A scientist is suing University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) officials after he was required to submit a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statement with his job application, which he says is in violation of the First Amendment.
Former University of Toronto professor J.D. Haltigan said in the lawsuit filed last week that his first amendment rights were violated by the DEI mandate, which he says is an “unconstitutional form of compelled speech,” according to a report by Daily Mail.
Haltigan’s lawsuit reportedly names University of California President Michael Drake, UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive, UCSC Psychology Department Chair Benjamin Storm, and UCSC Social Sciences Dean Katharyne Mitchell.
“As many of my readers are aware, the use of mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements in the academic setting for hiring, promotion, tenure, and other forms of advancement or public acknowledgement are pervasive,” Haltigan wrote in a blog post.
“Many public intellectuals, academics, legislators, and investigative journalists have raised alarms about the use of the DEI rubric on several grounds including civil rights, discrimination, and more generally the degradation of academic research and teaching in the university setting,” the scientist added.
Haltigan went on to say that he believes “the DEI rubric in the Academy has also contributed to creating a corrosive and hostile environment that is intolerant of viewpoint diversity and is anathema to high-quality research and teaching.”
The lawsuit accuses the university of demanding a “modern-day loyalty oath for professors who seek to join the faculty,” and compares the DEI requirement to pledges during the McCarthy era in the Cold War.
The complaint also says Haltigan would have to “express ideas with which he disagrees” in order to qualify for the job, arguing that this violates his First Amendment rights to free speech.
Additionally, the suit states the DEI mandate “penalizes certain viewpoints and drives those viewpoints from the marketplace of academic hiring.”
Haltigan’s lead attorney Wilson Freeman, with the Pacific Legal Foundation, told Daily Mail, “We’re committed to cases like this because we strongly believe in the principle of freedom of thought.”
“Under the First Amendment, the government can’t use eligibility for a government benefit, such as a position on the faculty of the University, to leverage people into expressing agreement with a specific political ideology,” Freeman explained. “That is as true today for DEI as it was for anti-communism in the 1950s. People seeking a government job should be judged on merit, not an ideological litmus test.”
“We think it’s an important issue propagating, what we see as, a sort of orthodoxy throughout the academy,” Freeman added. “We think it’s a threat to the First Amendment and academic freedom. We think it’s especially bad at the University of California.”
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements have been a plague on the world of academia in recent years — but Republicans are fighting back against the woke requirement.
As Breitbart News reported last week, Florida has decided to eliminate DEI initiatives in higher education, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said have been used as a “veneer to impose an ideological agenda” in universities.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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