MIT eliminates DEI statements from faculty hiring process because “they don’t work”
05/12/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has become the first elite academic institution in the United States to publicly get rid of statements referring to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) from its faculty hiring process.

MIT embraced the trend of diversity statement in faculty recruitment in the past few years. Applicants were mandated to provide a statement demonstrating their knowledge of DEI and outline their track record of working with diverse groups and plans to advance DEI within the institution.

However, critics argue that the terms "diversity, equity and inclusion" have acquired connotations around contentious perspectives on identity, power dynamics and societal oppression. Institutions that force scholars to "demonstrate" their "commitment" to DEI promote ideological vetting and potentially unlawful discrimination based on viewpoints.

In line with this, MIT President Sally Kornbluth, with the support of the provost, chancellor and all six academic deans of the school, decided to scrap the requirement for prospective faculty to submit DEI statements during the hiring process on May 5. (Related: Texas governor signs bill ordering the CLOSURE of DEI offices across state-funded universities.)

"My goals are to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to MIT, and to make sure they thrive once here," Kornbluth said. "We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work."

MIT follows the 2023 survey recommendation – eliminate mandatory DEI statements to promote freedom of expression

MIT based its decision on a 2023 survey conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

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According to the survey, approximately 25 percent of faculty are "very" or "extremely" likely to self-censor, with 40 percent "more" or "much more" likely to self-censor compared to 2020. The survey also discovered that 32 percent of students and 41 percent of faculty "agree that the administration's stance on free speech is not clear."

This, in turn, found that self-censorship and coerced speech remain a pressing concern among faculty and students.

"Large portions of MIT faculty and students are afraid to express their views in various academic settings. Faculty and students are at least as afraid of each other as they are of the administration," said Komi Frey, the author of the FIRE report.

Moreover, the results shed light on specific incidents, such as the controversial cancellation of a guest lecture by University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbott in 2021. The survey found that 52 percent of the MIT faculty disagree with the decision to uninvite Abbott while 38 percent of faculty "say the administration wouldn't have a speaker’s back in a controversy" and more than three-quarters of MIT students "think it's acceptable to shout down a speaker, and more than half agree it's acceptable to physically block students from attending a speech."

In response to the findings, Frey proposed several measures for MIT to promote a culture of free expression. And one of those measures is to "eliminate mandatory DEI statements."

"It suggests both a problematic degree of self-censorship and support for illiberal, censorious tactics that speak to wider problems in our free speech culture," he said. "It also, however, illustrates just how much can be accomplished through clear, decisive leadership on free expression from a university’s administration. To promote a culture of free expression, MIT can modify several vague speech-related policies, eliminate mandatory DEI statements, and offer freshmen orientation on free expression."

Visit for more stories about DEI programs in public universities and colleges.

Watch this video discussing a similar move by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to block DEI programs on state colleges and universities in the Sunshine State.

This video is from THE HEALTHY AMERICAN channel on

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