The Berkeley Files: Faculty Applicants Were Ranked on Their Support for DEI Policies and Practices

After years of resisting demands under the Public Records Act (including alleged violations), UC Berkeley has finally turned over documents to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) on its hiring criteria. The files show that Berkeley has been grading faculty on their commitment to DEI, including viewpoints that should be protected by free speech or academic privileges.

In 2018, Berkeley’s life sciences departments launched an initiative to advance faculty diversity that included requiring candidates to submit statements on their “contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion,” including information about their “understanding of these topics,” “record of activities to date,” and “specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion.”

I have no problem with candidates being asked about diversity values and other university priorities. Indeed, I believe that candidates should be asked about their tolerance for opposing views and commitment to free speech. Diversity, free speech, and other values are important elements for higher education.

However, Berkeley went beyond that inquiry and graded candidates on their espousing specific viewpoints that many academics may disagree with for intellectual or ideological reasons.

The long withheld documents indicate that candidates would be given lower scores if they “discount the importance of diversity.” The concern is not that candidates should support the principle of diversity, but whether they were expected to support specific practices that some view as inimical to higher education or racial and gender diversity goals.

The scoring document mandates lower scores for those who do not “feel any personal responsibility for helping to eliminate barriers. For example, may state that it’s better not to have outreach or affinity groups aimed at underrepresented individuals because it keeps them separate from everyone else, or will make them feel less valued.”

The concern is that the rubric could be used to enforce an ideological litmus test. Faculty may favor diversity on a faculty but still have qualms about specific approaches that separate or segregate faculty. My greatest concern with the rubric is that it offers no express accommodation or consideration for possible ideological or intellectual disagreement with DEI priorities or practices.

We have discussed controversies involving faculty who oppose special accommodations of faculty in terms of benefits or advancement.

For example, it is likely that Princeton professor Joshua Katz would be marked down on this rubric. Katz drew the ire of faculty and students by questioning a proposed anti-racism program of benefits for minority faculty. Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber called on the university board to fire Katz in a move being denounced as a transparent effort to circumvent free speech and academic freedom protections over his prior public stance. (Eisgruber has also been criticized for his tepid support for free speech at Princeton).

The Berkeley rubric requires candidates to voice and demonstrate commitments to DEI measures that some may find personally or intellectually  problematic. For example, affinity groups have long raised concern that universities are effectively recreating segregated spaces and rolling back on efforts from the 1960s to remove racial and other classifications from university life. That is now considered reactionary by many today, but a candidate could have legitimate non-racist, non-sexist objections to creating programs separating faculty or students by race or gender.

There is an interesting comparison to the Harvard and North Carolina cases before the Supreme Court on affirmative action in college admissions. We are awaiting the opinions in those cases. However, the schools were accused of using different rubrics for interviews with student applicants to conceal the use of race. Asian students were allegedly given lower scores on personality considerations that lowered their admission rates.

The use of such rubrics can create subtle preferences on the basis of ideological or other considerations. That is why the long refusal of Berkeley to turn over these documents is a concern. Harvard and North Carolina were also accused of such delay and obstruction. Here, Berkeley made the decision to obstruct the legitimate document request of FIRE for years as it employed this rubric to select faculty members. That should be a matter for separate inquiry but it is doubtful that there will be action from the California legislature.

57 thoughts on “The Berkeley Files: Faculty Applicants Were Ranked on Their Support for DEI Policies and Practices”

  1. “Berkeley has a right to set its own [DEI] priorities when it selects candidates.”

    That is false.

    A government school has no right to impose an ideological litmus test. That is censorship.

    Further, a university is supposed to be an *educational* institution — not a propaganda one.

  2. Jonathan: Now getting back to your column. You say you have “no problem” for Berkeley to ask candidates about their views on the university’s DEI policies. But you object to disqualifying a candidate who expresses “possible ideological or intellectual disagreement” with such policies, or who “oppose special accommodations of faculty in terms of benefits and advancement”. What “special accommodations” are you referring to? Suppose Berkeley decides to offer a course on, let’s say, “Racism and how it impacts modern culture”. And let’s further suppose a Black professor is chosen to teach the course because of his/her special expertise on the subject. Is this what you mean by “special accommodations”? Implicit is the claim that a White conservative professor should be considered instead. Even one who might be opposed to DEI policies? Isn’t that a “special accommodation” for the the White professor?

    Berkeley has a right to set its own priorities when it selects candidates. If it decides to choose candidates that support the University’s DEI policies that is it’s choice and right. Would you expect the University to seriously consider a candidate that not only openly expresses opposition to DEI policies but also expresses racist views online? And it’s non-sensical to argue such a candidate could hold “non-racist, non-sexist” reasons for objecting to DEI policies. What could those possibly be? You don’t say. I suspect that’s because such a candidate could not simultaneously be against DEI policies and be “non-racist” and “non-sexist”. Your logic does not hold up under scrutiny.

  3. Jonathan: Today is “Juneteenth”, when we celebrate the end of 250 years of Black slavery and the defeat of the Confederacy. You don’t apparently think this day is worthy of note so let me make a few remarks about this important occasion.

    It first should be noted that while the Confederacy may be long dead, Confederate ideology is alive and well–especially among MAGA supporters and GOP politicians. The GOP has openly embraced racist, revanchist and authoritarian agendas. We see this played out over the removal of statutes and other symbols of the Confederacy. GOP Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley voted against a proposal to rename military bases after Confederates. Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis have made campaign promises to change the newly renamed “Fort Liberty” back to “Fort Bragg–named after Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg who was despised even by his own troops.

    Scholar Mary Anne Franks says that white GOP politicians have embraced a “Lost Cause” mythology: “Whitewashing the role of slavery in American history; selectively championing states’ rights’ and promoting racist, gender, and religious supremacy”. I would only add the GOP’s banning of books dealing with race, the history of slavery and LGBTQ+ issues. The whole idea is to try to preserve a white supremacist national ideology.

    All these efforts will ultimately fail. But today is a sober reminder that some in this country want to turn the pages of history back to a time when Black people knew their “place” and LGBTQ+ people were kept in the “closet”. Too bad you missed an opportunity to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over. It has only begun.

    1. Political bigotry and prejudice at its finest. and in doing so, you said NOTHING worthy of Juneteenth.

    2. Political bigotry and prejudice at it’s finest. To cap it off, you say NOTHING worthy of the Juneteenth celebration.

      1. clay goldstein: You repeat yourself. If what I expressed in my comment was “bigotry and prejudice” what do you have in mind? Was it “bigotry and prejudice” to say that “Confederate ideology is alive and well”? Specifically what do you mean? What would you say is actually “worthy” of Juneteenth?

  4. Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (aka) DEI!

    Diversity of what I ask: Race, Sex, Thought, Looks, Height, Prowess, Intellect or any other nuisance?

    Equity, when has life ever been fair? There are masters in all walks of life, those that have superior aptitudes in whatever field they may end up pursuing: Athletes, Business, and Crime just to name a few.

    Inclusion, to be included each individual has to prove their worth to be included. Inclusion is not a given but must be earned. Team sports being a prime example, some are included other excluded, dependent on the selection parameters.

    Using DEI to determine success is a fool’s errand, rife with ultimate failure at all levels.

  5. The irony is that non-competitive minorities are admitted for the sake of “diversity’” but once they arrive on campus, self-segregate into their own clubs, housing and majors. They end up graduating with degrees in ethnic studies and sociology, neither of which will benefit them in the work place. I have a tenant who spent her entire career as a social worker. She has a U.C. degree in Social Work, but could never afford to buy even a modest home or fixer upper. I also have a relative (by marriage) who emigrated from Ukraine with his mother and sister at age 12, and went to a very average state college in CA where he majored in computer science. He’s now 26 years old and earning six figures. So I’m not sure who the “diversity” is supposed to be helping. An Ivy degree adds social prestige, but that’s all lost if the student was in a major that is of zero to little value in the workplace. He/she would have been better off to go to a non-prestige college but major in something where he can earn a good living and purchase a home – nursing, accounting and comp. sci. majors will be hired immediately.

  6. DEI is just a litmus test intended to silence conservative opinion on campus. Nothing more. It destroys the careers of promising scholars, and the cannibals who perpetrate this discrimination are full of hate and delusion.

    The most malignant people on the planet are leftwing boomers who did this to media and education. Too much pot at Woodstock, probably. Pure, evil, gaslighting hypocrisy.

  7. Anyone with a functioning brain stem will stop all funding to universities that practice this DEI nonsense or participate in discriminatory affirmative action quotas. Let’s put edification back as the primary goal of higher education and disinfect all faculty and staff who adhere to this “fundamental transformation” bilge.

  8. Looks more and more like Mao’s culture revolution mixed with the dumbing down of future students with DEI indoctrination.

    1. The first act of the Cultural Revolution occurred under the Obama administration. After the next election of a Dem president we will all receive Obama’s Little Red Book and people who resist indoctrination will be the victims of struggle sessions and then sent to the countryside for re-education. I kept thinking we were living in 1930s Germany, but no, I now see with the elevation of DEI to a new religion that we are in Mao’s 1960s Red China.

      1. I seriously doubt that. Because the first collection of wimpy, soy boy left wingers that showed up at my or other conservative’s doors to be taken off to ‘indoctrination camp’ because they won’t toe the communist/socialist line, would be met with deadly force….word would get around quickly to the other boot lickers, and it would quickly cease. This is why lefties desperately want to take everyone’s guns. They know that an armed citizenry will always be the one thing that prevents them from forcing their global/socialist ideology onto the unwashed masses.

    2. It ain’t just DEI. It is also all about STEM and tech courses. No need to learn history, art, music–that stuff cannot be easily standardized nor is it necessary for a digital career

  9. They discriminate in favor of their own political views at UC Berkeley because they can (they all live in an echo chamber). The LAST thing they want is any REAL diversity of opinion. Can’t have that ! . Welcome to many colleges and universities in the new “Amerika”. Wokeism = Communism.

  10. BTW happy Juneteenth. Asian students’ average score was 303 points higher than the average SAT score of Black students, which was 926. Whites only 150 points more. Enjoy your RACE based doctor or Engineer!

  11. Dems HUNGER for Drugs, Insanity, Suicide, Illegals, crime and Fascism! Against Free Speech!
    USSR Redshirts,
    German Brownshirts,
    Italy Blackshirts,
    China Redshirts,
    Globalists/US Democrats Rainbowshirts

    Germans were GOOD people…well know!

  12. not a communists/fascist member. No job for you!
    Time to cut ALL FEDERAL aid and loans for colleges
    Also any Non-profit where anyone gets $100k should be taxed…including Colleges, Hospitals, etc
    if you can pay a sport coach a MILLION A YEAR…you can pay your taxes!

  13. Turley says he has “no problem” with universities quizzing professors about their commitment to diversity and free speech. Can you imagine how any such inquiry would not be used by a university as an ideological litmus test?

      1. Imagine trying to get the University to go from 99 percent liberal to only 90 percent liberal?

      2. @enigmainblackcom…Perhaps if Berkley were otherwise we would not be having this conversation. The new College of Florida is to be bereft of such suppression and oppression and the current educational establishment scoured of it. Diversity of opinion is to be desired..We’re right and you’re wrong and we will cancel you or worse if you disagree must be shitcanned from all walks in this culture and society once and for all.

          1. The Rule of law is not your favorite topic.

            The left is being denied nothing. All that is happening is that all views will have the same rights.

            You are angry because the lack of diversity that destroyed New College is being corrected. The leftists could only tolerate the ignorance of the left and today have to face diversity. As an example, I remember how you and the left touted BLM. We are now starting to see that BLM was a sham. When it began, no one could point out its flaws without being financially or violently attacked by BLM

          2. My goodness, that piece (from Teen Vogue, and sounds like it – the tone is histrionic) is quite a piece of work.

            It purports to be an article, I think, but reads like an op-ed – filled with unsupported claims about bringing back the patriarchy and new conservative board members’ responses being rude and demeaning (because, in the instance I’m thinking of, the board member told a student their opinion – as it was characterized in the other because the student didn’t want to give a name, no doubt because of the threat of internment or something – was wrong but welcome), stuff like that.

            The “suppression” of which enigmainblack speaks is apparently the inclusion of several – but not, if I read correctly, a controlling number – of conservatives on the board. Nothing more, as far as I got, anyway. I did stop before the end of the piece, I admit, thanks to the intrusive ads and the fact that my eyes were hurting from all the rolling. I know it’s a mag aimed at teenagers, but does it HAVE to sound like a passionate freshman running for class president on a “make the cafeteria vegan” platform?

            Side note, or maybe not quite so “side”: that this article couldn’t hold my attention all the way to the end ought to be a chastisement to the journalist(s) who wrote it. If their intent was to persuade the squishy middle, they’d fail – it was that badly done. If their intent was just to cheerlead for their side, they are only indicating that they didn’t learn the difference between article and opinion piece, and – presumably – will limit their career advancement unless they get a LOT better at hiding the ball.

            1. Jamie, there are several available sources and you are welcome to do your own research including comments from the students themselves. Instead you deny what’s happening and stick your head in the sand.

          3. @enigmainblackcom: re: “The New College of Florida has a different kind of suppression..” You’d do well not to choose a biased point of view to support your allegations. The loss of academic freedom being decried is the very thing many of that lot impose on those whose points of view make them ‘uncomfortable’. That which is being ‘swept away’ are the contentious things which fuel animosity on college campuses. The demand that ‘wokeness’ now having extended itself way beyond its historical concerns in the black community, be the foundation upon which ‘right thinking’ and ‘right speaking; are enforced in academia is why the fabric of society is going to hell in a handbasket. The ‘Thought Police’ are everywhere, punishing those who do not fall in line.. Witness the post concerning Berkley today. Yet, when the pendulum swings the other way, a cry of ‘Foul’ is heard among their ranks. There’s a Judeo-Christian ethic which many abroad in this nation would like to return to. I would like to see balance of thought returned to academia,and elsewhere, such that ideas can be freely exchanged in agreement or otherwise absent setting the place ablaze, or sending individuals to hospital at the hands of the Antifa Sturmabteilung.

              1. @enigmaninblackcom: re: “Maybe these are the values you’d like to return to?” Seriously!?!?!? Is that the best you can do? Perhaps not! Why am I not surprised?

            1. I gather many people here don’t really follow this issue beyond whatever their favorite politicians say. New College of Florida now suppresses speech just as Berkeley does, only from the other direction. You don’t have to look to Teen Vogue for background–the same Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) who Turley cites here has also called out NCF:

              The sad thing is that NCF was not infested with DEI philosophy before the DeSantis takeover. The reason DeSantis chose it for his political stunt is that it was an easy target, given its small size. Florida is the poorer for it. And I say this as a free speech advocate who is not a fan of diversity statements, land acknowledgments, and so on. I’m glad Berkeley was called out for its anti-American, anti-first amendment behavior. I’m not willing to give DeSantis and his cronies a pass just because they are on the other side.

          1. Maybe your education limited you to reading headlines and listening to what the left tells you. Mine sounds much better because I learned to think for myself.

            We have seen indoctrination by the left in the universities and the canceling of diverse opinions that veer from the left’s talking point of the day. Despite being on this blog, you haven’t noticed what is happening. Maybe you should read what Turley writes and refer to the primary sources frequently provided.

            DeSantis wishes to change the dynamics. He wants intellectual freedom, something the left hates, and diverse viewpoints. You don’t understand what that means. You only know the left tells you to close your eyes and ears.

            Has your brain been canceled?

          2. @enigmainblackcom: S.Meyer has pretty much sized YOU up with regard to the title of the post we are discussing here. ““The Berkeley Files: Faculty Applicants Were Ranked on Their Support for DEI Policies and Practices” Our esteemed ‘Rules for Radicals’ advocate, Dennis McIntyre, in his usual fashion, has mounted a defense of Berkley’s position: He alleges that “Berkley has a right to set its own priorities when it selects candidates. If it decides to choose candidates that support the University’s DEI policies that is it’s choice and right”. In the link you provide you inform us that DeSantis, in Florida, has established criteria as well..” Under House Bill 233, surveys would be conducted annually on campuses to assess viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom, and determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.” It is ‘ legislation mandating public colleges and universities survey students and faculty about their beliefs in an effort to promote intellectual diversity on campuses. ““We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology,” he said. ” This, of course, constitutes a clear and present danger to those who are advocates of Berkely’s criteria for ‘right thinking’ and ‘right speaking’. Obviously that of yours and others of your ilk as well. As Meyer observed: “DeSantis wishes to change the dynamics. He wants intellectual freedom, something the left hates, and diverse viewpoints. You don’t understand what that means. You only know the left tells you to close your eyes and ears”.

    1. I am ashamed of the Professor for this column. Normally he is spot on but several comments similar to that in the article show that he has whiffed this time. Nobody is perfect.

  14. It boggles the mind that seemingly so few realize the future we are creating. One would think, if parents were paying attention, they’d realize that some day the ignorant and unskilled we are graduating and sending into the workforce will be the recipients of the gears of society. I have already gotten to the point where a healthcare professional needs to be at least my age or I refuse to work with them due to these issues, and it is trickling down into every aspect of life. Gen Z in particular seem to be irreversibly stuck in toddlerhood. I don’t want them making me a sandwich, let alone representing me or passing laws. We are all in deep doo-doo if we do not snap out of this madness and complacency soon; the enlightenment has all but been erased.

    1. the colleges aren’t just graduating uneducated. They are TRAINING Fascists. My kids are top of their class….and finding a top education that isn’t fully down the rabbit hole is virtually impossible. We need to CLEAN out the danger! And THAT requires TAKING AWAY THE MONEY! WAY too many Fascists trainers are involved. Also we need to SHRINK government by 50%…to TAKE away the jobs of these trained fascists!

      1. @guy

        Indeed. And their parents don’t seem to grasp the ramifications in any way, shape, or form. Neither does the average blue ticket voter. Can’t decide if it’s privilege, cowardice, ignorance, or stupidity. Likely a combo. The yet to be seen time of their awakening seems almost certain to be too late.

    2. “the enlightenment has all but been erased.”

      Of course it has. It’s all about being “future ready”. Who needs dusty old ideas when we’re boldly hurling ourselves into the future?

    3. “if parents were paying attention, they’d realize that some day the ignorant and unskilled we are graduating”

      They aren’t paying attention to the content of the kids’ education. They see decent grades, decent test scores, and the kids get accepted at decent universities.

      They don’t see what the kids aren’t learning. Where are the Great Works, Great Ideas, a broad liberal-arts education? It’s all about STEAM and STEAM won’t sufficiently prepare students for self-governance.

      1. If only! And also – how did the A get in there? Arts is not a field that involves the same type of rigor as math and science. It can involve rigor, and it certainly involves analysis (not always to its benefit in my opinion), but it’s not the same as argument from demonstrable principles through provable steps to supported conclusion as the STEM fields are.

        But back to the “if only.” This is anecdote, to be sure, but – I know SO MANY young college students right now who started off declaring an engineering or math or hard science major but then switched to sociology, psychology, public policy, gender studies. It appears to me that yes, high schools, at least the good ones, are emphasizing STEM at the expense of arts and humanities, but then the students enter college and discover that they’re either unprepared for or unsuited to STEM and quickly move into woefully soft “disciplines.”

        And it’s from these that our future leaders will be drawn – kids who are taught that there’s no such thing as objective reality only “someone’s truth,” that history is too poisoned by our sins to hold any lessons for today’s policy decisions, that success is a zero-sum game, that people can be usefully divided into groups by skin color or genitalia or whether their feelings (about with whom and how they’d prefer to have sex – how bizarre that this is now a matter of public interest!) match their genitalia and there will be no bad social consequences to doing so…

        1. “It appears to me that yes, high schools, at least the good ones, are emphasizing STEM at the expense of arts and humanities”

          I don’t see this as indicative of a good high school.

          A good high school should aim to build free people who are capable of self-governance. If done well, they will be prepared for additional education for employment. A free people should be educated to use their minds and hands, to wrestle with ideas and materials. Too much STEM turns people into automatons.

    4. These faculty members who are facilitating this rise of DEI and totalitarianism would be wise to study what happen in late 1960s when Mao’s Red Guard of students turned on their teachers and parents. We are already up to our necks in doo-doo.

  15. Life sciences? You mean like medicine? I don’t want a surgeon with a diversity degree. Let’s talk about the middle school kid who wore a shirt that says there are only two genders and an Obama appointed judge said that’s not free speech. We are literally at the point where facts are not protected speech but fantasy is. And by the way that’s relevant to this case as well. Political correctness is not a whitewashed version of the truth. It’s the opposite of the truth. In other words, it’s a lie. So if the life science department’s core value is not facts, but rather some kind of kumbaya nonsense, what are the students going to be learning anyway? You have participation trophy students learning made up nonsense and that’s our future doctors and nurses. What could go possibly go wrong? The funny thing is that one day, when the people pushing this ridiculousness actually experience the consequences, they’re not going to like it. But by then it’s going to be a lot too late.

      1. Enigma only likes blacks that agree with him. We have two blacks on SCOTUS and Enigma hates one of them and fights to get him removed. Enigma is a racist, partisan, radical hater.

        1. I was speaking about “diversity degrees” like the ones Thomas got from Princeton and Yale, not that I agree there is such a thing. BTW, I have never fought to get him removed though it nwas clear he never should have been confirmed.

      2. @ enigmainblackcom: “A “diversity degree,” you mean like Clarence Thomas?” You mean like that Harvard educated idiot Joy Reid? Be careful whom you send to know for whom the admissions committee voted. Who knows how many others of that ilk since the implementation of ‘affirmative action’. Perhaps even your own.

          1. “What existed before affirmative action”

            A black population that was working for their degrees and not given them because they were a minority.

            I had no problem with helping people that weren’t succeeding because of their socio-economic positions, but granting degrees based on race or color is ridiculous.

            How come Asians with no money and parents who don’t speak English succeed. How come we take highly qualified Asians and give their spots to unqualified minorities?

            1. It’s called the Communist Manifesto which was forcibly imposed on America beginning with “Crazy Abe” Lincoln’s wholly unconstitutional “Reign of Terror,” during which no one who was not a “…free white person…” could have been “…admitted to become a citizen…” requiring deportation and compassionate repatriation with specificity on January 1, 1863.

              The legal American nation under the Constitution was terminated and abrogated by “Crazy Abe” and the incremental implementation of the communist manifesto was begun including Central Planning, Control of the Means of Production (unconstitutional regulation), Redistribution of Wealth and Social Engineering.

              Look around you. Communism is everywhere, is it not?

              Celebrate the PROGRESS, comrades!

              “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    1. “We are literally at the point where facts are not protected speech but fantasy is.”

      True that.

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