The Tyranny of Required Diversity Statements--An Ideological Litmus Test for a Job as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Olaf College

If you want to teach mathematics at St. Olaf College, you must first demonstrate that you are acceptably woke.

One cannot help but notice what an inordinate and enormous amount of space is taken up by left-wing verbiage in this job ad for a position as an assistant professor of mathematics at the school.

It is worth quoting that part of the ad in full. I have bolded the parts that are designed to hand over the power to bar non-woke applicants to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) officials--who seem to be running the hiring process at St. Olaf College:


At St. Olaf, we are committed to equity and inclusion. We strive to be a campus of welcome where students, faculty, and staff thrive by bringing their full humanity—gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic class, disability, religion, spirituality, and age—to the Hill each day. Our goal is to generate conversations and processes that over time create greater clarity, transparency, trust, cooperation, consensus, respect, and measurable outcomes. Practices that support this goal include listening, cultivating a growth mindset, respecting those with different views, being informed by data, and understanding that the work is ongoing, collaborative, organic, and ever evolving.

We encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan to learn more about our commitment and to identify how you might contribute to these efforts. Please use the required diversity statement to describe how you would contribute to the development of a diverse and inclusive learning community at our college through your teaching, research, and/or service. Include examples of your contributions when possible.

The “work” does not seem to have much to do with the teaching of mathematics. It is all about generating “conversations” that “create greater clarity.” If, say, you oppose the obliteration of the word “women” and are not keen on using phrases like “people with uteruses” then you are not “cultivating a growth mindset” and you will not be hired by St. Olaf College to teach math (or anything else).

But given that the woke ad writers are keen on “being informed by data,” I decided to take them up on their suggestion to familiarize myself with their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

Now, bear in mind that a lot of the wording that I am going to quote here sounds innocuous enough. But in practice, much of what looks on paper to be benign is actually compelled speech and discrimination against anyone who is even slightly non-woke.

Let’s start with this:

Develop and sustain an inclusive, culturally-competent community that intentionally engages, uplifts and celebrates all diversity; removes barriers to full participation in the St. Olaf community and to a St. Olaf education; provides opportunities for students and faculty and staff members to thrive at St. Olaf; and holds all members of the St. Olaf community accountable for the realization of this plan.

All diversity? As a woman, does that mean I will have to sign letters of congratulation to men who claim to be women and who demand the right to compete against actual women in sporting events? Would I be held “accountable” if I refused to address an obviously male student as “she?”

And what does this mean:

Ensure the development of an inclusive, culturally-humble and culturally-competent community.

Culturally-humble? As in being denied the right to refer to such concepts as American Exceptionalism?

As to this:

Communicate visible and credible messages of belonging in the college’s signature events, and in spaces and public artwork.

Would I be forced to put a Gay Pride flag on the desk in my office or a Pride Month sticker on my office door?

And this sounds oh so friendly to those with moderate or conservative viewpoints:

In the curriculum and classroom setting, explore and engage with diversity and related social, political, religious, and/or cultural dynamics where appropriate.

This sounds downright sinister and scarily subjective:

Examine personnel processes for faculty and staff, including hiring, training and development, performance and tenure and promotion reviews for elements of bias.

And it is now not sufficient for the wokesters at St. Olaf College that staff there be tolerant, decent people. No, faculty and others have to “celebrate” lifestyles that they may not approve of for moral reasons (and there is that creepy word “accountable” again—as in getting fired or passed over for promotion or not hired at all):

Hold ourselves accountable for the success of the plan through assessment, reporting, action, and celebration.

And like conservatives are going to feel comfortable in this atmosphere:

Gather and regularly review and evaluate information from the community about the campus climate.

And who is going to gather and review and evaluate this information? DEI bureaucrats, of course.

Not that in coming years there are going to be any non-woke teachers at St. Olaf College:

Incorporate candidates’ contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring decisions and personnel, tenure and promotion reviews.

And this is straight out the Maoist Cultural Revolution:

“Learning Circles” for faculty and staff addressed topics such as implicit bias, structures of oppression and privilege, and cultural identity.

It is vital to indoctrinate students from Day One:

Continue to use Opening Day to address issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion

And staff from their first day of employment:

Develop training modules for new faculty and staff members as part of orientation

Make sure women have less and less privacy and are forced to share previously intimate spaces with men and men who think they are women--and we women are supposed to celebrate these losses:

Include gender-neutral options in planning for housing and restrooms.

Anyone who doubts that the left controls the keys to modern academia, need only read this:

• Candidates for tenure track faculty positions are expected to discuss what particular contributions they can make to supporting and furthering diversity at St. Olaf.

All advertised staff position descriptions include in the list of expected skills and abilities demonstrated “ability and willingness to support, respect and commit to embracing diverse backgrounds, values and points of view to build a strong and inclusive community including faculty, staff, students and constituents”

• Consideration of information about the demographic breakdown of faculty members and majors and concentrators is required for all department and program reviews.

Or this:

pursuing research that incorporates elements of diversity

or this (I love the use of the word “invite” here):

Invite staff members to include equity and inclusion goals in their Individual Professional Development Plans. For example, an individual might include as a goal attending presentations or taking an on-line module to enhance knowledge and/or abilities.

• Incorporate consideration of contributions to supporting the college’s goals of equity and inclusion in performance reviews of staff members and administrators.

• Require department and program reviews to speak directly to how they support the college’s equity and inclusion goals.

Well, this is a warm and welcoming environment.

And remember—this is not just about obeying existing fair and just civil rights and anti-discrimination laws as all of us as citizens must do. This is about forcing people to validate--make that celebrate--queer lifestyles, transgenderism and the anti-white racism of much of critical race theory.

And if the above quotes don’t sound Orwellian enough for you, try this:

Annual reports required of faculty members and curricular departments and programs now include a prompt to discuss contributions in support of diversity as part of a number of institutional priorities. This year, a separate prompt will elicit input from individuals, departments, and programs to discuss their contributions to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Beep--you forgot to say you are a white supremacist and are sorry and will try to do better. Beep.

Or this (note the language so redolent of police states “a variety of instruments”):

The Council on Equity and Inclusion solicits input from the college community through a variety of instruments, including weekly “office hours” and an on-line form.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen to an early career faculty member who said in an online form, “I am so sorry—I was so busy grading papers and preparing for lectures that I did not have time to pay obeisance to the woke gods this week.”

And people wonder why small liberal arts colleges are closing in droves. It might have something to do with the fact that they are placing wokeness above academic excellence and vocational training.

Why would someone skilled in mathematics bother teaching at St. Olaf College and have to prostrate himself or herself periodically before the petty tyrants of wokeness?

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