Diversity Statements Are Getting Cut From These Universities’ Hiring Practices

State lawmakers and university leaders are reconsidering requirements that candidates pursuing careers in higher education outline how their experience and goals can advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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Updated on May 11, 2024
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  • Since 2023, lawmakers in 19 states have proposed legislation to change hiring practices at public universities to no longer allow diversity statements in applications.
  • On April 25, 2023, the board of education in Idaho banned the use of diversity statements in hiring at four Idaho institutions.
  • Many bills have been signed into law. Some have been inactive since 2023, and a few are slowly moving through their state legislatures.
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the latest school to remove diversity statements from hiring practices.

Typically, universities nationwide ask faculty candidates to write a one- or two-page diversity statement during the application process. It shows how their accomplishments and goals will advance diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and belonging at the institution.

However, state representatives nationwide have attempted — and others have succeeded — to remove these statements from hiring practices. Some say they find these practices discriminatory or ascribed to "DEI ideology."

While many bills died in 2023, new ones have taken their place and been passed. Ohio's and South Carolina's bills were slowly revived in 2024 after being stagnant for several months in 2023.

Some individual school systems and colleges have also banned the practice. This year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became the first selective private university to ban diversity statements.

What Is a Diversity Statement?

Each university that requests diversity statements from applicants is "concerned with ensuring that faculty hires are familiar with its diverse student populations and willing to support students in line with the university's mission statement," according to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's writing center.

According to the University of Pennsylvania, "there is no one type of experience that will be sought by search committees" as long as candidates are making an honest attempt to meet the university's diversity goals.

These statements can also be used to consider "reappointment, evaluation, promotion, or tenure decisions," according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

However, the free speech advocacy group has found that higher education faculty are split on how they feel about colleges requiring these statements.

A survey conducted by FIRE from July-August 2022 showed that half of the almost 1,500 faculty-member respondents believe diversity statements are "justifiable requirements" for a university job. The other half think they serve as an "ideological litmus test that violates academic freedom."

In recent months, conservative state lawmakers and university representatives alike have raised concern about the statements and have taken steps toward eliminating them from hiring processes entirely.

These States Want to Eliminate Diversity Statements

Twenty states have presented legislation to eliminate diversity statements from the hiring process at public state-funded universities.


Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 129 into law on March 19, 2024. It prohibits college DEI offices, diversity statements in employee hiring, and other DEI policies. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Will Barfoot, was introduced in February and will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2024.


Under Florida's anti-DEI law, Senate Bill 266, public institutions are prohibited from requiring potential hires to submit diversity statements.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on May 15, 2023.

DeSantis also signed House Bill 931 and its companion Senate Bill 958 that day. They explicitly prohibit the state's public institutions from giving preferential consideration for employment or promotion to faculty who show support for "any ideology or movement that promotes the differential treatment of a person or a group of persons based on race or ethnicity, including an initiative or a formulation of diversity, equity, and inclusion."


In February 2024, the State Affairs Committee introduced Senate Bill 1274, which bars diversity statements as "a condition of employment or admission." Gov. Brad Little signed the bill, effective July 1, into law on March 20.


The Iowa Senate introduced an amendment to Senate File 2435 right before passing it to the House on April 19, 2024, to include bans on DEI offices and diversity statements in hiring applications. Gov. Kim Reynolds' signed the bill into law on May 9 and went immediately into effect.


Kansas lawmakers passed HB 2460 this year, which eliminates diversity statements. Gov. Laura Kelly previously vetoed a similar policy but let HB 2460 become law without her signature, according to The Kansas City Star.


Kentucky Senate Bill 6, introduced in January 2024 and sponsored by 12 legislators, prevents public colleges from requiring diversity statements from hiring candidates. The bill passed the House and currently sits in the Senate.


Senate Bill 1125, sponsored by state Sen. Ben Brown, was first introduced to the Senate in January 2024 and passed the Select Committee on Empowering Missouri Parents and Children on April 30. The bill would restrict any public higher education institution from requiring a DEI statement from hiring candidates.

North Carolina

State Rep. Steve Tyson proposed House Bill 607 on April 13, 2023, to prohibit all University of North Carolina system schools and community colleges in the state from asking future employees to "describe their actions related to matters of contemporary political debate or social action."

The bill passed through the House to the Senate on May 2, 2023, but has not moved since its first reading in the Senate that day.

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2247 into law on April 24, 2023, and it went into effect Aug. 1.

The bill states that institutions under the control of the state board of higher education can't require employees to "endorse a specific ideology or political viewpoint" to be considered for hiring, tenure, or promotion.


Senate Bill 83, or the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act, ensures higher education institutions comply with the "prohibition of political and ideological litmus tests" in the hiring process. If passed, the bill would also prohibit mandatory DEI-specific training and offices.

The bill was introduced in March 2023, passed in the Senate, and moved to the House for committee hearings, where it stayed for over six months. The Inter-University Council of Ohio wrote a letter to state Sen. Jerry Cirino to express their concern about the bill's implications, including government overreach, vagueness, and underappreciation of student success programs.

The bill was re-referred in the House to the Rules and Reference Committee in January 2024 and has not moved since.


On Dec. 13, 2023, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Executive Order 2023-31, which included a ban on diversity statements in college hiring applications. The executive order also required colleges to review their DEI offices and programs and eliminate and dismiss "non-critical personnel."

South Carolina

On April 6, 2023, state representatives from South Carolina proposed two bills: House Bill 4290 and House Bill 4289. Both bills would ban diversity statements in hiring and admissions.

House Bill 4290 stayed in the House and has been inactive since June 2023. House Bill 4289 passed the House 77-30 in March and was referred to the Committee on Education in the Senate on April 2, 2024.


Gov. Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 817/House Bill 1376 into law on April 28, 2023. A March 2023 amendment to the bill included anti-diversity statement language within higher education hiring practices. The Tennessee Higher Education Freedom of Expression and Transparency Act went into effect July 1, 2023.


On March 10, 2023, state Sen. Brandon Creighton filed Senate Bill 17, which requires "color-blind" and "sex-neutral" hiring practices. The bill was officially signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 14, 2023.


Gov. Gary Herbert signed Senate Bill 261 into law on Jan. 30, 2024. It prohibits any submission, statement, or document related to DEI in hiring and employment. The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2024.

West Virginia

Senate Bill 870, sponsored by state Sen. Patricia Rucker, bans public higher education institutions from requiring a diversity statement from employment applicants. The bill was first introduced on Feb. 19, 2024, and has not moved since the Senate first read it on Feb. 26.

States With Failed Diversity Statement Bans

Only three states failed to enact their proposed diversity statement ban legislation.


Under Senate Bill 261, introduced on Feb. 27, 2023, public institutions in Georgia would have been prohibited from using "political litmus tests" in admissions and promotions within institutions. These tests include a "statement of personal belief in support of any ideology or movement."

The bill has since died in committee.


State Rep. Becky Currie introduced House Bill 127 on Jan. 17, 2024, to remove diversity statements from higher education hiring applications. The bill died a few months later in committee.


Assembly Bill 1065 would have banned the University of Wisconsin System's schools and technical colleges from requiring employee candidates to provide diversity statements. The bill was introduced on Feb. 2, 2024, and made it to Gov. Tom Evers on March 26. He vetoed the bill three days later.

These Universities Are Making Changes to Diversity Statement Policies

Several university systems and individual institutions aren't waiting for legislation to pass before discontinuing diversity statements.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the first selective private institution to ban diversity statements in faculty hiring.

A spokesperson for MIT confirmed on May 7 to BestColleges that diversity statements are no longer part of any faculty applications at MIT.

"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," President Sally Kornbluth said in a statement to BestColleges. "We can build an inclusive environment in many ways, but compelled statements impinge on freedom of expression, and they don't work."

The University of Utah

On Jan. 8, 2024, before the governor signed Utah's diversity statement ban into law, University of Utah President Taylor Randall sent a letter to the community saying the university would discontinue diversity statement practices in all hiring units.

"As the University of Utah strives for excellence in education, research, patient care, and service to community, we remain steadfast in our belief and actions that we must have a dedicated team of individuals from every walk of life to help us achieve that goal," Randall wrote.

"As we do so, we affirm our commitment to nondiscriminatory hiring practices and the well-being of our patients and campus community."

Arizona Universities

In August 2023, a spokesperson for the Arizona Board of Regents told the Chronicle of Higher Education that it will not require DEI statements in university job postings. This includes Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona System.

Idaho Universities

On April 25, 2023, almost a year before the governor signed the diversity statement ban into law, Idaho's Board of Education officially banned any future diversity statements in hiring at:

  • Idaho State University
  • Boise State University
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • The University of Idaho

The board concluded that these statements "lead to hiring decisions based on factors other than merit."

The University System of Georgia

The University System of Georgia revised its Human Resources General Criteria for Employment policies on July 1, 2023, to include language barring diversity statements in employee hiring practices. According to the policy, "No Institution training may include affirmations, ideological tests, or oaths (including diversity statements)."

The University of North Carolina System

On Feb. 23, 2023, the board of governors at the University of North Carolina (UNC) System removed DEI statements from hiring and admissions due to free speech concerns.

The new policy prohibits UNC schools from forcing individuals to "affirmatively ascribe to or opine about beliefs, affiliations, ideals, or principles regarding matters of contemporary political debate or social action as a condition to admission, employment, or professional advancement," according to The Carolina Journal.

The University of Missouri System

According to The Kansas City Star, the University of Missouri System scrapped its use of diversity statements in the hiring process.

University System President and Chancellor Mu Choi said in a letter on March 24, 2023, to faculty members and department chairs at the system's four campuses, that they would replace "loyalty oaths" and "litmus tests" with a "values commitment."

The commitment states: "We value the uniqueness of every individual and strive to ensure each person's success. Contributions from individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives promote intellectual pluralism and enable us to achieve the excellence that we seek in learning, research, and engagement. This commitment makes our university a better place to work, learn, and innovate."

Applicants will be asked to discuss their "experiences and expertise that support these values," according to The Kansas City Star.