The Woke Takeover of University Presidencies: Employment Discrimination in Plain Sight

We are all used to leftism prevailing in academia. But the takeover of the left has now veered off into outright employment discrimination at tax-payer-funded institutions. Major state universities are now openly ruling out offering college presidencies to those who do not adhere to woke ideology in the guise of “social justice.” This is alarming and outrageous. Taxpayers are now subsidizing the social re-engineering of state schools that are meant to serve the entire population and not just the far left.

A notable example of the use of woke phraseology to screen out from the get-go anyone of moderate (let alone conservative) views is the search for a new president of Oregon State University.

Note that the search advisory committee is dominated by people with a vested interest in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) industry. Good luck finding anyone on that committee who is remotely conservative. The whole search process has been rigged from the start.

And what does this closed, self-serving community say is the key qualification for a president of Oregon State University, a major research institution? You guessed it: a commitment to inclusivity. What is really being sought is someone to whom the buzzwords of our time can be applied (e.g., “authentic” “thought leader”). Read for yourself, the document entitled Presidential Profile 2022.

What is being engineered here is not just a commitment to fairness to all at Oregon State University. That is not good enough. What is required is that the new president be someone who has spent a good deal of time of time proving how woke he or she is and that becomes the primary criterion, not administrative ability or scholarly achievement. This is a recipe for choosing a candidate who excels at left-wing virtue signaling:

The president must have a proven track record of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and in holding others accountable to do the same, along with a deep understanding of educational and social issues facing the university and the nation and how they impact OSU and its students, faculty, staff and communities.

Gosh, I wonder if “social issues” includes a pro-life stance or a commitment to free speech and academic freedom.

Note that the new president can’t just seek excellence per se—he or she has to assume that certain groups are incapable of displaying it and have to be babied and favored in the most condescending way possible:

The president should prioritize leading an Oregon State University community that advances inclusive excellence for all in learning, employment and community engagement.

“Inclusive excellence,” by the way, is an aggressive form of affirmative action and wokeism that is designed to insert DEI apparatchiks into every aspect of an organization’s operations. And “inclusive” does not encompass viewpoint diversity. It is based on race, gender, etc.

The new president, according to this document and vision, will be a person of the left who will exploit his or her position in order to advance the woke social agenda:

The president will be a leader in advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice while working to end racism within higher education and the university community. The president will have the courage of conviction, be a recognized thought leader on educational and social issues, and take stands on topics important to the university and its constituents.

That wouldn’t politicize a tax-payer-funded institution of higher education, now would it?

Lest potential candidates who are not woke have not picked so far up on the fact that they would have no hope of ever becoming president of Oregon State University, the document states that applicants must show:

A deep personal commitment to and a significant track record in advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice; an understanding of the importance of pursuing inclusive excellence to meet the mission of a modern university; and a demonstrated ability and desire to work with people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view.

Hmm, I wonder how a person picked explicitly for a commitment to social justice (which is not a commitment to fairness and justice, but a specific brand of leftist ideology) would interact with someone of moderately conservative points of view. Probably not very well.

Note that the tone of the wording about what sort of person the search committee is looking for is suffused with feelings of grievance and a liking for conflict rather than, say, a shared love of learning and a dedication to truth seeking:

The president will lead the university in confronting and striving to avoid inequities in professional advancement, creating opportunities for engagement in the life of the university for all and encouraging success for all faculty and staff.

It is all about, as we saw above, holding people “accountable” rather than working in harmony and advancing scholarship. This is a punitive worldview.

And what sort of person would meet these requirements? Not a person who has dedicated her life to teaching and creating warm, nurturing, productive relationships with students of all stripes. Not a person trusted by all his colleagues rather than one who speaks for an ideologically-driven segment of them. Not a person of great accomplishment in a scientific field or in the humanities—because if you spend most of your time kowtowing to the DEI crowd or on identity-based academic politicking, you probably are not getting much done in the lab or in the archives. What the search committee wants is a woke warrior who will make the university a vehicle of the left.

That is not what a state university is for.

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