Curbing DEI in Ohio

Eight states have already passed laws limiting DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Senate Bill 83, introduced by State Senator Jerry Cirino, makes Ohio one of 20 states that have proposed but not yet passed such laws. Although SB 83 does far more than rein in DEI, I will focus here on two recent developments that make the case for curbing DEI even stronger than it already was.

First, John Sailer of the NAS just issued a report based on 800 pages of “Diversity Faculty Recruitment Reports” obtained from Ohio State University. The report shows systematic discrimination based on race and extreme identity politics.

One report said a candidate would “greatly enhance our engagement with queer theory outside of the western epistemological approaches.” Is this what our college students want or need? Another praised the politics of a candidate who would “expand DEI efforts beyond simply representation and instead toward social justice.”

One committee gave a “zero” diversity score to anyone who “solely acknowledges that racism, classism, etc. are issues in the academy.” This is hiring based expressly on a candidate’s political views. You can’t be just a liberal; you must be a far-left activist.

Race and political ideology were not used just as tiebreakers. A biology search committee weighted “67% research and 33% contribution to DEI.” These approaches produced remarkable discrimination. For a position in medical anthropology with 67 applicants, all four finalists were “women of color.”

Ohio State is not alone in such practices. Miami University preferred faculty applicants with a “commitment to allyhood [sic] through learning about structural inequities.” None of this is surprising to anyone who is informed about contemporary academia—Ohio’s practices are in line with reports of DEI activities in other states.

This kind of discrimination is basically necessary given institutional commitments. In 2021, Ohio State President Kristina Johnson began, without faculty approval, a new initiative to hire 50 faculty members focused not on academic excellence but on “social equity” and “racial disparities” and an additional 100 “underrepresented and BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] hires in all fields of scholarship.” These goals cannot be reached without extreme discrimination.

A second development is that since October 7 many students, organizations, and administrators have equivocated about or even applauded Hamas’s vicious terror attacks on civilians in Israel. Many people now realize, finally, that this disgusting anti-Semitism is not an aberration or a bug in the program of the academic Left. It is a feature, part and parcel to the rest of their program.

As the far-left strategist Saul Alinsky once said: “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” This Manichean ideology allows no nuance; you’re either an oppressor or oppressed. There’s no in-between.

The old anti-Semitism (which, sadly, remains very much alive) sees Jews as alien, non-Western, not exactly white. The new leftist anti-Semitism hates Jews and Israel precisely because they are white and Western. And they’ve prospered under liberal democracy and market economies, both of which the left despises.

So, Jews are labeled oppressors. As a result, we see increasing cases of harassment and even physical attacks against Jews on American campuses, including recent attacks against two Jewish Ohio State students.

Again, this Jew hatred isn’t an exception; it’s consistent with the left’s general dogmas—cancel culture, social justice, critical race theory, intersectionality. You can’t extract the anti-Semitism except by eliminating the general theories of which anti-Semitism is a part.

SB 83 forbids the use of diversity statements. For this alone it deserves passage. In addition, it forbids mandatory DEI courses or training, although it does not abolish DEI offices. The bill also protects free speech and forbids indoctrination. Fellow NAS Ohioans Richard Vedder and Hal Arkes (along with myself), and NAS Research Director David Randall have all testified before the Ohio legislature in support of the bill. Of course, the politics of Ohio’s legislature are Byzantine, but we are optimistic that SB 83 will be enacted this year and finally put an end to the intolerance of campus DEI czars.


Photo by pabradyphoto — Canva Stock

Author

  • George Dent

    George Dent is a member of the NAS Board of Directors and president of the NAS Ohio affiliate. He is the Schott-van den Eynden Professor of Law Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

2 thoughts on “Curbing DEI in Ohio

  1. I took a quick look at SB83, and at first glance I did not see any sort of enforcement mechanism. As I have written here at MTC and elsewhere, this has been the Achilles’s Heel of most anti-DEI/CRT bills — universities and administrators who violate them suffer zero consequences, and so continue business as usual sub rosa.

    How is SB83 to be enforced, and what disincentives does the law create for violations? If there are none, then I fear it’s just another “feel good” bill that the campus diversicrats will ignore with impunuity.

  2. Saul Alinsky said a lot of things. Most apply even unto the activities of persons who would rather die than suffer the epithet ‘far-left’. Alinsky took the view that “one’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue” – who could argue? Furthermore: “The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment” – one only has to glance through a selection of MTC articles to conclude that Alinsky was on to something. Then: “In war the end justifies almost any means” – there is plenty of opportunity, for all who care, to watch that one play out in real time. And: “Generally, success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics” – Amen!

    Of all Alinsky’s utterances, my favourite is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage” – I live by this code, and, confronted with stupidity, cupidity, bombast, gibberish, and grandiose schemes for the moral improvement of poor suffering Hugh Manity, it has never failed me. There can never be too much of it. In my humble opinion.

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