They are, of course, also unethical unless you are a nascent totalitarian who believes that WrongThink should disqualify citizens for employment and influence.
Universities are increasingly requiring so-called “diversity statements”‘ from those seeking positions on their faculty. They are particularly crucial to white scholars, since potential “faculty of color” are diversity. The statements describing the hopeful instructor’s contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion are however, being challenged, as well they should be. Apparently having faculties that usually have 5% or fewer members who confess to being conservative isn’t enough, so the requirements of what are essentially loyalty oaths to the Great Woke are being seen for what they are: efforts to eliminate diversity of thought on campus—all the better to ensure the effective indoctrination of students whose minds are properly vulnerable. . Criticisms first made in tweets and blog posts have expanded into prominent opinion pieces and, more recently, law review articles. These attacks are having an effect. There are now faculty-wide resolutions against (and for) mandatory diversity statements. Lawyers are recruiting plaintiffs to challenge diversity statement requirements in court.
The Federalist-Society recently held a webinar on the topic. Prof. Eugene Volokh, one of the panel participants, offered a “thought experiment” to demonstrate just how noxious “diversity statements” are.
We get involved in another war. Much of the country, including some university system very much supports the war effort. So the University decides to offer faculty members and prospective faculty members an opportunity to mention their work related to the subject for purposes of evaluation, promotion, and hiring.
If, for instance, some professors joined the National Guard, which takes extra time, that could be used in deciding whether they were being productive enough scholars (just as other faculty might get extra time for tenure evaluation if they took semesters off because of illness or for parental leave). If they put on programs that helped returning soldiers, that would be counted as a form of “service” (faculty generally being evaluated on scholarship, teaching, and service, roughly in that order), even if normally service would otherwise focus on other subjects (such as service on university committees, or writing op-eds or blogs educating the public on the faculty’s areas of expertise). If the History department decided that military history hadn’t been taught enough, then indicating that one is teaching military history or is about to do so might count for extra teaching credit. I don’t think this would violate the First Amendment or academic freedom principles. A university is entitled to set and recalibrate its priorities in these ways.
On the other hand, say the university said (as with the UC Davis “diversity statement” requirement) that “applicants seeking faculty positions … are required to submit a statement about their past, present, and future contributions to promoting [the war effort] in their professional careers,” and did the same for existing faculty as well. This doesn’t expressly forbid people from criticizing the war, or from just avoiding matters having to do with the war. Perhaps even behind closed doors the university might try to deal with this fairly, maybe even weighing scholarship or public commentary that comes to an anti-war conclusion equally with scholarship or public commentary that comes to a pro-war conclusion.
But wouldn’t the message be quite clear—if you want a job here, or if you want to keep your job (especially if you’re untenured), or if you want a promotion, you’d be wisest to express pro-war positions, or at least keep your anti-war positions to yourselves? And is that consistent with the First Amendment and academic freedom principles?
Yes, it’s quite clear, and no, it isn’t consistent with the First Amendment and academic freedom principles, nor with respect for the opinions of others, nor, in fact, the principles of democracy.
It is, however, very consistent with the values and objectives of the current progressive movement, and its determination to eliminate all resistance to its agenda.