© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho education officials initially OK policy banning diversity statements

A brick wall with  University of Idaho in gold letters written on it with the date 1889 above it.
Richard Rodriguez
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s State Board of Education has unveiled a proposed policy banning diversity statements as a condition of hiring a job applicant.

The policy will only apply to the state’s colleges and universities. It’s been in the works since April when state board members directed staff to draft it.

The move followed state lawmakers bashing the use of mandatory diversity statements as a condition of the hiring process throughout the past legislative session.

Patrick Coulson, the board’s chief financial officer, outlined the goals of the policy at Wednesday morning’s board meeting.

“Institutions shall create a welcoming and dynamic learning environment of belonging by administrators, faculty, and staff who are invested in the success of every student,” Coulson said, reading from the policy.

As part of that, colleges and universities cannot require a job applicant to turn in a written diversity statement as a condition of the hiring process.

“Overall, this proposal reaffirms the board’s goal to continue to create and nurture a safe and welcoming and dynamic learning environment,” he said.

As previously reported by Boise State Public Radio, faculty members at other colleges and universities across the country have raised First Amendment concerns about mandatory diversity statements.

A 2022 survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a free speech nonprofit, found faculty at four-year higher ed institutes in the U.S. are evenly split on the question of whether diversity statements are a justifiable requirement.

Board members unanimously accepted the draft, but it still needs final approval before being adopted.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.