VICTORY: University of Washington rejects DEI statement proposal that threatened academic freedom

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (formerly the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) (FIRE) reports:

Last week, the University of Washington faculty voted down a proposed amendment to the faculty code that would have required tenure and promotion candidates to “reflect on past and planned contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the self-assessment of their qualifications for tenure or promotion.” FIRE wrote to UW in late May expressing concern that the proposed policy would penalize faculty who dissent from the prevailing campus consensus on DEI-related issues.

In March, UW’s Faculty Council on Race, Equity, and Justice submitted the proposed amendment to the faculty senate, which approved the amendment, sending it to the full faculty for a vote. Faculty voting concluded on June 6, and the amendment failed to pass.

The proposal’s failure to pass is a victory for academic freedom. The First Amendment prohibits public universities like UW from compelling faculty to endorse specific political or ideological views or to demonstrate their commitment to those views through their academic (or non-academic) activities.