- A former University of Toronto psychology professor sued the University of California system Thursday over its use of diversity statements in its hiring process.
- These statements typically detail job applicants’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, and how they have furthered these ideals in their careers. But the ex-professor, J.D. Haltigan, in court documents alleged they are “loyalty oaths,” likening them to the ones that proliferated during the Cold War.
- A UC spokesperson declined to comment Thursday, saying the system has not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Conservatives lawmakers across the U.S. have taken aim at a range of colleges’ DEI efforts, with some going so far as to ban them altogether.
These legislative campaigns have targeted diversity statements. But other groups have snubbed them, too. The Idaho State Board of Education recently banned four-year public colleges from using DEI statements in hiring.
And last year, an academic freedom group representing hundreds of current and former faculty members publicly urged colleges to drop the statements.
Critics like Haltigan argue the statements force job applicants to pledge to progressive views. His lawsuit, alleging constitutional violations, is being backed by a conservative nonprofit, the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Specifically, he is suing UC President Michael Drake, as well as officials at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where Haltigan applied for a job.
“The University administration ensures conformity and compliance by promulgating detailed rubrics and guidelines that tell applicants exactly what to say and what not to say in their Statements,” the lawsuit states.