ACTA in the News | Freedom of Expression

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences to stop requiring diversity statements for tenure-track positions

Harvard's FAS will instead require a 'service statement' for tenure-track positions
FOX NEWS   |  June 4, 2024 by Jeffrey Clark

After months of criticism from Harvard professors and high-profile donors, the elite university has announced that it will no longer require diversity statements for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). 

Instead of requiring a DEI statement for a tenure-track at Harvard, applicants will be asked to send a “service statement,” as flagged by Steven McGuire, a fellow at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. 

Aspiring tenure-track professors at Harvard can use that statement to explain their “efforts to strengthen academic communities, e.g. department, institution, and/or professional societies.” 

The original diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statement required a statement “describing efforts to encourage [DEI] and belonging.” 

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences told Fox News Digital that it has “expanded its approach to learning about candidates being considered for academic appointments by requesting broader and more robust service statements as part of the hiring process.” 

“In making this decision, the FAS is realigning the hiring process with long-standing criteria for tenured and tenure-track faculty positions,” the statement continued. “These criteria include excellence in research, teaching/advising, and service, which are the three pillars of professorial appointments.”

Harvard Kennedy School historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad attacked the decision, arguing that the removal of DEI statements from the application process “may discourage applicants who are the strongest supporters of DEI to not apply for a job at Harvard given the broader context for this change,” The Boston Globe reported. 

Former Harvard Dean Lawrence Summers celebrated the news on Monday. 

“I am glad to see that Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Science has ended the practice of requiring diversity statements and replaced them with statements on university service,” Summers wrote. 

“This should represent a major pivot towards emphasis on academic values and away from identity in appointment decisions,” he continued, adding that “Harvard is finding its way back towards the right core values.” 

Anti-DEI activist and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo called the decision a “small victory” in a post on X Monday.

“This is a small victory, but a signal that our campaign is gaining momentum,” he wrote. “We will not stop until the entire DEI apparatus is dismantled and salted over.”

Harvard’s decision follows closely after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became the first elite school to remove DEI statements from its faculty hiring process.

A university spokesperson told Fox News Digital at the time that “requests for a statement on diversity will no longer be part of applications for any faculty positions at MIT” and added that the decision was made by the school’s president, Sally Kornbluth, with the support of the Provost, Chancellor, and all six academic deans.

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

This post appeared on Fox News on June 4, 2024.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

Discover More