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Arizona universities drop 'diversity' statement requirements on job applications following backlash
Photographer: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona universities drop 'diversity' statement requirements on job applications following backlash

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative organization, called it a "huge victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment" on Tuesday when Arizona public universities eliminated their "diversity" statement requirements on job applications.

A January report from the Goldwater Institute revealed that up to 80% of job posts for positions within Arizona public universities pushed applicants to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The organization found that diversity statements were required from applicants on approximately 28% of University of Arizona job advertisements, 73% of Northern Arizona University's ads, and 81% of Arizona State University's postings.

The report found that some applicants were required to submit DEI states as opposed to traditional cover letters. Those statements asked candidates to provide details regarding their activism and commitment to critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

"The Goldwater Institute's report rang the alarm bell, exposing the intentions of campus DEI officers to impose these political litmus tests on every single faculty job applicant to Arizona's public universities. By documenting the rapid and destructive proliferation of these diversity statements, the Institute galvanized supporters of free speech within the university community and helped ensure that this corrosive practice was retired," a Goldwater Institute spokesperson told TheBlaze.

The group argued that the mandatory DEI statements on job applications are being used as a "political litmus test" to "screen out insufficiently progressive candidates," effectively ensuring university campuses foster "intellectual and political conformity in support of leftwing concepts."

"Diversity statements function as little more than political litmus tests that actually reduce diversity of thought in higher education. Their elimination from Arizona's public universities will help ensure that qualified candidate of all backgrounds will be welcome to apply to the institutions," the Goldwater Institute spokesperson added.

The group's report appears to have successfully pressured Arizona universities to ditch the requirements.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Board of Regents announced that the state's public universities had dropped DEI statements from job applications.

A spokesperson from the board told the Arizona Republic that the state's universities "never" required "DEI statements" from applicants. However, several job listings posted by the universities revealed that the statements were mandated.

The board's spokesperson noted that some applications may still "request" a diversity statement but assured that the universities are in the process of removing those requests.

Veronica Sanchez, a spokesperson for ASU, told the Arizona Republic that the university has one of the most diverse student populations in the country and that the use of diversity statements "is not essential to ASU's commitment to inclusive excellence found in the ASU charter."

When asked about current job listings that require a diversity statement, Sanchez explained, "It's important to note that sometimes removing certain job postings online takes time."

The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University did not reply to a request for comment from the Arizona Republic.

The Goldwater Institute urged lawmakers and the public "to remain vigilant to ensure that university administrators do not try to implement other back doors to screen out ideological diversity."

A spokesperson told TheBlaze, "The Institute is working with our allies to fully restore the academic integrity of higher education and uproot the toxic DEI regime altogether. We are working to abolish university DEI bureaucracies, shut down their campus thought police (known as 'bias reporting systems'), and promote the 'Freedom From Indoctrination Act' to protect students and faculty from mandated DEI course requirements in higher education."

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