University of Utah to drop ‘diversity statements’ on job postings

Jan 8, 2024, 6:52 AM

Rep. Katy Hall, R-South Ogden, on the House floor on Jan. 26, 2022. She points to certain postings ...

Rep. Katy Hall, R-South Ogden, on the House floor on Jan. 26, 2022. She points to certain postings for University of Utah jobs, in particular, in her plans to craft legislation for the 2024 session that prohibits "diversity statements." (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The president of the University of Utah said the school will begin to discontinue “any type of diversity statements or similar practices,” citing “recent statements” by Utah leaders that have pushed back against the practice in recent weeks, as well as new directives issued by Utah Board of Higher Education, according to an email obtained by KSL.

The email, sent internally by University of Utah President Taylor Randall to other administrators on Friday, calls on all of the school’s hiring units to make the change.

“Human resources teams on main campus and University of Utah Health are available to assist in designing job postings and potential interview questions for positions to accommodate the need to assess an applicant’s knowledge and ability to meet all aspects of a job function,” he wrote.

The update comes as Utah lawmakers say they are fine-tuning new legislative proposals aimed at curtailing the types of statements from being included in job listings.

Utah Rep. Katy Hall, R-South Ogden, did talk at length about her proposal since it remains a work in progress. Her proposed legislation last year on the same topic — a growing area of concern among some conservative lawmakers across the country — ultimately stalled.

But she supplied with links to six online job postings, including five that had been posted by the University of Utah, that contain the sort of language she and others, including Gov. Spencer Cox, find objectionable. The University of Utah “definitely has the most,” she said, estimating that 15%-20% of job postings from the state’s flagship university contain language asking applicants to supply statements related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

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University of Utah to drop ‘diversity statements’ on job postings