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University of Utah discontinues ‘diversity questions or statements’ in hiring after governor’s criticisms

University of Utah sign
Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 19:27:16-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah will now eliminate any “diversity questions or statements” from its hiring process for new faculty and staff — a response that comes after mounting pressure from state lawmakers and the governor, who called the practice “bordering on evil.

The move from the state’s flagship school was announced in an email Friday afternoon from the office of President Taylor Randall. A screenshot of the message was shared with The Salt Lake Tribune and confirmed by a university spokesperson.

The spokesperson said the email was sent to all deans and department chairs and other senior leadership positions at the school that typically lead the search and hiring for new employees.

The message notes that it was sent “in light of recent statements made by elected leaders and directives from the Utah Board of Higher Education to eliminate diversity questions or statements used in hiring at Utah’s higher education institutions.”

All hiring units, it continues, “should discontinue the use of any type of diversity statements or similar practices.”

The U. — along with the other seven public colleges and universities in the state — has denied that it uses any kind of “diversity statement” in its hiring practices as originally described and criticized by Gov. Spencer Cox.

Cox had said during a news conference last month that he was appalled to learn about “diversity statements you have to sign to get hired” at the state’s public institutions of higher education. He suggested that practice with diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, was “bordering on evil.”

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