The Ohio State University’s Engineering School Mandates Diversity Statements From Job Applicants

(Screenshot/YouTube/The Ohio State University)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Engineering requires potential hires to submit a statement detailing their commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), according to a rubric published on its website.

The rubric is used by search committees to weigh candidates who “demonstrate commitments and capacities to contribute to the College of Engineering’s mission, vision and inclusive excellence goals,” according to the document. The document provides sample questions interviewers can ask candidates to gauge their “awareness,” “experience” and “plan” to pursue DEI and a scale for interviewers to rate overall responses. (RELATED: Half Of Professors Believe Diversity Statements ‘Violate Academic Freedom,’ Survey Finds)

The scale rates candidates with “limited,” “vague” or “unclear” responses about DEI lower than candidates who provided “sophisticated” or well-thought out answers to how they would advance and promote DEI, the rubric reads. Sample questions include asking for a candidate’s plan to advance DEI in the open position, how a candidate already demonstrates a commitment to DEI and how they navigate challenges of working in a diverse environment.

National Association of Scholars Senior Fellow and Director of University policy John Sailer drew attention to the rubric on Tuesday, sharing on Twitter that the college “gives a high score to candidates who display a sophisticated understanding of demographic identity.”

“The Ohio State College of Engineering rubric is typical of the worst DEI-offenders in higher education,” Sailer told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It might be surprising that Ohio State University is among the worst offenders, but it is.”

Sailer pointed to an open tenure-track position in the college’s nuclear engineering program which requires applicants submit a diversity statement alongside curriculum vitae, a 2-3 page statement of research and testing and references. The statement should explain a candidates’ commitment to DEI and “provide specific examples such as teaching and/or mentoring students from underrepresented backgrounds, outreach activities to underrepresented groups, or conducting research that address social inequities,” according to the job listing.

The statement is listed as a requirement for several other job listings as well, according to the college’s website.

“At this point, it’s clear that the solution won’t come from within the university,” Sailer said. “If this problem is going to be solved, it’ll have to be through strong legislation.”

Lawmakers in several states have turned their attention to outlawing diversity statement use in university hiring and admission policies. Florida, Utah and West Virginia have filed bills that would ban considering diversity statements and Texas warned university leaders in February that such standards were illegal.

OSU and the College of Engineering did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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