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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

‘Loyalty oaths’ return as ‘diversity statements’

Professors who want tenure or promotion at the University of Illinois will have to submit a statement declaring how they support diversity, equity, inclusion and access, reports Colleen Flaherty on Inside Higher Ed.

“Numerous institutions or specific departments now require faculty job applicants to submit a

diversity statement,” she writes.

It’s a throwback to the 1950’s, when professors were forced to sign anti-communist loyalty oaths, writes Charles Lipson, an emeritus professor of political science, on Real Clear Politics.

To get or keep a job, professors “must pledge allegiance to an ideological statement,” he writes. They must conform to what the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucrats want before they can study and teach quantum physics or organic chemistry or statistics.

He recalls the courage of a friend, George Anastaplo, who was denied a chance to practice law in 1951 because he wouldn’t swear that he was not and never had been a Communist.

Anastaplo hated Marxism, writes Lipson. But he refused to answer.

His three-fold reply was that (1) the Constitution guaranteed freedom of association; (2) it was not illegal to belong to the Communist Party; and, most important, (3) it was totally improper for the Illinois Bar Association to ask him that question – or any question about an applicant’s political affiliation. His application to practice law was promptly denied.

He sued. Ten years later, the case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, writes Lipson. Anastaplo lost. Justice Hugo Black wrote the dissent:

“Too many men are being driven to become government-fearing and time-serving because the Government is being permitted to strike out at those who are fearless enough to think as they please and say what they think,” Justice Black wrote. “This trend must be halted if we are to keep faith with the Founders of our Nation and pass on to future generations of Americans the great heritage of freedom which they sacrificed so much to leave to us.”

Anastaplo never was admitted to the bar, writes Lipson. “Instead, he taught political philosophy for six decades, wrote multiple books on political thought and civil liberties, eventually teaching at Loyola University’s law school.”

Free speech and academic freedom are at stake when universities require faculty to “personally affirm the university’s views on contested social and political issues,” argues the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

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