Harvard Law Professor Says School Should ‘Abandon’ Mandatory DEI Statements: ‘Ideological Pledges Of Allegiance’

"The practice of demanding them ought to be abandoned."
Harvard students and alumnae attend a Harvard football game.
Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

A Harvard law professor is calling on the country’s most prestigious school to “abandon” forcing academics to make Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements.

Randall Kennedy, who teaches criminal law and contracts at Harvard Law School, penned a scathing column Tuesday in The Harvard Crimson, the school’s newspaper.

Kennedy, who is black and also teaches courses on the regulation of race relations, skewered the Ive League’s commitment to requiring DEI statements as part of the school’s hiring process.

“Candidates for academic positions at Harvard should not be asked to support ideological commitments,” Kennedy wrote.

He noted the “howl of protest” that would erupt if Harvard were to ask academic candidates for statements about their positions on capitalism, patriotism, or Making America Great Again “with a clear expectation of allegiance.”

“By requiring academics to profess — and flaunt — faith in DEI, the proliferation of diversity statements poses a profound challenge to academic freedom,” Kennedy wrote.

He criticized the “expectation that DEI statements will essentially constitute pledges of allegiance that enlist academics into the DEI movement by dint of soft-spoken but real coercion: If you want the job or the promotion, play ball — or else.”

The DEI statement requirement discourages conservative candidates, Kennedy said.


“It does not take much discernment to see, moreover, that the diversity statement regime leans heavily and tendentiously towards varieties of academic leftism and implicitly discourages candidates who harbor ideologically conservative dispositions,” he wrote.

Kennedy also called out the “cottage industry” of diversity statement counselors that has sprung up in the last few years.

“By overreaching, by resorting to compulsion, by forcing people to toe a political line, by imposing ideological litmus tests, by incentivizing insincerity, and by creating a circular mode of discourse that is seemingly impervious to self-questioning, the current DEI regime is discrediting itself,” Kennedy wrote.

Academics at Harvard and beyond already feel “intense and growing resentment” toward the DEI movement, he said.

“I am a scholar on the left committed to struggles for social justice. The realities surrounding mandatory DEI statements, however, make me wince,” Kennedy said.

“The practice of demanding them ought to be abandoned, both at Harvard and beyond,” he wrote.

Kennedy’s column comes in the wake of a slew of woes for Harvard over the last few months.

Harvard faced backlash in recent months for its former president Claudine Gay’s highly criticized congressional testimony on Harvard’s response to anti-Semitism on campus.

The Ivy League school is currently facing a congressional probe on how it handled anti-Semitism on campus, as well as the school’s response to the plagiarism allegations against Gay.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Harvard Law Professor Says School Should ‘Abandon’ Mandatory DEI Statements: ‘Ideological Pledges Of Allegiance’