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Idaho Board Of Education Bans 'Invite,' 'Requirement' Of Diversity Statements For Employment

State Board President: 'We Want To Hire Highly Qualified People Invested In The Success Of Every Student At Our Institutions'

The Idaho State Board of Education has approved a resolution to prohibit the request or requirement of candidates writing diversity statements for employment at four-year public institutions in Idaho.

The effort appears to have been spurred by Idaho State Senator Brian Lenney along with the Freedom Caucus of Idaho.

“The Idaho State Board of Education today unanimously approves a Board resolution prohibiting either requesting or requiring written diversity statements from candidates applying for employment at Idaho’s four-year public institutions,” reads the Board of Education’s statement. “The resolution, which is effective immediately, was developed with input from institution leaders.”

“Requiring written statements can complicate matters and take the focus off qualifications of individual candidates,” State Board President Kurt Liebich said. “We want to hire highly qualified people invested in the success of every student at our institutions.”

Liebich said hiring decisions should be made based on merit and the qualifications of the candidates who apply for positions at institutions.

“It is in the best interest of the institutions to create a welcoming and dynamic environment of belonging by administrators, faculty, and staff who are invested in the success of every student,” reads the Board’s resolution. “Prospective and current faculty and other staff may be or previously have been invited or required to demonstrate their commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion through a written ’diversity statement’ as a condition of hiring.”

“The use of written diversity statements to evaluate candidates for hire may result in employment decisions based on factors other than one’s own merit,” the resolution continued. “Idaho State University, Boise State University, Lewis-Clark State College and the University of Idaho shall not invite nor require any candidate for hire to demonstrate commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion through a written diversity statement.”

The resolution concluded by encouraging administrators, faculty, and staff to continue to create and nurture a safe, welcoming and dynamic learning environment of belonging for all students.

Chief Academic Officer TJ Bliss noted the resolution only bans the invitation or request of written diversity statements “affirming certain principles.”

“There would be no prohibition on having conversations relevant to a job about any of these topics that might show up in a diversity statement,” Bliss said.

One Board staff member said the board was “not aware of any specific concerns by faculty” in Idaho regarding diversity statements in hiring decisions, per IDED News.
Board staff must draft legal language for adoption by an upcoming August meeting.
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