M.I.T. Will No Longer Require Diversity Statements for Hiring Faculty

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said on Monday that it would no longer require candidates applying for faculty positions to write diversity statements, which have been denounced by conservatives and free-speech advocates as forcing a kind of ideological conformity.

In their statements, generally a page-long, candidates were required to explain how they would enhance the university’s commitment to diversity.

Such statements have become enshrined in faculty hiring at many elite public and private universities, as well as in corporate life. Academics have defended them as necessary in judging whether a faculty member can reach out to an increasingly diverse student body.

In announcing the change, M.I.T.’s president, Sally Kornbluth, said diversity statements constituted a form of compelled speech that do not work.

“My goals are to tap into the full scope of human talent, to bring the very best to M.I.T. and to make sure they thrive once here,” Dr. Kornbluth said in a statement. “We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don’t work.”

M.I.T. and Dr. Kornbluth have been under scrutiny by House Republicans for the university’s handling of antisemitism accusations. In December, Dr. Kornbluth testified alongside two other presidents, Claudine Gay of Harvard and Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, in a congressional hearing on antisemitism, which helped lead to Dr. Gay and Ms. Magill’s resignations. And M.I.T., like many other campuses, has struggled to handle an increasingly intense pro-Palestinian encampment.

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