A student protest at Columbia University, where academic standards appear to be sliding further and further. (Steve Rosenbach/Getty Images)

Want to Get Hired by Columbia? Put DEI Before Teaching.

The university uses an “evaluation tool” that assigns as much weight to a candidate’s DEI credentials as to their research.

Last week I revealed how Yale’s department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry tells hiring faculty to put “DEI at the center of every decision,” and how every job advertised by the department links to a DEI “rubric” that tests candidates’ “commitment to promoting DEI.” 

Now I’ve discovered that Columbia is using an “evaluation tool”—strikingly similar to the Yale rubric—that mandates hiring committees assign more weight to DEI than teaching, and to give DEI equal weight to research. 

The tool, designed by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, tells faculty to give each candidate up to 50 points, with DEI comprising 15 of those points—the same amount as their research. An additional ten points each are awarded in the areas of teaching and service. 

Within the DEI bracket, job candidates can score up to five points in each of the three categories if they fulfill the following requirements:

  • Knowledge and understanding: Declare that DEI is a “core value that every faculty and staff member should actively contribute to advancing.”

  • Track record: Attest that they have “served as a leader in a student or professional organization that supports underrepresented individuals.” 

  • Plans: Confirm they want to advance DEI “at Columbia and within their field, through their research, teaching, and service.” 

In other words, if Columbia search committees follow the advice of their administrators, they would rank an average researcher with strong DEI credentials more highly than an outstanding researcher who expresses skepticism about, say, segregated graduations.

(Meanwhile, the worst thing any scholar or scientist could do for their job prospects is to focus on diversity of thought in their mandatory DEI statement. Don’t even think about using the word color-blind. If that describes your approach to diversity—as it does for Columbia graduate and Free Press contributor Coleman Hughes, for example—keep it to yourself.)

If the “tentifada” protesters who took over Columbia weren’t enough to put prospective students off the Ivy League college, sliding academic standards might just be. Perhaps one day Columbia will again be a serious institution.

John Sailer is a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @JohnDSailer, and read his Free Press piece “John Sailer: The DEI Rollback.”

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