Arizona Universities Require Job Applicants to Provide Diversity Statements

January 25, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona’s three public universities have this to say to potential employees: those opposed to modern diversity ideology need not apply.

As of last fall, Arizona State University (ASU) required diversity statements from approximately 81 percent of job applicants; Northern Arizona University (NAU) required diversity statements from 73 percent of job applicants; and the University of Arizona (UArizona) required diversity statements from 28 percent of job applicants. This data comes from a report issued earlier this month by the Goldwater Institute, a right-leaning public policy think tank.

The Goldwater Institute noted that universities both in Arizona and nationwide have even gone so far as to swap the traditional cover letter requirement with a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement. The universities also encouraged applicants to incorporate critical race theory (CRT) terminology in written portions of their applications. 

Though diversity efforts were long underway at these universities, the death of George Floyd in 2020 accelerated their progress at the urging of students, activists, and community members.

For UArizona and NAU, these diversity commitment disclosures are part of their Diversity Strategic Plan (DSP); ASU also implements a diversity plan, though they don’t refer to it as a “DSP.” These diversity plans are executed through independent administrative offices. For UArizona, it’s the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI). For NAU, it’s the Center for University Access and Inclusion; they also have a dedicated “Diversity Fellow” or “Diversity Commission” to oversee various units at the university, which they call a larger effort to make NAU a “True Diversity University.” For ASU, it’s the Office of Inclusive Excellence. 

UArizona asked applicants to issue a 500-word minimum personal statement describing their personal philosophy and future commitment to inclusivity.

Last September, NAU advanced its DEI efforts by requiring applicants to issue a “diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice” (DEIJ) statement. As part of this statement, applicants had to express comprehension of intersectionality, a commitment incorporating diversity ideology in the classroom and in research, and diversity-related community service and activities.

In one example given concerning ASU, the university asked postdoctoral fellow applicants to write a “diversity statement”: how their past or potential contributions to DEI efforts would advance the university’s diversity plan. 

The universities’ push for commitment to diversity ideology extends beyond faculty. As AZ Free News reported earlier this month, the UArizona College of Medicine requires students to complete diversity training, in addition to faculty and staff. UArizona is also attempting to make law school admissions more equitable by pushing for an alternative to the LSAT.

UArizona has consistently ranked high for most DEI staff.

Last May, NAU proposed that students take a 12-credit general studies program focused on diversity. Backlash prompted the university to hide the proposal behind a login page. 

“The 12 credits of diversity requirements are unprecedented and puts [sic] NAU at the forefront of higher education,” stated NAU.

In 2021, ASU launched a DEI curriculum for K-5 students through its K-12 online school, ASU Prep Digital. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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