Idaho Board of Education bans requiring or requesting ‘diversity statements’ to get a job

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The Idaho State Board of Education announced that it approved a resolution that prohibits public institutions from requesting or requiring diversity statements from prospective employees.

The ban, reported by TimCast, applies to four-year public institutions that may or may not have required candidates applying for employment to give statements in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“The Idaho State Board of Education today unanimously approves a Board resolution prohibiting either requesting or requiring written diversity statements from candidates applying for employment at Idaho’s four-year public institutions,” the Board of Education’s statement read. “The resolution, which is effective immediately, was developed with input from institution leaders,” it continued.

“Hiring decisions should be made based on merit and the qualifications of the candidates who apply for positions at institutions,” Board President Kurt Liebech said in the statement.

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“Requiring written statements can complicate matters and take the focus off qualifications of individual candidates. We want to hire highly qualified people invested in the success of every student at our institutions,” Liebech’s statement added.

TimCast reported that the effort was likely pushed by the Freedom Caucus of Idaho and state Senator Brian Lenney. Lenny posted a video of himself on the day of the announcement from Feb. 2023 asking about the topic in a legislative session.

The resolution went on to say that faculty and staff may have been asked or even required to demonstrate their commitment to DEI with diversity statements. It added that such a requirement would have resulted in hiring based on factors other than merit.

“It is in the best interest of the institutions to create a welcoming and dynamic environment of belonging by administrators, faculty, and staff who are invested in the success of every student,” the resolution read. “Prospective and current faculty and other staff may be or previously have been invited or required to demonstrate their commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion through a written ’diversity statement’ as a condition of hiring,” it continued.

“The use of written diversity statements to evaluate candidates for hire may result in employment decisions based on factors other than one’s own merit,” the resolution also said.

Anna Miller, director for the Center for American Education, posted the statement to Twitter, and added her own remarks. Miller congratulated the board on “calling out our public universities for requiring that candidates pledge fealty to the CRT-DEI ideological framework, in both word and deed.” Adding that her organization has been “exposing this problem for years and have called on the state to ban DEI statements in higher [education].”

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