Pennsylvania college blasted for 'anti-racist' preference in job description: 'Political litmus test'

Pennsylvania college blasted for 'anti-racist' preference in job description: 'Political litmus test'

November 6, 2021

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Pennsylvania State University is hiring a new assistant professor of architecture but is asking applicants to show their commitment to “anti-racism and anti-oppression.”

The description for the job states that the position is “focused on architectural materials, construction methods and processes.”

While the position is for applicants with a background in architecture, the posting states that the “ideal candidate” will work to “establish a culture of anti-racism and anti-oppression.”

Students chat in front of Old Main, the main administrative building at Penn State University after sunset at University Park in State College, Pa.

“The College of Arts & Architecture is working to establish a culture of anti-racism and anti-oppression that embraces individual identities, fosters a culture of inclusion and promotes equity through curricula, values, standards, ideals, policies and practices,” the description states. “The ideal candidate will provide evidence of their experience with, and interest in, contributing to these goals.”

Applicants are instructed to explain in their cover letter “how equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging relate to your academic, research, creative activity and/or service experience.”

The exterior of Beaver Stadium, home of the Penn State University Nittany Lions football team.

Aaron Terr, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education told Fox News that this can serve as a political litmus test.

“There’s what we consider an illiberal inclination to shrink the window of acceptable opinion on these issues, [which] shouldn’t be enshrined in the university policy,” Terr said. “I do think that this example at Penn State, like many other similar requirements that you know are clearly ideologically motivated, can too easily function as political litmus tests and penalize faculty for effectively holding a dissenting opinion on matters of public concern.”

Snow covers the Nittany Lion on the Penn State Berks campus.  (Harold Hoch/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Terr explained that while FIRE does not judge the merit of political arguments such as anti-racism or anti-oppression, it objects to ideological requirements at public universities.

“So it’s not a matter of which side of the political spectrum it’s coming from. It’s just a matter of preserving faculty members’ personal rights and rights to academic freedom,” Terr said.

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania State University told Fox News that “the job description speaks for itself. Fostering a diverse and inclusive community is one of Penn State’s core values, and this position reflects this commitment.”

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