- The Idaho State Board of Education last week banned four-year public colleges from using diversity statements in their hiring processes.
- These statements typically outline job candidates’ commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, or DEI, efforts. The education board — which oversees Boise State University, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College — unanimously voted to do away with them.
- Board documents state that its members are “not aware of any specific concerns by faculty in Idaho, nor the extent to which diversity statements have been used for hiring decisions at Idaho’s public postsecondary institutions.”
Diversity statements are relatively commonplace in higher education. But they've been targeted by policymakers, mostly conservative, who paint them as loyalty oaths that job seekers must sign to be considered.
DEI efforts broadly have come under fire from Republicans, some of whom have sought to eliminate diversity programming entirely at public institutions. A legislative proposal to banish diversity initiatives in Texas, for instance, continues to advance.
The Idaho board recognizes use of diversity statements “may lead to hiring decisions based on factors other than merit,” public documents state.
The action took effect immediately, though the board will formally cement it in policy at a later meeting. The board said in its meeting materials it still wants to “create and nurture a safe, welcoming and dynamic learning environment” for students.