“I Refuse to do this”: Leading NYU Psychologist Resigns from Research Group Over Mandatory DEI Statement

NYU professor and leading social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has resigned from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology due to the new requirement that members must include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism commitments if they want to present research at any conference.  It is the latest mandatory statement as a threshold requirement for academics and Haidt has refused in what could be a major confrontation to this field.

We have been following conflicts over official statements or acknowledgements on diversity, colonialism, or privilege at universities. These conflicts often involve concerns over free speech or academic freedom. The most recent controversy has arisen at Cornell University and involves a challenge to an official declaration that the university perpetuates “settler colonialism, indigenous dispossession, slavery, racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, antisemitism, and ableism.” That led to a confrontation with  Randy Wayne, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who objected to the statement and led to a controversy at the school.

We also discussed land acknowledgement controversies like University of Washington Professor Stuart Reges who was disciplined because he refused to post the school’s “land acknowledgment” and instead posted an alternative statement.

Haidt objected that “In order to present research at the conference, all social psychologists are now required to submit a statement explaining ‘whether and how this submission advances the equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals of SPSP.’ Our research proposal would be evaluated on older criteria of scientific merit, along with this new criterion.”

He explained that “most academic work has nothing to do with diversity, so these mandatory statements force many academics to betray their quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth by spinning, twisting, or otherwise inventing some tenuous connection to diversity. I refuse to do this…”

Haidt is a cofounder of the Heterodox Academy, an organization of academics promoting viewpoint diversity

The issue with the statement is its mandatory elements. There would be no objections for an organization to put forward a policy that encourages members to pursue anti-racism agendas and offers specific elements of how one can pursue such a worthy goal.

However, the Society declared “The Task Force recognizes the need for the organization to make fundamental changes to its priorities and activities in ways that address the goal of anti-racism and equity.” What was an encouragement last year became a mandatory element this year: “We are now rolling the DEI statements out as part of the full review process this year.”

That raises questions of free speech and academic freedom for participants like Haidt. Yet, an academic (particularly less established or more junior academics) must fulfill these statements if they want access to key professional opportunities to present scholarship and research.

 

128 thoughts on ““I Refuse to do this”: Leading NYU Psychologist Resigns from Research Group Over Mandatory DEI Statement”

  1. Just checked out the Morally Bad vs Morally Good chart professor Haidt used.
    Five of the “Morally Bad,” are things out of a persons control. No on can control what sex they are born, the color of their skin, or if they were born into a upper class family. Fertile? What?
    My parents did not start out middle or upper class. Nor my sister and I. We all worked hard to get there. If being born a cisgender, heterosexual male, who worked hard, saved my money, made good life choices and able bodied makes me “Morally Bad,” (note, I am not white) I am perfectly fine with that.

    1. Bravo for Upstate Farmer! We need more of him in this country.
      I believe this because, irrespective of the personal markers that he self-identified, I find his comments to be be level-headed, well-reasoned, and intelligently succint. He also is not afraid to state his beliefs.
      All of his personal markers mean nothing to me, and I wish the rest of the country would focus on these/his additional traits/assets and stop playing identity politics for political games.

      1. Lin,
        Thank you for your kind words.
        I am just one guy trying to make sense in a world where a supreme court nominee cannot define what a woman is.
        I got some livestock who can identify a female or male in their species.

    2. If you were a white, cisgender male, over the age of 50, you are inherently morally bad. The real problem is that you are in none of the protected classes therefore you can be blamed for all of the world’s evils.
      Now while I can’t tell you who to vote, or how to vote, but any white, cisgender male over the age of 50 who votes for any current liberal leaning leader… should have their head examined. Those in the Democratic Party no longer care about following the law. So Turley, the reason you defend Trump, while claiming to be liberal, is the same reason why you and others need to vote in GOP leaders to correct the ship.

      -G

  2. I’ve often smiled at the over-invocation of words like “Marxist” frequently found in comments on this site.
    But now, looking at the trends in this country that increasingly demand that others “conform” to new mandates –or else– (lose your job or post, suffer rejection by a publisher, have your business boycotted, suffer media slaughter, etc.), -as well as the censorship of any different or contrary opinion or libertarian views…
    What if I wanted to prepare a lecture mentioning the fact that global climate change has existed for eons, with or without human industrialization/intervention (albeit, which can exacerbate/negatively impact) but will continue, with or without human effort?
    What if I wanted to advertise a product through a TV/web commercial that more accurately represented U.S. racial/ethnic populations- rather than over-represented one race (which is only 13% of the country)?
    What if I wanted to teach a biology/physiology class that inherently differentiated between males and females?
    What if we demanded that mainstream media (MSM) engage in neutral, objective (not selective) fact-reporting?

    1. Lin,
      Did you see the Glenn Greewald recent tweet?
      “I can’t stress this enough: at its core, Democratic politics is about criminalizing opposition to their party and ideology.

      Dissenting ideas are “disinformation” and must be censored by Big Tech. Trump voters are inherently criminal (“insurrectionists”) and should be imprisoned.”

      — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 24, 2022

      I think it goes along with your comment, which I liked.

      1. “I can’t stress this enough: at its core, Democratic politics is about criminalizing opposition to their party and ideology.” Glenn Greenwald

        Greenwald isn’t wrong when describing a large segment of the Democratic Party’s tactics. When you really think about the tactics used by the Democratic Party, almost none of the Democrats are trying to actually promote their own “ideology”, which has become pure socialistic totalitarianism, their trying to promote hate against those that oppose them. Really think about that for a minute, these political hacks can’t actually provide intelligent arguments to promote their “progressive” ideology (which is pure ANTI-AMERICAN) so they are forced to demonize any ideology that opposes them to hide their transparent goals of destroying the USA. BEWARE; when a Democrat tells you to vote against those evil people without telling you what they actually stand for, they just tell you what they stand against.

    1. UpstateFarmer wrote, “Steve Witherspoon, Interesting premise. Would explain why some Democrat candidates refuse to debate Republicans.”

      Since this comment appeared way down the thread, I can only surmise that you’re replying to this part of my comment posted earlier at September 27, 2022 at 10:01 AM…

      “Progressives” (I know that’s an oxymoron, they’re actually regressive) are actually rhetorical cowards, yes cowards, they can’t defend their positions with any kind of logic or actual facts so they attack the people that have differing opinions trying to fire up irrational hate towards their opposition. If we actually pay close attention to the far political left we can clearly see that “progressive” totalitarian ideology is only supported by the amount of hate they can gin up against their opposition and that’s because their arguments are irrational nonsense, so hate is all they have left.

      If that’s not true, please fill me in on what you were replying to so I can fully understand the context of your comment.

      Thanks
      Steve

    2. UpstateFarmer wrote, “Steve Witherspoon, Interesting premise. Would explain why some Democrat candidates refuse to debate Republicans.”

      That may be true; however and that’s a BIG however, we must also consider the fact that a lot of Democratic Party candidates don’t want it perceived that their Republican challenger has any valid points that should be presented to the public and let’s face it, engaging in a public debate would allow Republicans to present their points to everyone watching including the hive-minded Democrats that they’ve worked so hard to isolate in their echo bubble.

      Remember the current progressive Democrats’ four tenets of “truth”…

      1. Democrats are right.
      2. Republicans are wrong.
      3. Wrong is evil.
      4. Evil must be destroyed.

      …that’s the dead end of the 21st century progressive Democrats’ ability to think critically.

      Naaaa, the Democrats won’t willing give Republicans a public platform to spew their evil, it might perforate the Democrats angelically pure ideological bubble with truths that the Democrats don’t want their hive-minded sheeple to hear.

      Democrats must maintain their propaganda narratives at all cost.

  3. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
    Barack Obama 2008

    Not surprising coming from a community organizer. The “change” falls short of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism when the cost is integrity in purpose, honest communication, and common sense. I am sure that more can be added to that list.

  4. Fascist Democrats….LOVE litmus tests! We are Germany 1930’s…with the Socialists taking over and training the “Youth”

  5. Those who are claiming that Meloni is a fascist should look carefully at what is happening in American government, academia, and corporations. That looks more like the 1920s Italy of Mussolini than Meloni’s platform.

    1. Mary: It’s the usual “hair on fire” routine from the left. Meloni is to the right of these people so naturally she a fascist. And a racist, etc. Now we can see why they hated Trump so much.

  6. This is laughable. Mock it. Those most eager to post DEI statements (and force others to) are the least self-aware of innate preferences for self-similar people, which research with babies has shown to be universal.

    Overcoming innate bias is a highly private, personal endeavor. It cannot be cajoled. It cannot be coerced. It is not a public activity. It is not for publishers.

    This is what woke people can’t seem to get through their thick skulls. They are the ones holding back progress.

    1. While color bias is an innate feature, prejudice is a progressive condition. Diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism) under the Pro-Choice ethical religion breeds adversity.

  7. Free market. If he does not want to state that he is not a racist, then he can choose not to. I am sure no one will care.

  8. “He explained that “most academic work has nothing to do with diversity, so these mandatory statements force many academics to betray their quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth by spinning, twisting, or otherwise inventing some tenuous connection to diversity. I refuse to do this…”
    ****************************
    Former UVA prof, Jon Haidt, is a liberal but a principled one who understands the stakes in play. He seeks truth; his leftist brothers and sisters seek radical change. Here’s the speech he gave explaining the degenerating higher education indoctry. Diversity sucks as any realist will tell you.:

  9. Haidt is a great voice in understanding the changes in America as the Left and Democrats came to control all of the media and the universities. His books The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind are seminal works in revealing how the Left, through the Democrat party, have veered away from rational thinking and become a party of emotional ploys used regardless of their irrational basis. The orthodoxy of the Left has turned Democrats into pious zealots, kneeling and bowing to their leaders. We saw it reach new levels of insanity in their emotional breaks and melt-downs after the 2016 election but it started about 30 years ago when they began to utilize smear politics in lieu of policy politics in order to usurp power.

    It will take more brave liberals, leftists, and Democrats to confront the forces which have distorted their thinking. Unfortunately, our schools have taught them to be Excellent Sheep (another great read by William Deresiewicz) and many of our children have lost their ability to reason so they blindly follow the emotional ploys and orthodoxies of the Leftists. But, even if it’s one at a time, we must pray that these Leftist Sheep leave their errant flocks and start to think on their own.

    1. Nicely written highlyeducatedsuburbanwoman, but don’t forget there was a massive social turn after the 2008 in-our-face progressive call to action…

      “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
      Barack Obama 2008

      The progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants to fundamentally change the USA and turn it into a totalitarian nation and they’re doing everything they can to implement their irrational changes. These totalitarians seem to believe in rights for me but not for thee. These people are literally ANTI STATUS QUO. So-called “progressives” and social justice warrior’s ideology, aka the Democratic Party, has shown us that they are an enemy to everything that makes the USA what it is, both their anti ideology and those that push it are an enemy of the people. Even moderate Liberals are succumbing to the social pressures exerted by the 21st century hive-minded totalitarians and they’re predictably falling, one by one, into the totalitarian ends justifies the means immoral abyss – they’ve become sheeple!

      1. Agreed. Obama’s true Marxist leanings were hidden by the Press, though clear if anyone took the time to read his “Dreams from My Father” where he clearly depicts his father who was a raging alcoholic, polygamist, Marxist who killed others in auto accidents and lost a leg in one of those accidents.

        Obama.was the Trojan Horse (or as Joe Biden so fondly called him “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” ) for the Democrats left wing and he dramatically harmed the US. It’s just the sheep aren’t able to critically reason anymore.

  10. If you’ve been paying attention at all to what’s been happening in our society since 2008 then you would have seen that the tentacles of progressive social justice hive-minded totalitarian thinking have reached into all levels of our society and they are trying to ram their ideological leanings down the throats of everyone. If you disagree with these hive-minded totalitarians they will make your life and work miserable and do things that cause you to pull away from society and work until you become the equivalent of a Star of David wearing social outcast undeserving of social equality. Be aware that if you disagree with these totalitarians you are no longer welcome in their society, and be assured they actually think that this is their totalitarian society now. We have been shown these unethical and immoral behaviors so many times that it has become a verifiable pattern of pure persecution (hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs) from the political left and their progressive army of indoctrinated social justice warrior totalitarian bigots. Yes, if you agree with these progressive social justice totalitarians then you too are a f’ing bigot (a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group) just like them.

    Here’s the message I send to progressive social justice hive-minded totalitarians trying to morph our culture…

    https://stevewitherspoonhome.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/mickeymousebird.jpg?w=400

    1. I disagree with Jonathan Haidt decision to resign from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, I think he should have stayed and fought with everything he has for what’s right instead of giving up and walking away. Sure he’s making a statement by leaving but his decision is literally enabling them to get exactly what they want, an ideological echo chamber. Haidt should have stayed and categorically refused to conform and publicly protested their demand for ideological conformity at every conference.

      Sometimes all it takes is a pebble in the pond.
      https://stevewitherspoonhome.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/singlepebble.jpg?w=600

    2. Typical Progressive response. When you can’t debate because you are blinded by hate…you lash out. The progressives are the violent haters they claim everyone else are.

      1. Wen Bars wrote, “The progressives are the violent haters they claim everyone else are.”

        That’s called psychological projection and yes progressive hive-minded progressives do this as a typical trolling tactic trying to gin up emotional reactions to shut down debate with implications and lies. “Progressives” (I know that’s an oxymoron, they’re actually regressive) are actually rhetorical cowards, yes cowards, they can’t defend their positions with any kind of logic or actual facts so they attack the people that have differing opinions trying to fire up irrational hate towards their opposition. If we actually pay close attention to the far political left we can clearly see that “progressive” totalitarian ideology is only supported by the amount of hate they can gin up against their opposition and that’s because their arguments are irrational nonsense, so hate is all they have left.

      2. Wen Bars,
        Don’t believe the joke excuse especially when used in online discussions, it’s an unethical rationalization used by internet trolls all the time.

        55. The Joke Excuse, or “I was only kidding!”

        This is a common backtracking strategy when someone has been caught making a hurtful, unfair, false or otherwise unethical statement.

        Source: https://ethicsalarms.com/rule-book/unethical-rationalizations-and-misconceptions/

        1. Wen Bars,
          Also, notice the clauses in the following definition that I put in boldface…

          TROLLING: verb Posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

    3. The 20 20s were predicted to be a decade of turbulence and disruption. Both domesticly and internationzlly. And guess whar, this decade has just begun.

  11. kudos to Jonathan Haidt. Then again, the social sciences have always suffered a reputation as being bunk. The DSM has made so many changes in their classification of mental illnesses, that the American Psychological Assoc has become a diminished credible body. Sociology is not much better.

    The following scientific article was published in 2004 (making it obsolete) and has been cited over 5000 times, per Web of Science, a tremendous feat. Written by a physicist and a physician, both immigrants to America:

    Barabási AL, Oltvai ZN. Network biology: understanding the cell’s functional organization. Nat Rev Genet. 2004 Feb;5(2):101-13. doi: 10.1038/nrg1272. PMID: 14735121.

    A key aim of postgenomic biomedical research is to systematically catalogue all molecules and their interactions within a living cell. There is a clear need to understand how these molecules and the interactions between them determine the function this enormously complex machinery, both in isolation and when surrounded by other cells. Rapid advances in network biology indicate that cellular networks are governed by universal laws and offer a new conceptual framework that could potentially revolutionize our view of biology and disease pathologies in the twenty-first century.

    The article has a mere 106 references, which is borderline cutoff for a credible scientific article. Yet the content is incredibly impressive, logical and terribly difficult for the untrained mind. It was written truly by Renaissance men with keen intellects.

    Our doctoral programs have become irrelevant with medical schools not too far behind in conferring MD degrees to DEI pursuing social justice warriors. We are in desperate need of bright students pursuing advanced degrees in the medical sciences to build upon the work of scientists like the above cited article. Yet, their parents (not the government) have failed them. Students pursue woke and social justice pedigrees because their parents abdicated their responsibilities in forming the moral conscience and intellectual minds of their children. It shows in our present US academies. Americans are fat/gluttonous, lazy/slothful and full of themselves.

    Immigrants like Dr Barabási and Dr Oltvai are our hope. Immigrants are hungry!

  12. Take a step back and ask yourself is this normal? Who thinks up this crap? This sounds like something Jim Jones would have demanded from his followers! How utterly bizarre and dangerous.

    I am glad there are growing numbers of people standing up and calling bull excrement on them.

    Who are these weirdos?

    1. E.M.
      That right there!
      You know it has to be bad when Bill Maher says, “I keep saying to the liberals: you know what, if what you’re doing sounds like an ‘Onion’ headline…stop,”

      And yes, more people are standing up and saying the quiet part out loud. Then the Leftists cry those who do call the BS out are anti-(insert wokeism here).

  13. Diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment, class-based bigotry) , Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE) under the Pro-Choice ethical religion.

  14. Why is it always the left that MANDATES things? All as they call conservatives fascist! This group of little weirdos needs to be put in their place by people being strong enough to SAY NO. That is all it will take, enough people saying no and this madness will go away.

    As a side note: This is why the left’s first or second agenda item when they took over in 2020 was to try to pack the Court. The only way these true fascists are being stopped is when they are sued and when they lose and therefore they wanted desperately to get 4 new members on SCOTUS in order to complete their takeover of the country. Whatever you think of Trump or McConnell you have to say thank you for their action on the Court.

    1. The left is authoritarian. The right is libertarian. The far-left is totalitarian. The fat-right is anarchist. The left-right nexus is leftist. #HateLovesAbortion

    2. Agreed. That and our remaining dedicated but dwindling law enforcement are the thin line. I expect the left to continue to try to crush them until it is ABUNDANTLY clear the people are not on their side. Saying ‘no’ is absolutely essential, and the time will come when the exodus of experienced employees is felt as the younger and woke run things more continually into the ground. We can add ‘ageism’ to the list of woke edicts, too. Even many younger Conservatives possess that unfortunate trait; it really is generational, and they really do laughably claim superiority.

    3. Hullbobby,

      A majority of Americans support the expansion of the Supreme Court.

      D8: Increase # of justices
      [Increase the number of justices on the US Supreme Court] How much do you favor or oppose the following proposals affecting the Supreme Court?
      Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
      Strongly favor 257 18 18 18
      Somewhat favor 478 33 33 51
      Somewhat oppose 294 20 20 71
      Strongly oppose 419 29

      https://law.marquette.edu/poll/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/MLSPSC10Toplines_CourtIssues.html

      Even Turley supports the idea, but with the caveat that it be done slowly rather than plunking down a couple of new judges by a single president.

      1. Svelaz wrote, “A majority of Americans support the expansion of the Supreme Court.”

        This is a typical claim made by progressives, there is no actual proof to support that claim. The claim is pure propaganda.

        1. Agree. Excellent observation. Even RBG disagreed with the idea of packing the Supreme Court, and she is a goddess of the progressives BTW, my computer won’t let me “like” a comment, so I have to reply and add my 2 cents worth even if it is off topic.

      2. Svelaz, I have a book in my library called, “How to Lie with Statistics.” The author demonstrates how easy it is to change a variable, compress time, expand a quantity of a response question to get a more desirable and dramatic result.

        As with most things, there are complexities and subtle details that seem to evade the eye of a reporter who is looking for the sensational. Statistics abuse is ubiquitous. I believe that if we followed the methods used in science publications of double blind double masked analysis we would find that most reasonable people are closer on core issues than our present two party system and the media leads us to believe. But here we are, we stand on each side of a canyon and yell at each other.

        So here is a poll that was recently published. I truly hope that it is not valid. If it is, we are all in deep trouble.

        “A majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of government.”

        https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/education/3640520-less-than-half-of-americans-can-name-all-three-branches-of-government-survey-finds/

        1. E.M. wrote, “I have a book in my library called, “How to Lie with Statistics.” The author demonstrates how easy it is to change a variable, compress time, expand a quantity of a response question to get a more desirable and dramatic result.”

          Lying with statistics is not what Svelaz did, Svelaz simply lied about the statistical analysis that was shared. The analysis that Svelaz shared showed nothing even close to supporting the claim that Svelaz made. This is not a simple difference of opinion about a statistical analysis it’s a bald-faced lie and it’s a lie that the political left has been pushing in their propaganda narratives for quite some time.

          I have been saying for a while that “The political left has shown its pattern of propaganda lies within their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would blindly accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media actively push?”

      3. This dead horse again?

        Come up with a plan to expand the court. Start it on 2030, and complete it in 2050. Lets see if Dems really have a good faith desire to expand SCOTUS

      4. Svelaz, first of all what you are saying about a majority want the Court packed is a lie…and you know it. Secondly, supposing it’s true well a majority doesn’t like the student loan fiasco, a vast majority doesn’t like an open border, a majority supports the death penalty and high bail for violent criminals, a majority does not support gender indoctrination for 6 year old children, a majority wants drilling for more energy, a majority supports more police, not less and a vast majority hates Joe Biden.

  15. All we need now is The Grand Inquisitor to pay visits to all remaining sane thinkers and ask them “do you now or have you ever had a “free” thought?

  16. All I can say is I’m thankful I didn’t go into academia when I had a chance to. My alma mater Stanford University has lost its mind on this issue . A program called “Targets of Opportunity” forces departments to hire faculty with no experience in the area. I.e., the Geology Department might hire a Sociology Ph.D. And so on. Insanity rules and most of my age-cohort who did go into academia are taking early retirements. Axing the math GRE for entering grad students was the last straw for one friend whose research is heavily mathematical.

    1. And the irony of the name “Targets of Opportunity” is that owing to human nature, the poor souls inducted into the wrong Departments as sacrifices to wokeism will eventually be “targets” alright, but not of opportunity. They will be targets of resentment & ridicule.

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