The University of California’s New Loyalty Oath

In the nineteenth century, Oxford and Cambridge required dons to adhere to the 39 Articles of Religion, the basic creed of Anglican Church. Today the University of California requires faculty to adhere to a new creed—diversity. (Here is an example from U.C. Davis). It mandates that any applicant for a position write a diversity statement that tells the university how in the past the applicant has promoted diversity and how the candidate would promote diversity in the future. Diversity is defined in terms of ethnicity, gender, and other forms of under-representation. I have been told that political diversity does not count.

The old requirement of the British colleges was at least less intrusive. One had to profess a set of beliefs but did not have to do anything to advance their social realization. But under the California policy, a prospective faculty member must advance a designated social mission to advance his or her career.

Such statements undermine academic freedom. Because the University of California is a public university they also raise serious First Amendment issues. Let’s substitute a statement that would require all applicants to tell the university how they had and how they would promote patriotism, perhaps further defined as the notion that Americans are held together by their participation in an exceptional nation. One can imagine the howls of protest that the University has no business in judging professors’ adherence to a political mission that may be in tension with their beliefs. But I have not heard of any complaint from University of California law professors, some of whom claim to civil libertarians.

This kind of requirement also thickens the pall of orthodoxy around universities. Professors are overwhelmingly left-liberal, and diversity promotion is now a basic tenet of left-liberalism. Libertarians and conservatives as a rule oppose discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and gender, but they are concerned that various forms of conscious promotion of diversity, like affirmative action, either violate individual rights or are counterproductive. Thus, their statements are unlikely be judged as compelling as those of left-liberal candidates, particularly when the academic judges will be overwhelmingly left-liberal.

Two decades ago, Californians passed Proposition 209 by referendum which forbids consideration of race and gender in hiring. Another way of seeing the diversity statement is that it offers another way of evading the law. First, as libertarians and conservatives are more likely to be white, the statement will have an adverse disparate impact on whites. Second, the statement helps select for candidates who may be likely not to pay much attention to restrictions on race- and gender-conscious hiring. But even without Proposition 209, the requirement indicates how far the University of California is willing to sacrifice basic tenets of hiring and promotion in higher education to promote its ideological mission.

Reader Discussion

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

on October 30, 2018 at 09:46:27 am

I suppose that all of those $250K +/yr Diversity officers cannot be expected to sit on their inflated rumps in exchange for their salaries. Surely, they are bound to produce some policies / guidelines that justify their positions while assuring their continuance in office.
Why not simply view this as the postmodern Progressive's variation of "featherbedding"?

read full comment
Image of gabe
on October 30, 2018 at 19:25:58 pm

If public support of UCLA cannot be ended, then President Trump should start defunding this charade of a "university" swamped by SWJ martyrdom. Then the long suffering and too much neglected tax paying Americans will have something to cheer for!

read full comment
Image of Orson
on October 30, 2018 at 19:35:10 pm

Try this: https://lso.ca/about-lso/initiatives/edi

read full comment
Image of Max Denken
Max Denken
on October 30, 2018 at 23:20:46 pm

Seems like Mr. Sessions remaining time in office could be spent investigating this violation of federal law since he seems to be recused from everything else. :D

read full comment
Image of Cam
on October 31, 2018 at 16:49:13 pm

Over at Mark Pulliam's "Misrule of Law" Blog he deals more fully with the essentials of the U C "loyalty" movement and its adoption by U T.

He cites the language used by the U T President to justify a "Loyalty Oath:"

"The pursuit of excellence and diversity are intertwined and integral to achieving THE UNIVERSITY'S MISSION AND **CORE PURPOSE** OF --- TRANSFORMING LIVES FOR THE BENEFIT OF SOCIETY." [emphasis supplied]

That bundle of words wraps a great conceit.

"Transform lives" (and thinking?) from what to what; by what means; to what ends?

And; how shall the "benefit" of society be determined - by whom?

How has the "core pupose" of Academia come to be collective, displacing individual learning?

read full comment
Image of R Richard Schweitzer
R Richard Schweitzer
on November 02, 2018 at 18:06:10 pm

California in 2018 is analogous to Virginia in 1861 -- what it thinks is best is what is important. The federal constitution be damned.

read full comment
Image of Phil
on December 31, 2018 at 06:02:05 am

[…] statements and pledges, at the University of California [Stephen Bainbridge, Nick Wolfinger, John McGinnis, Law and Liberty] and Harvard [Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Jeffrey Flier, Times Higher […]

read full comment
Image of Campus speech roundup | Overlawyered
Campus speech roundup | Overlawyered
on February 19, 2019 at 05:46:11 am

[…] there. Free speech is under attack by student mobs and free inquiry by many universities’ enforcement of a diversity ideology. The latest embattled enlightenment values are the presumption of innocence and support for the […]

read full comment
Image of The Campus Mob Comes for the Presumption of Innocence
The Campus Mob Comes for the Presumption of Innocence

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.