In 1950, the California Legislature created a McCarthyite Committee on Un-American Activities and enacted the Levering Act, requiring all state employees to sign “loyalty oaths” but specifically aimed at the University of California’s faculty. 31 tenured professors were fired for refusing to sign it.
In 1967, California’s Supreme Court voted 6-1 declaring the Levering Act to be unconstitutional.
Fast forward 52 years.
Now it is the Left who are engaged in the same McCarthyism that they decry. The unconstitutional Levering Act has returned in a new University of California (UC) policy requiring new faculty hires as well as applicants for promotion to pass a political test of the Left.
Dan Walters writes in CalMatters.org, July 30, 2019, that although UC’s Board of Regents officially declares that “No political test shall ever be considered in the appointment and promotion of any faculty member or employee,” a new UC policy is doing exactly that.
As part of its “commitment to diversity and excellence,” UC’s administrators are telling recruiters for faculty positions to take “pro-active steps to seek out candidates committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.” Applicants for new faculty employment and promotions must submit “diversity statements” that will be scored “with rubrics provided by Academic Affairs”. Only applicants who achieve a scoring cutoff will be be considered.
To illustrate, the academic affairs department at UC-Davis says that diversity statements from tenure-track faculty applicants should have “an accomplished track record…of teaching, research or service activities addressing the needs of African-American, Latino, Chicano, Hispanic and Native American students or communities.” Their statements must “indicate awareness” of those communities and “the negative consequences of underutilization” and “provide a clearly articulated vision” of how their work at UC-Davis would advance diversity policies.
Jeffrey Flier, former director of the Harvard Medical School, is among the respected academics who see the inherent contradictions and perils in UC’s new political litmus test. Flier wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
As a supporter of the original goals of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, my skepticism toward this policy surprised a number of friends and colleagues. But it is entirely inappropriate to require diversity statements in the process of appointment and promotion. Such requirements risk introducing a political litmus test into faculty hiring and reviews.
It’s not unreasonable to be concerned that politically influenced attestations might begin to re-emerge in the current hyperpartisan political environment, either in response to politically driven demands for faculty to support populist or nationalist ideas, or from within the increasingly polarized academy itself. Since progressive/left identifications are dominant in the academy, especially in the humanities and social sciences (as well as in administration), politically influenced litmus tests could easily arise in that sphere.
Ironically, given its already overwhelmingly liberal faculty, University of California’s new “diversity” litmus test would only make the faculty even less ideologically diverse and more totalitarian.
Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!