DEI no longer mandatory for AZ professor applicants

Higher Education

Ray Carter | August 22, 2023

DEI no longer mandatory for AZ professor applicants

Ray Carter

Members of the Arizona Board of Regents announced this month that public universities in that state will no longer require “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) statements from university job applicants.

The decision to yank DEI statements from the college-hiring process occurred after the Goldwater Institute released a report finding that applicants were expected to support diversity statements to obtain 28% of job postings at the University of Arizona, 73% of job postings at Northern Arizona University, and 81% of job postings at Arizona State University.

In many instances, the report found the traditional cover letter had been replaced with a DEI statement at Arizona universities.

“Arizona’s universities appear to be using DEI statements in an attempt to circumvent the state’s constitutional prohibition against political litmus tests in public educational institutions,” the Goldwater report stated.

Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches welcomed the regents’ decision to end use of DEI statements in college hiring in Arizona.

“This is a huge victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment,” Riches said.

Arizona is not the only state to rein in the use of DEI in the college-hiring process. To varying degrees, Florida, Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina have taken similar action.

But Oklahoma is not among that group, and the process at many Oklahoma colleges and universities pressures job applicants to express support for the political viewpoints embodied by DEI.

For example, officials at the University of Oklahoma have vowed that DEI programming will “permeate” business-school programs.

Officials at the Gibbs College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma have stated that “preference may be given to those candidates who can articulate how they may address issues of equity and belonging through their teaching, research and/or service.”

When OU sought a law school dean, the job posting stated that “the next dean must be visionary, politically astute, and have a commitment to service and to diversity, equity, and inclusion necessary to advance OU Law and inspire its multiple constituencies.”

A job posting for an assistant professor with a specialty in English education at the University of Central Oklahoma said applicants should include a “philosophy statement regarding culturally responsive pedagogy and diversity, equity, and inclusion in English education.”

At Oklahoma State University, applicants for assistant professor with a specialty in English Education were required to include a diversity statement with their application.

Oklahoma’s public colleges have spent at least $83.4 million on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs and personnel over the last decade, including $10.1 million in the most recent school year, according to estimates released by state higher-education entities in February.

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit]

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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