Model legislation proposed by a higher-education reform group in North Carolina would prohibit political and ideological litmus tests in hiring decisions for public K-12 schools and public universities.

The legislation applies to schools that require applicants for employment to sign a document affirming their support for the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) agenda. Some applicants are automatically weeded out based on their responses. For example, the University of California Santa Cruz admits to screening out applicants if their answers to DEI questions fall short.

Research from the American Enterprise Institute estimates that one in five of university job descriptions require an affirmation of DEI.

The model legislation was drafted by the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, the Goldwater Institute, and Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics in Public Policy Center. It requires that “no political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into, or promotion within, any public educational institution of the state, as a teacher, employee, or student.”

“Diversity statements stifle academic freedom and insert ideology into faculty hiring,” said Jenna A. Robinson, president of the Martin Center, in a statement. “Their use undermines merit and contributes to groupthink on campus. There’s no good reason for public schools or universities to require that candidates use them.”

In North Carolina, the Martin Center has collected numerous examples of institutions of higher education requiring DEI statements for job applicants. One job posting for an assistant professor in computer science stated that “a successful candidate will demonstrate a sincere commitment to promoting advocacy, diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and social justice, as evidenced by prior efforts.”