The practice of DEI needs to be examined

To the editor:

Thank you for sharing this perceptive essay. The recent emergence of DEI hierarchy is becoming the predominant issue not only across higher education, but in corporate governance as well. It needs to be closely examined as to what it means in practice and in theory—what is acceptable and what is not.

It is a curious irony of “DEI” that it is the Latin plural for “DEUS.” At my alma mater Davidson College, the historic requirement that the majority of Trustees be Christian has recently been eliminated. If the Trustees were to permit departments now to require a Shibboleth (Judges 12 :5-6) statement avowing allegiance to the compulsory practices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, would this qualify as a substitute religious affiliation?

Of these three enshrined standards, I have greatest concern about “Equity,” for some idealize it to mean compulsory equality of outcomes, as opposed to equality of opportunity. Does social justice require the conformity of a far lower standard of living, and thinking, for all?

I favor inclusion of the (former) academic ideal of diversity of viewpoints, but that is not among the new pantheon of worthy deities. I have no problem with efforts to include faculty and students with a diversity of allegedly marginalized backgrounds, as long as the process does not enforce quotas to discriminate against applicants whose backgrounds are not among the favored categories.

For example, I was not opposed to having the celebrated Nikole Hannah-Jones grace the UNC-CH Journalism Department with her controversial ideas, or the irrepressibly partisan Gene Nichol at the Law School. My main objection is to the failure of balance in presenting opposing viewpoints. That is the foundational flaw in higher education today. Cheers for those at UNC-CH introducing a revitalized emphasis on what has been learned from three thousand years of Western Civilization!

Governor James G. Martin
Mooresville, North Carolina