University of Massachusetts Boston: Requiring Faculty Applicants to Commit to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


University of Massachusetts – Boston

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

Seeing that several faculty positions at the University of Massachusetts Boston require applicants to demonstrate “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” FIRE wrote the university on June 26, 2023, explaining that the First Amendment prohibits rejecting applicants for failure to profess allegiance to any particular political or ideological position. FIRE also explained that lack of definitions for key terms like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion,” invites improper, subjective determinations of whether applicants meet the criteria. FIRE thus called on UMass Boston to eliminate the viewpoint-discriminatory requirement and uphold faculty’s expressive and academic freedom rights. 

After UMass Boston responded on July 28 with only general assurances, we wrote the university again on August 3 to express disappointment at the lack of explicit confirmation that the university would remove DEI requirements in applications moving forward. UMass Boston responded via email, insisting our concerns had been addressed and there was nothing to add. Yet, UMass Boston continues to post faculty job listings with DEI requirements. So, FIRE wrote the university once more on October 30, demanding removal of those requirements. UMass Boston responded, but only referring us to its previous correspondence.  UMass Boston responded, referring us to its previous correspondence and quietly removed the DEI requirements from the applications.