Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is representing J.D. Haltigan, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and was formerly an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Haltigan wants to apply for a job in his specialty of developmental psychology at the University of California Santa Cruz, but the university's "very stringent" diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) requirement is an issue.
PLF attorney Wilson Freeman says it may be the most strict and demanding DEI statement requirement in the country.
"At the University of California, if you want to apply for a job in the faculty, you have to enter in your application what's called a DEI statement," the attorney details. "They provide applicants with a scoring rubric ahead of time, as well as a number of other documents, to sort of inform them on what the university understands diversity, equity, and inclusion to mean, what it is they're expected to put in their DEI statement, and what it is they must not say in their DEI statement."
Freeman says it is not that the university is asking Dr. Haltigan or others like him for their views on these questions; the UC system is asking them to tell them what they want to hear, what they must believe, and what they cannot say if they want to be considered for a job at the University of California.
"It's that practice of DEI statement which is so stringent and which is a part of the screening criteria for the job," Freeman asserts. "The other element here that we're challenging is that the DEI statement is the first thing and, in many cases, although not though specifically in this case, they're only going to look at his DEI statement and his research statement before they'll even look at his qualifications or anything that he's done to this point in his career."
In other words, the DEI statement is the most important element of the application in the University of California.
PLF filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco and hopes to be in court in the next month or so to seek an injunction against the DEI statement requirement.
AFN reached out to University of California and received the following response:
"As we have not yet been served, we are reserving comment."