A public university in Ohio could soon assign faculty applicants a diversity and inclusion score and dismiss candidates who fail to provide a diversity statement, according to emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Bowling Green State University president Rodney Rogers announced to faculty in April that on May 1 the school would pilot a diversity and inclusion question for employee applicants over the next year. As part of the updated application process, job candidates will be docked points for failing to share personal experiences with diversity and inclusion, or “not addressing their own positionality” as it relates to diversity and inclusion.
American colleges and universities have in recent years asked prospective hires to include diversity and inclusion statements in their applications. Such questions are mainstays of the hiring process in the University of California system and elsewhere. Critics have likened the practice to McCarthyism and argue that public, government-funded institutions requiring its faculty to make such statements constitutes compelled speech.
Bowling Green’s new hiring system lets faculty hiring committees select among five questions to determine where an applicant falls on a five-point diversity and inclusion scale.
To earn a perfect score, an applicant must demonstrate “clear knowledge of, experience with, and interest in dimensions of diversity that result from different identities,” including an applicant’s personal experience. Applicants will fare poorly if they don’t “discuss identity,” or state that they have “had little experience with these issues.”
Rogers’s email asked faculty to weigh in on the pilot program and noted that the new application process will be reworked or abandoned if it fails to provide the university with a more diverse pool of applicants.
Bowling Green administrators, including the diversity office, did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
The new application process is a “key component” of Bowling Green’s Diversity and Belonging Comprehensive Strategy and Plan, according to the emails. Published last May, the 24-page document asserts that the university will work to “remedy” the fact that “not all people are afforded the same resources, treatment, and opportunity.”
The diversity strategy is Bowling Green’s latest effort to create a more equitable environment. The school launched the BGSU Allies program in 2019 with a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, which “seeks to develop and disseminate systemic approaches” to boost “gender equity” in the sciences.
BGSU Allies offers workshops and online training modules in addition to a library of “antiracism” materials. One document with “antiracism” resources for white families touts the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project, works from “anti-racism” scholar Ibram X. Kendi, as well as a list of “resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children.”
A university employee told the Free Beacon that he believes the school is already diverse and has made efforts to reach out to kids of all races and ethnicities from poorer communities.
“We should evaluate kids based on merits, not skin color or identity or such and such demographic or gender,” the employee said.