assess candidate contributions to diversity equity and inclusion. It's lovely that they are so secure they don't think they have to hide this sort of thing.

Knowledge Score 1-2:
doesn't discuss gender or ethnicity/race.
Only specific kinds of diversity need apply.
Discusses diversity in vague terms, such as "diversity is important for science."... Little demonstrated understanding of demographic data related to diversity in higher education or in their discipline.
 It's clear they want a recitation of statistics. I suggest you do not start as Bainbridge does,
“A study of various university faculties showed that at Cornell the ratio of liberal to conservative faculty members was 166 to 6, at Stanford it was 151 to 17, at UCLA it was 141 to 9, and at the University of Colorado it was 116 to 5.”[4] 
Continuing with score 1-2
.may state that it's better not to have outreach or affinity groups aimed at underrepresented individuals because it keeps them separate from everyone else, or will make them feel less valued.
A valid worry, which we may not even investigate. I might not mention Justice Thomas' view of affirmative action, born of personal experience, that it stigmatizes people like himself. True or false, but no longer open to inquiry.

Score 4-5:
 Discusses diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values that every faculty member should actively contribute to advancing. 
Clear knowledge of, experience with, and interest in dimensions of diversity that result from different identities, such as ethnic, socioeconomic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and cultural differences
Notice the absence of political, ideological, religious, national.

Track record score 1-2:
Participated in no specific activities, or only one or two limited activities 
Only mentions activities that are already the expectation of faculty... (for example, "I always invite and welcome students from all backgrounds to participate in my research lab, and in fact have mentored several women." ... 
..the only activities were oriented toward informing oneself (for example, attended a workshop at a conference).
score 4-5
Describes multiple activities in depth...Activities may span research, teaching and service, and could include applying their research skills or expertise to investigating diversity, equity and inclusion.
Got that? Your research must now come up with the right answer too. (My emphasis)
...e.g.,  a current graduate student may have volunteered for an extended period of time for an organization or group that seeks to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in science.
Prove you are already a member of our political club.

Your plans score 1-2:
...States that would be happy to "help out" but seems to expect the University or department to invite or assign them to activities.
score 3:
Plans or ideas lacking in detail or clear purpose (for example, if "outreach" is proposed, who is the specific target, what is the type of engagement, and what are the expected outcomes? What are the specific roles and responsibilities of the faculty member? 
score 4-5:
Clear and detailed ideas for what existing programs they would get involved with 
You can't ask for a clearer statement that a candidate will join some groups and not others, and support the existing bureaucracy.
and what new ideas they have for advancing equity and inclusion at Berkeley and within their field, through their research, teaching, and/or service. 
Again, now your scientific research must come up with the right answer, and you must promulgate it in the classroom.
Intends to be a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within the department/school/college and also their field...References activities already taking place at Berkeley and in the field, and how additional or new activities would advance equity and inclusion.
(my emphasis) You can't get a job unless you support our club and our jobs.

The Office of Diversity and Equity website offers additional written guidance.  Choice quotes:
Teaching..Using new pedagogies and classroom strategies to advance equity and inclusion. 
Research:..Research focused on underserved communities.
 Service/professional activities: Participation in workshops and activities that help build multicultural competencies and create inclusive climates....Supporting student organizations that serve underrepresented groups....Participation with professional or scientific associations or meetings that aim to increase diversity or address the needs of underrepresented students, staff, or faculty. Serving on university or college committees related to equity and inclusion...
It's not just thought police, it's belong and actively participate in  the club police!

How does it work? 

Coyne links to an informative internal report on the effect of the diversity pledge on life sciences recruiting, the "Initiative to Advance Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Life Science at UC Berkeley Year End Summary Report: 2018-2019:" by Dr. Rebecca Heald and Dr. Mary Wildermuth:
...participating departments agreed to incorporate interventions in all future faculty recruitments. This change has been more difficult in some departments and has met resistance by a small number of senior faculty members. ...What cannot be emphasized enough is the value of the Initiative in bringing together faculty and staff across departments who share a common passion and set of goals. The Initiative established a group of allies across campus who are valuable resources for support and encouragement, and above all are committed to changing the status quo. With support from the campus leadership, the Life Sciences are now at a cultural and procedural tipping point in advancing faculty diversity, equity and inclusion.
So, the point is as much about internal political battles as it is about hiring "diverse" faculty. Squashing the "resistance" by the "small number" of "senior" faculty members actually willing to risk their necks by speaking out about this. "Bringing together" the faculty -- and staff! -- who "share a common passion and set of goals." Forming a "group of allies." Achieving a "cultural and procedural tipping point."

I'm interested here in the politicization of our institutions. It is interesting that not everyone is on board this project, even in the UC system. There are still Jerry Coynes and Abigail Thompsons at major universities. Much of the project is to force political conformity and silence their dissent within the institution.

The story:
The Berkeley campus committed five FTE for a broad search in the Life Sciences....A total of 993 applications were received, of which 893 met basic qualifications. The LSI Committee conducted a first review and evaluated candidates based solely on contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. Only candidates that met a high standard in this area were advanced for further review, narrowing the pool down to 214 for serious consideration. The remaining applications were then opened to review by the departmental ad-hoc search committees for short-list consideration.
My emphasis. Jerry on this:
 having a cutoff for diversity from the outset indicates that it was actually the most important criterion for a search to proceed further. No matter how good your scholarship, if you didn’t pass the diversity cutoff (a score of 11 in the second search), you were toast. 
The report goes on
...Five finalists were ultimately proposed.... Ultimately, the “cluster search” was one of the most successful interventions of the initiative. It will result in an increase in faculty committed to advancing faculty diversity, equity and inclusion on the campus.
My emphasis again. The game is no longer to advance candidates who are themselves "diverse." The game is to stock the faculty with people of a certified ideological stripe, who are committed to advancing this cause. Tom Sowell need not apply. In case the litmus test is not perfectly clear:
in the first review, the Committee evaluated redacted statements on contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. Limiting the first review to contributions in DE&I is itself a dramatic change of emphasis in the typical evaluation process which generally focuses on primarily on research accomplishments....
...emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the first review is now an agreed practice in these departments. 
The report documents the effects of this selection:
But wait a minute. If the point is to hire African Americans, Hispanics (UC: you're supposed to say Latinx now) and women, why not just ask people what they are and hire them? Indeed the diversity statements were redacted to exclude names precisely so people didn't have that basis to pick more "diverse" candidates.
Without presumptions regarding a candidate’s gender, national origin or ethnicity, reviewers evaluated candidates solely on their statements on accomplishments, depth of understanding, and future plans. 
about "diversity."  Well, because racial and gender quotas are illegal, of course.

In closing, the report notes
Finalists were asked to describe their efforts to promote equity and inclusion, as well as ideas for advancing equity and inclusion at Berkeley, as part of their job talk....Only candidates who demonstrated, through their knowledge, past contributions, and/or future plans for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, potential to meet Berkeley standards were advanced as finalists and ultimately proposed candidates
Jerry comments
I find this process chilling in its commitment to a specific form of social engineering. While I favor affirmative action (many readers here don’t), I think it should be enacted not through eliminating candidates because of insufficient diversity statements, but through departmental initiatives to identify and hire good minority candidates.  You might respond that, well, this is one kind of such initiative. But these hires involve initiatives meant to assure that every person hired is committed to diversity in precise accord with the ranking system...., it enforces not just diversity, which I favor, but ideology, which I don’t. Further, only race and gender were involved here as aspects of “diversity”—not things like class, political viewpoint, background independent of race and sex, and so on.
Nobody should ever be automatically eliminated because their “diversity score” is below 11. If you do that, you will eliminate all those who are good scholars but don’t have a track record in promoting racial and gender diversity, even though they may have been involved in other valued social activities that don’t affect diversity (I’ve mentioned writing about your field for the public and giving talks to high school students to educate and interest them in your field).
This is a good point. Suppose you spent all your copious free time as a scientist activating for climate change, working as a drug addiction counselor, teaching in prisons, or saving endangered species. None of that counts. Of course if you spent your time as a Mormon missionary, activating for second amendment rights, or working for the Federalist society, we know that doesn't count!
... the Berkeley Diversity Mavens have won. By hiring large numbers of deans and administrators whose job is to promote initiatives like the above, colleges like Berkeley have guaranteed that this kind of process will only get more onerous and more invidious. After all, those people have to keep ratcheting up the process to keep their jobs going.  In reality, their goal should be to ultimately make their own jobs obsolete.
An important economic insight. By and large this sort of thing seems to be the result of the diversity equity and inclusion staff, not faculty, who mostly are too busy. The modern university is more and more of the staff by the staff and for the staff.

If faculty and trustees do not like this, or what the admissions office is doing, rise up and take charge. If alumni do not like this, stop giving them money, as I have.

In other news, Yale eliminates art history 1. From Reason magazine,
"the class might make some students uncomfortable due to the "overwhelming" whiteness, maleness, and straightness of the artists who comprise the Western canon..."
"In its final iteration, the course will "consider art in relation to questions of gender, class and race and discuss its involvement with Western capitalism," according to the latest syllabus. Art's relationship to climate change will also be a "key theme." "
The Yale Daily News  adds
The decision to get rid of this survey art history course resembles the English Department’s move to “decolonize” its degree requirements in 2017. At the time, the department made a sequence titled “Major English Poets” optional for majors.
A correspondent (anonymous!) comments, "Next, they'll eliminate their calculus, probability, and statistics courses because of the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of the inventors." True. How can one teach thermodynamics (basically, the physics of steam engines) without a through examination of James' Watt's privilege, and the huge effect of steam engines, the coal mines they drained, the coal they burned, on "western capitalism" and climate change? Well, obviously, someone still takes physics seriously, such as the ability to calculate just how hot the liquid sodium in a solar power plat can be before the whole thing melts. Art history, sadly, not.

Roger Kimball in the Wall Street Journal adds
It is also yet another sign that Yale has succumbed to a life-draining decadence. A decadent institution isn’t necessarily impoverished or licentious. Rather, it is desiccated because it has lost the life-giving pith of its purpose. ...the animating √©lan has evaporated. A decadent institution is one that has repudiated itself. 
This is (to me) a new meaning of "decadent" and a word I have been looking for. A lot of America is "decadent" these days.
The political philosopher James Burnham once observed that “suicide is probably more frequent than murder as the end phase of a civilization.” As Yale has been demonstrating for some years now, elite institutions are eager to take the lead.

More thoughts on the next post in the series

50 comments:

  1. Well. This looks like it smacks of the criterion problem: proper measurement of the "thing" that seeks to be measured. I would be screaming about reliability and validity on these tests/scores based on what I have seen thus far.

    "Politics are a reflection of how you believe society should be organized."

    Yes, but it also reflects beliefs on how resources should be used to attain this utopia. ;)

    Long ago in a Labor Law class we had to deal with issue of Affirmative Action. The problem? Enforcement, which requires some kind of measurement to judge and gauge. Well, now, it seems enforcement is off the rails with this example. It can go the other direction.

    I'm all for equal opportunity and meritocracy. There are those who need access to opportunity and resources - and not because they are somehow deficient, or have some kind of personality disorder or defect.

    This also reminds me of Michel Foucault's "Madness and Civilization." It's about how society has a sort of immune system that seeks to root out those who do not fit into recognizable sanity. History repeating itself? Maybe...

    Best,
    M

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  2. Note that you must affirm an anti-communist loyalty oath to be employed at any UC or California state school. So... politics in the hiring process seem to have been around for at least the last 70 years or so.

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article151143712.html

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    1. Yes.

      And the hope lies in what is always forgotten: The US government never mandated any anti-communist anything [except that immigrants had to swear they were not intending to assassinate the president of the United States]. Rather, anti-communist measures were taken by individual firms, industries, and states, but not all firms, industries, and states!

      The vaunted Hollywood Blacklist was not forced on Hollywood. And on the contrary I know of university department chairmen who ignored the manufactured mood, and lived and thrived.

      Decentralization will save the day.

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    2. What a load of nonsense. No one has been fired from the UC System for being a communist or refusing any oath in my lifetime and I am not young. This is just silly.

      There are more communists in the UC System than there were spectators at a May Day Parade in Moscow.

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    3. Ian Fellows has apparently never heard of Angela Davis, who has never been shy about calling herself a Communist and was a member of the Party until 1991. https://www.yaf.org/news/angela-davis-speaks-at-csula/ She taught at UCLA while I was there in the early sixties and only retired from full-time teaching at UC Santa Cruz in 2008.

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  3. "How can one teach thermodynamics (basically, the physics of steam engines) without a through examination of James' Watt's privilege..."

    https://babylonbee.com/news/yale-med-school-will-stop-teaching-medicine-discovered-by-white-males

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  4. This is a very depressing post. I loathe, detest, and revile identity politics.

    I will vote for any candidate for president who says, "Frankly I do not care about your gender, race, ethnicity or religion. To me, you are citizens, nothing more, and nothing less."

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  5. What have we come to?

    The only answer is competition. This is merely the U of C taking us back to before the Renaissance. Not all universities in the US will do the same. Federalism, as competition, matters.

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  6. Did you see this? The political test spreads.
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/nih-s-new-cluster-hiring-program-aims-help-schools-attract-diverse-faculty?utm_campaign=news_daily_2020-01-30&et_rid=17773329&et_cid=3186295

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  7. At some point the US Supreme Court will have to jump in and shut that charade down. In the meantime, many careers will be destroyed by the Diversity & Inclusion Gauleiters - just like many careers were destroyed by false Title IX accusations.
    One idea could be that the Federal Government cut off all federal funding to the UC system - every penny. No more grants from the NSF, from any Department of the Feds, from any federal agency. If the UC system wants to be a Stalinist island, they should do it with their own money or only California taxpayer money.

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    1. I am not so sure about the destruction of careers. Some brilliant minds will be pushed out of the "University system" and into the world of private companies. So what?. Much better for the private companies hiring them and for most of the "beautiful minds" worth.

      Watch out for this "desease" spreading into private companies, though. ie, by mean of "inclusiveness promoting ways" of scoring proposals in public contracts.

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  8. By the way, the UC system is not the only one.
    Heather McDonald had an article not long ago in the Wall Street Journal about the Diversity & Inclusion Bureaucracy at Yale. Really frightening, for one of the oldest universities in the U.S. Yale spends more money on that, than on academia proper. And its presidents defended that garbage in a letter to the editor of the WSJ. Very sad.

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  9. Thanks, Mr. Cochrane! This is a thought provoking read. I see echoes of the concept in how my science and engineering company is shifting our hiring practices today.

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  10. "Before the twitter mob goes nuts"

    You are years and years too late for this.

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  11. Re: University of Colorado and diversity.
    Boulder, CO is perhaps the whitist place in the world.
    Went to a home basketball game recently, 11,000 fans, I looked around, not a single "person of color" in attendance. Plenty on the court...

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  12. As a parent of teens I'm horrified that soon I will be sending my children off for 4 years of indoctrination into this nonsense. And to add insult to injury, I'm expected to pay $70k per year for the privilege!

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    1. To help with the insult and the injury ...

      https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691174655/the-case-against-education

      Caplan's arguments seem very convincing to me.

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  13. Does Jerry Falwell's Liberty University require you to declare your faith in Jesus Christ as the savior of all (hu)mankind? And the virgin birth and creationism and yadda-yadda-yadda? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.
    Do Catholic universities require you to declare your belief in the Pope as God's emissary to the world? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.
    Why is it a surprise that political institutions are now requiring those who will get access to their (stolen) money to declare their allegiance to the prevailing political beliefs?

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    1. None of the major Catholic universities require that, but there may be some smaller ones that do (especially ones that give clerical degrees). Brigham Young has restrictions on what you can say, though it doesn't seem to require positive affirmation of Mormonism.

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    2. So, the requirement of small religious colleges that their students actually follow the religion is equivalent to huge PUBLIC university systems discriminating against vast swathes of the public who do not agree with government mandated political views?

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    3. Paul, I taught at Loyola of Chicago, a Jesuit school. It was never suggested I declare faith in Christ. Of course, I'm Jewish as were many of the profs teaching there were.

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    4. In fact, if some Catholic ex-academics are to be believed, you actually run a significant risk as an openly pro-life professor at Catholic universities. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/10/16/can-pro-life-scholar-survive-academia

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    5. Ahhh Paul David the good old two wrongs make a right argument. I hadn't heard that for so long that I thought it had gone extinct.

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  14. Seems that if Martin Luther King wanted to teach at a UC, he wouldn't pass the diversity test.

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    1. Yeah, if he presented himself as the politically correct caricature of early MLK that conservatives like to conjure up. Chris Caldwell is more honest; MLK understood that certain freedoms would have to be curtailed for the greater good. Here's your boy MLK the day before they killed him: "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin—we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

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  15. Someone should mount a legal challenge and take this to the courts. It's clearly a political test. On the bright side, I sense that the tide is turning on this sort of stuff in the wider culture. I was much more worried about these issues a handful of years ago than I am today.

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  16. Allan Bloom forecast this 30 years ago in his book The Closing of the American Mind. I thought reasonable people would turn this movement around, but clearly that was naive.

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  17. John, as a university staff, I think you are wrong in blaming administration for these dacronian measures. I can assure you that these ridiculous diversity initiatives have their roots in the faculty and student bodies. At my institution, it was the faculty unions who pushed really hard for equity, diversity and inclusion policies. A minor but very loud portion of students also heckled deans,provosts and presidents at every opportunity because they were complacent with the diversity issue. And don't forgot that these poisonous ideas didn't start with some uni admin sitting in their cubicle thinking on how to increase racial represantion in the school. The theoretical framework comes precisely from academia. You (faculty) need to be less corporavist. Your class started the mess and continues to engage in. Who do you think sits on these diversity, equity and inclusion commitees? At least 80% comprises of faculty (and dare I say more often than not economiste amongst them).

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  18. Universities have always screened on speech. A disagreeable assistant professor that makes ad hominem attacks against senior colleagues will probably not get tenure, regardless of how many AERs he/she churns out. Freedom of speech does not mean that you are free to say anything you want with no consequences. Importantly, some kinds of speech are highly correlated with actions that go against the university's mission—meaning that speech is a signal. An academic who publicly denies the Holocaust or has a Nazi flag in his office would also be likely to discriminate against Jewish students. Instead of waiting for the tort to be committed, why not screen ex-ante on the speech? In a similar vein, organizations want to hire people that understand and agree with their mission statements. Nowadays the university’s mission includes creating inclusive learning environments, so submitting a diversity statement is a way to signal that. Refusal to submit one signals that you don’t really prioritize that goal. This seems like a reasonable way for an organization to behave.

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    1. An "inclusive learning environment" requires that some learning actually takes place. How is this supposed to happen if the environment doesn't include people with differing views and values who question the status quo?

      You seem to be suggesting that only "yes men" should be hired.

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    2. Ok. Should there a place at the university for people who disagree with its mission? Maybe, but probably not. Why? because such a person is likely to undertake actions that goes against the university's mission. Well, what if the mission is wrong? Then markets would act by punishing the organizations with the 'bad' mission and rewarding the organizations with the 'good' mission. But obviously that doesn't seem to be the case. Berkeley isn't losing out on top chemists to Liberty university...

      Finally, the only person that surrounds himself with sycophantic 'yes men' is the president of the united states.

      Delete
    3. Might there be a difference between, on one hand, screening out candidates because they have expressed an undesirable (e.g. racist) view and, on the other hand, screening out candidates because they have not expressed commitment to a desired view?

      Delete
  19. On the other hand, the country is undergoing a dramatic demographic change, and it cannot allow passive or active opponents of the process. The new majority (Hispanic) must necessarily be represented in the elite, the academy. That seems to be the real effect as the proportion of white candidates (53%) was reduced to 13% while Hispanic was rebalanced from 13 to 59%. Jews used to make up 20 - 30% of the successful candidates; in the new system their chances are like in Brezhnev's Soviet Union.

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  20. In March 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9835, creating the "Federal Employees Loyalty Program" establishing political-loyalty review boards who determined the "Americanism" of Federal Government employees, and requiring that all federal employees to take an oath of loyalty to the United States government. It then recommended termination of those who had confessed to spying for the Soviet Union, as well as some suspected of being "Un-American". This led to more than 2,700 dismissals and 12,000 resignations from the years 1947 to 1956.[19] It also was the template for several state legislatures' loyalty acts, such as California's Levering Act. The House Committee on Un-American Activities was created during the Truman administration as a response to allegations by republicans of disloyalty in Truman's administration.[19] The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the committees of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R., Wisc.) conducted character investigations of "American communists" (actual and alleged), and their roles in (real and imaginary) espionage, propaganda, and subversion

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    1. Fail. HUAC was created during the FDR administration, not the Truman administration.

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  21. Great piece. I hope you can provide a boiled-down version of your economic view of political polarization - something a [mis]educated layperson could understand. Do you think there's a connection between the economic effects of immigration and the supercharged partisanship we're currently seeing?

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  22. The result of infiltration by the Trump re-election campaign.

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  23. Let the whole lot crash and burn, I says. But no worries, the "classic liberals" (as defined herein) are well positioned to rise as the requisite phoenix. Best way ever to separate the wheat from the chaff, eh?

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  24. " having a cutoff for diversity from the outset indicates that it was actually the most important criterion for a search to proceed further. No matter how good your scholarship, if you didn’t pass the diversity cutoff (a score of 11 in the second search), you were toast."

    Supposedly (not sure if it is true), during the French Revolution, an appeal to save the life of Lavoisier failed and the judge said

    "The Republic has no need of scientists or chemists (or geniuses according to some sources); the course of justice cannot be delayed.""

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  25. Without agreeing with them, I must say that I admire the ingenuity of the administrators who came up with a way of accomplishing their "diversity" goals without using prohibited quotas. I believe that the costs of using these diversity statements to winnow the candidates will be far greater than the benefits. There will also be unintended consequences...we live in interesting times.

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    1. Unknown. Good point. Economics POV. I suspect there is a cost to discriminatory practice. Would discrimination decline if the price of discrimination rises? For example. Would a University be willing to forego a possible Nobel or Fields Medal winner, as in the person of Abigail Thomson, who refuses to agree to this policy?

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    2. Another interesting and related viewpoint from Gavin Haynes at https://unherd.com/2020/01/cast-out-how-knitting-fell-into-a-purity-spiral/. Referenced from Marginal Revolution.

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  26. ”But wait a minute. If the point is to hire African Americans, Hispanics (UC: you're supposed to say Latinx now) and women, why not just ask people what they are and hire them?”

    Maybe that’s not the point? Did you ever consider that the ideology test is precisely for the underrepresented minorities?

    Nothing undermines this ideology more than a dissenting minority! In sciences there are more than a few of us who aren’t on board with 100% of the rhetoric involving diversity - our differing viewpoints can’t be dismissed as racism.

    My viewpoint is born out of my experience in university life. Working multiple jobs and having one wonderful professor who had been inspired as a high school student of Jaime Escalante. She gave me rides to work after class so I could take her differential equations course. She inspired me by reminding me that no matter how unfair life seems; math is not! I find this message of power much more empowering than a recognition of math being structurally racist...

    That this messaging contradicts the prevailing view of diversity and power and privilege in academia is obviously inconvenient but also difficult to invalidate - which is why it must be screened out beforehand!

    There is some irony that they can’t give the test only to minorities (that would be racist) so all faculty have to take part in a process whose most useful feature is the screening out of “dangerous minorities.”


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    1. Sadly, even mathematics is not immune. In a Notable and Quotable in the Wall Street Journal, they quote Tian An writing on the website of the American Mathematical Society on January 31: "Last semester, I developed a class called Inequalities: Numbers and Justice, aimed towards non-majors...We explored how notions of fairness and equality have been considered from the point of view of mathematics and economics. What ways were these ideas defined, and given the definitions, how can they be measured? We covered topics ranging from the misuses of statistics to gerrymandering to racial capitalism and climate change. In the end, students were able to appreciate the complexities of fairness, the deep inequities that capitalism produces, and questioned the idea that mathematics is politically neutral."

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  27. Surely the this-will-never-stand-up-in-court crowd doesn't think Janet Napolitano is daft enough to have moved forward without having had this DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, Equity) program reviewed by plenty of lawyers.

    In fact, the general counsel of my own university, in a moment of candor that surprises me even months later, explained the role of the diversity statement in affirmative action programs. This was triggered in part by the Harvard case re: discrimination against Asian American applicants.

    The main point was NEVER to mention demographics (which I use as a catch-all to include race/gender/orientation/affluence) in writing as a criterion, even if you want to use those. Diversity statements give you the screen to implement demographic-based selection policies, as follows:

    1. in the job posting, make a formal statement about wanting faculty composition to match the student population. This is important in order to avoid being sued for acting arbitrarily in a particular case.

    2. also in the job posting, say that "URMs are *encouraged* (or especially encouraged) to apply." that is the careful phrasing. NEVER say that demographics will be a key criterion, and of course not that the job is limited to certain demographics. In emails, never say that "we must have applicants in the pool."

    3. as part of the application process require candidates to submit a "diversity statement" in which they testify to their wokeness. the statement is CRITICAL because it gives the excuse that candidate A was (de)selected not because of his/her/their demographics but because he/she/they wrote a crummy diversity statement. "after all," as our general counsel chuckled, "It's possible that a 6'4" Nordic guy could write a great diversity statement!"

    the diversity statement therefore provides a subjective vehicle through which objective demographic preferences can be driven. that's why they are popping up all over. some places like UC they even make candidates testify verbally about their DIE plans.

    it is a rather clever legal strategy, one that may be challenged but which has certainly been thought through. perhaps some careless department chair will do us all a favor by mistakenly mentioning demographics in email: "XYZ is our top candidate, helps that she is african american" instead of "XYZ is our top candidate, had a terrific diversity statement."

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    1. But the same crowd that pushes for these diversity policies also use the "disparate impact" theory as evidence of racism everywhere else. So that tool can simply be flipped around. The fact that any individual black candidate is 13 times more likely to be on the short list than a white candidate, is strong evidence of racial discrimination.

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  28. People ain't gonna change much in one or two generations. Polarization is only seeming. It has come about by the democratization of presidential selection through multitudinous primaries, from 1968 on. The people who vote in primaries are highly motivated extremists. Politicians must appeal to such in the first instance.

    Democracy is great, and the trick is knowing when to stop.

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  29. It's not enough just to wear the Hitler Youth uniform so you can pretend fit in. You'd better be attending meetings, publicly denouncing others, and occasionally punching an undesirable on the street if you want to be safe from the woke mob. Otherwise, they're eventually coming after you.

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