Prof sues school for trying to impose ideological conformity

May 29, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

An assistant professor at the University of Toronto has filed a lawsuit against the University of California at Santa Cruz for trying to impose ideological conformity throughout its system by the use of a loyalty oath.

"Today's loyalty oath does not demand a pledge that professors are not members of the Communist Party, but professed agreement with 'Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion' policies and ideology. The DEI statements demanded by the university are a thinly veiled attempt to ensure dogmatic conformity throughout the university system," charges a lawsuit filed by J.D. Haltigan against the school and its officials.

"UC Santa Cruz’ DEI statement requirement is nothing more than a rebranding of the unconstitutional loyalty oaths that proliferated during the Cold War ," said Wilson Freeman, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. "Universities are not permitted to discriminate against applicants because of their political views. UC’s DEI statement screening is a thinly veiled attempt to do exactly that."

Haltigan holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Miami. In addition to his role as an assistant professor, he has been a scholar at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health . His academic research focuses on child and adolescent mental and physical illness, PLF explained.

"But now UC schools all demand applicants to submit DEI statements to even be considered for a position. UC-Santa Cruz requires that successful statements should include particular beliefs about race, fairness, and other controversial socio-political issues," the lawsuit said.

The complaint charges, "The university administration ensures conformity and compliance by promulgating detailed rubrics and guidelines that ell applicants exactly what to say and what not to say in their statements."

Haltigan is challenging that operational "loyalty oath" as a violation of the First Amendment.

"The First Amendment does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom," the complaint explains. "Academic freedom and freedom of expression demand that mandatory DEI statements meet the same fate as the loyalty oaths of previous generations."

Defendants include school officials Michael V. Drake, Cynthia K. Larive, Benjamin C. Storm and Katharyne Mitchell.

The mandatory oath at the school originated years ago with a state Acadmic Personnel Manual update that encouraged diversity.

"This section was designed to ensure that faculty which put effort into promoting equal opportunity and diversity receive some credit, but not to displace or substitute for scholarly rigor, objectivity, and originality," the lawsuit charges.

However, the school since then has been pressured "more aggressively to pursue ideological conformity and a vision of diversity focused on racial, ethnic, and gender balancing."

That has resulted is a resurrection of the anti-Community Party type oaths of days gone by.

The new requirements, for example, promise applicants "low scores" for believing "race and sex should not be used to judge individuals."

The case seeks a ruling that the school is in violation of the First Amendment, and an injunction banning enforcement of its ideological demands.

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