When statements matter more than research

From Wall Street Journal:

How ‘Diversity’ Policing Fails Science – WSJ

At Texas Tech University, a candidate for a faculty job in the department of biological sciences was flagged by the department’s search committee for not knowing the difference between “equality” and “equity.” Another was flagged for his repeated use of the pronoun “he” when referring to professors. Still another was praised for having made a “land acknowledgment” during the interview process. A land acknowledgment is a statement noting that Native Americans once lived in what is now the United States.

Truth be told. I don’t know the difference either. Under the garb of “progressiveness”, these are the new “standards” propping up funded (and “guided”) by investors. What is the purpose of a university? Is it to foster an academic curiosity or find itself a vehicle for garnering funds by establishing “chairs” and “deemed faculty”?

Academia signals “intellectual achievements”. Some are genuine. Some fake it till they make it. Some have imposter syndrome. What is the purpose as a clinician then? Serve patients or display academic credentials?

These virtue signalling emanating from universities is doing it more harm than good. Signalling doesn’t translate into actionable solutions.

The real life harm example is here from the link above:

Throughout these reports, the search committees displayed an eagerness to find breaches of DEI orthodoxy. One cell biology candidate was given a “red flag” for alleged “microaggressions towards women faculty.” The report names two examples: “assuming one junior faculty was a graduate student” and “minimizing the difficulties of women in the US by comparing to worse situations elsewhere.”

The evidence shows that diversity statements function as political litmus tests, but it’s worse than that. Heavily valuing DEI while selecting cell biologists, virologists and immunologists constitutes a massive failure of priority. This is an issue of academic freedom, and it is a degradation of higher education.

These are cultural contexts, but as waves of “progressive thinking” spread, it is an opportunity to replace the decaying institutional structure with something better.

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