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Swear Fealty To Diversity, Or You’re Out

I’ve told the story a dozen times, but allow me to bore you with it once more for the sake of new readers, and for emphasizing the story below.

The last—and final—time I interviewed for a university professorship, was in a math department. I flew through the interview fine. Until the last question, asked of me by two mathematicians: “Were you ever involved in any diversity initiatives?”

This was like asking a steakhouse owner if he had ever been involved in any vegan initiatives.

Any employment in any western university is, for me, thus impossible. To be fair, I not only loathe the god Diversity, but just one week’s Insanity & Doom installment is enough to torpedo my chances. Not that I’d want to voluntary place myself among the heathen, thank you very much.

Mathematicians can no longer hide behind their theorems. The Diversity Thought Police are after them. The story is mathematicians at UCLA “have to pledge in writing a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.”

In fact, all professors applying for a tenure-track position at UCLA must write a statement on their commitment to diversity, showing, for example, their “record of success advising women and minority graduate students,” according to the UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Such mandated statements reflect a push by college bureaucrats “to ratchet up the requirements” to achieve more diverse campuses, said Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars. Until recently, diversity programs tended to focus on mandatory training and sanctions for policy violators.

Now “you have to make a public confession of faith,” said Wood. “You’re essentially citing a creed,” and “all the more effectively, they force you to put that creed into your own words.”

I’m not against statements of faith and oaths of fealty, mind you. I am against putting incense into the fire to worship false gods. And there are no more false gods than Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Triumvirate of Evil. The three-headed gatekeeper of Hell.

It’s not only UCLA: “UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and UC Berkeley all require such statements. UC Santa Cruz requires them for candidates for faculty Senate positions.”

The written pledges are used to “identify candidates who have the professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage activities that will advance our campus diversity and equity goals,” said Judy Piercey, senior director of strategic communications at UC San Diego.

There are big incentives to achieving tenure. Not only do tenured professors typically make tens of thousands of dollars more annually than their non-tenured colleagues (full professors can make more than twice as much as instructors and lecturers) but they cannot be fired except in the most extraordinary cases.

Judy girl there nails it: willingness to engage activities that will advance our campus diversity and equity goals. This isn’t so much a pinch of incense, but the requirement of routine shovelfuls.

Now it is obvious to any non-university employee that goals of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are the opposite of the goals of mathematics. Mathematics is unequal, non-diverse, and exclusive to the nth degree. It’s hard.

Well, we all know that.

Wood says “Most will probably regard the requirement as no big deal and write a statement”. They’ll think their complicity is nothing; besides, what’s a little Equality, Diversity & Inclusion? They’ll still be able to work, right?

Do you really think it will stop with some dumb statement?

UC Merced sociologist Tanya Golash-Boza advises professors, “Do not write a throwaway diversity statement.” In her experience, job candidates’ diversity statement are “scrutinized.” Strong statements reflected candidates’ “experiences teaching first-generation college students, their involvement with LGBTQ student groups, their experiences teaching in inner-city high schools and their awareness of how systematic inequalities affect students’ ability to excel.”

Scrutinized, as in the less able mathematicians are preferred over the more ideological one. And just what does LGBTQWERTY have to do with proving theorems? Nothing is no longer an acceptable answer. The identity of the person making a claim carries more weight than truth.

Mathematicians, like every other field, had better start handing out awards, editorships, positions, perks, and whatnot to official victims, and they had better do it fast. Of course, doing so it slitting their own throat, but only slowly. Because the more Equal, Diverse, and Inclusive a department becomes, for the sake Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity, the worse it becomes.

So hurry and create new categories of awards, and even redefines what “good” mathematics is. Or you can find yourself out beyond the gate. Bit-by-bit compromise is better than speaking out and losing your job all at once.

16 thoughts on “Swear Fealty To Diversity, Or You’re Out Leave a comment

  1. Ohio State University not only has the mandatory SJW oath, it also requires proof that candidates have participated in pro-diversity activities in the past. And for quite some time, OSU has advertised tenure track positions that only women and/or minorities can apply for. There are three in my former department alone.

    Yesterday, I received an email from the Provost and the Senior VP for “Talent, Culture, and Human Resources” [sic] announcing a mandatory online course on sexual harassment. All faculty, staff and students must log on to the course and participate in it. Participation will be monitored. Punishments for non-participation have not yet been announced.

    As Professor Emeritus I don’t intend to bother with that nonsense. It might cost me emeritus status, my email account, my library privileges, my faculty club membership, and free parking, but those aren’t very important nowadays.

  2. “Scrutinized, as in the less able mathematicians are preferred over the more ideological one.”

    Hmm. Comparing two things using comparative adjectives is so hard, isn’t it?

    Maybe you are passed over because of your Doom articles. Or maybe someone noticed your routine errors of science, mathematics, and logic. We all prefer the explanation that’s more comforting to us.

  3. State universities shouldn’t be able to interrogate you about personal opinions, sooooo…

    All leftist opinions are redefined as not personal. It’s just basic morality along the lines of including a statement like “I am not a murderer”.

    I’m grieved and angered by a lot, but I’m mostly grieved that we just lose all the time. It’s always easier to give in until it’s impossible to fight back. That’s been the strategy so far at least.

    That’s why you never feed the monster a cookie. Not even once.

  4. American universities are fleecing students by selling them useless educations for huge amounst of money and saddle them with lots of debt. So they add a barrier for people willing to paticipate in the looting. Why is that a big deal?

  5. Sander, you have a very good point.

    But can we agree in a better system universities would serve a very good and very useful purpose, and that this purpose would not be furthered by this sort of silliness?

    And unfortunately it is the case that what actual education takes place has to be filtered in large part through these institutions.

  6. In other news, happy Berlin Wall day. 11 November 1989 – freedom defeated tyranny.

    I understand that Lee is probably still grieving the Soviet’s loss in the Cold War, but we can’t all be happy all the time.

  7. There are universities that would have Briggs. He doesn’t want them. Forget the basket cases you listed above.

    Ordinary Universities. They will all, I’m guessing, have a template written policy about the triad you mention, but beyond that, standards vary greatly, obviously and having such a policy is like ticking a box for an organisation. It’s cynical. Not everywhere is like the madhouses of insanity and Doom.

    If a university says it is committed to diversity….etc etc, and so on and so forth, you don’t have to be! Just don’t tell them what you think and there’s no reason there should be any problems.
    You won’t be interviewing the students!

    Still think you should have your own private course for your own clever students who want to study hard sums. Charge them the going rate, teach them in a cheap local venue or on line and if planned well enough in advance you would have the kind of students you prefer.

    John B illustrates the fact that it isn’t all Doom and Gloom out there. It feels and looks that way, I will admit.

  8. Sure, diversity initiatives might cause less-qualified applicants to be given priority over more qualified applicants. At least for a while, as those initiatives are underway.

    Ever consider a different way of examining the objective of those initiatives?

    Anti-discrimination / anti-prejudice in hiring — that isn’t so bad an objective as an end. But maybe the issue is more about the means to that end? Maybe it isn’t an either/or problem — diversity initiative good vs. bad, so much as about how far they go in a given implementation?

    We all have our biases and prejudices — its an integral part of human nature, we like [are biased toward] those that are like ourselves (and, we like those we’d like to be more alike). As a result discrimination subtle and overt, can and has festered. Diversity initiatives strive to introduce real objectivity.

    In that regard they are trying to undo the bit of human nature known as the Pygmalion Effect–here’s a good article about it: http://discovermagazine.com/2015/dec/14-great-expectations

    Get rid our our subtle biases, or, work to ensure they don’t have an undue adverse impact on those most susceptible to negative influence, and over broad society good things will happen.

    Certainly many diversity initiatives go too far in some direction(s); the Atlantic’s, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” dissects much of this in quite some detail.

    But for a prospective university professor, teaching, typically, to a white male student body … how can s/he show they have what it takes to reach out to the broader community? How can they show they are not going to let subtle biases continue to demotivate and demoralize the minorities that now make up a huge proportion of society via their subconscious (or maybe not) application of the Pygmalion Effect in the worst way?

    When Briggs [and many other readers here] was young business pretty much took for granted that white males would run industry, at all levels. With globalization over the past few decades and the progression of numerous countries from 3rd- & 2nd- to 1st-world status, competition is keen worldwide and U.S. (and every other country’s industry) needs to hire and retain the very best they can. No longer can a society or its industry stay pre-eminent if it is willing to stick with the white male-as-business leader mindset — that leaves out half, or more, of the prospective employment candidates who might be better, even much much better (i.e., women and other minorities).

    Universities understand this — their market is students, and, the businesses that hire their grads. As such, universities are under some pressure, from their business/industrial customers, to produce a strong pool of competent graduates. Industry expects to see a depth and breadth of talent to pick from…and a university that isn’t graduating such breadth (e.g. is overwhelmingly white middle-/-upper class male) probably isn’t producing the right kind of depth that can function effectively in a globalized world economy.

    CONSIDER this bit from the essay:

    University’s hiring based in part on a prospective teacher’s diversity statements appreciate how “…their awareness of how systematic inequalities affect students’ ability to excel.”

    TO which Briggs responds: “Scrutinized, as in the less able mathematicians are preferred over the more ideological one. And just what does LGBTQWERTY have to do with proving theorems? Nothing is no longer an acceptable answer. The identity of the person making a claim carries more weight than truth.”

    Which shows he misses a very fundamental point — its not all about teaching a subject (though that is certainly important), its ALSO about inspiring the minds and souls of ALL the students, from ALL backgrounds and experiences, beyond merely teaching subject matter facts:

    If you as a prospective faculty/teacher cannot demonstrate that your teaching approach will be tailored to reach every member of a diverse student body such that those students from deprived environments, environments very different from the campus majority [white middle class male] demographic’s, how can we as a hiring authority be sure that you will not present a teaching approach that contributes to those minority student’s continued marginalization? Put another way, how can we but conclude that the Pygmalion Effect, in your case, will continue to work to the detriment of what has become a huge proportion of the student population — by demotivating the minorities that undoubtedly include future superstars of industry needed to keep the country preeminent in the world?

    THAT is the issue worth addressing. To diminish diversity initiatives as akin to “pure evil” because some, or many, try to do too much or go too far in some direction or other is like saying the baby shouldn’t be bathed because some will throw the baby away with the bath water.

  9. What a crock Ken. We are talking Math. Have you ever been in a Upper level Math Class. You see Greek letters and sometimes numbers. That’s it. WTF does diversity have to do with that?

  10. Per, Chesterton had something to say about that.

    “Will ye part with the weeds for ever?
    Or show daisies to the door?
    Or will you bid the bold grass
    Go, and return no more?

    “So ceaseless and so secret
    Thrive terror and theft set free;
    Treason and shame shall come to pass
    While one weed flowers in a morass;
    And like the stillness of stiff grass
    The stillness of tyranny.

  11. @Ken

    The best universities arrange things so that the *inspiring* students want to go there.

    If you go to an university and need inspiration to keep you there, you are in the wrong place.

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