Every time a state passes some anti-DEI legislation, I spend a few minutes looking at the university hiring statistics for the public institutions serving that state. Every time, I ask myself: What DEI?
The “woke bastions of DEI” I hear about in the press do not appear to be so in reality when I look at faculty hiring. How can that be, given all the DEI that is making universities in general and law schools in particular WOKE? Could it be that merely calling faculty liberal does not make them so?
The answer might be this: DEI simply isn’t doing anything regarding faculty hiring. DEI may not exist as to hiring.
So, let’s take a look at DEI through the lens of conservatives and empirically see if their concerns, based upon their assumptions, are justified. I’m going to assume for this exercise and for this blog post that their opposition to DEI is akin to statements Sens. Ted Cruz and JD Vance make about it: These conservatives appear to argue DEI is “anti-white.” Do an internet search. Start with Texas’s Cruz and Ohio’s Vance as well as Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Bottom line: There appears to be some concern among these folks that DEI hurts white people. A liberal conspiracy, and who knows if Taylor Swift is involved (#Sarcasm)?
Given their assumption, just how “anti-white” is DEI? How much of the faculty workforce is nonwhite given the massive amounts of DEI on “liberal” college campuses?
Harvard Law, that woke bastion of liberal academia (#Sarcasm) for example, is still 80% white in its tenured faculty. According to its annual report, out of 90 total tenured faculty, 20% are faculty of color (6% Asian, 11% Black or African American, and 3% Hispanic or Latino/a).
Yale is similarly lacking in DEI. While its demographic data for student admissions is easy to find, I had to rely on general university sources and private actors to make a guess. LawSchoolTransparency.com estimates that it is around 75.9% white. University of Pennsylvania Law — home of Amy Wax — hosts a faculty 75% white, according to LST.
I could do this for every state that has banned DEI, too, and would come to staggering conclusions: Through Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and other states where DEI has been on run, there is simply little empirical evidence of an effect on faculty hiring.
Makes you wonder if DEI was ever present with respect to faculty hiring in the first place, apart from administration budgets and lip service.
Meanwhile, schools are getting dinged for not having a diverse faculty. In 2023, Baylor Law was found to be not in compliance with ABA Standard 206(b). Again, according to LST, their minority faculty is 14%. Remember, Woke Harvard’s was 20%.
Wait, the difference between extreme woke and not is …. 6%?????
And over what time frame? It would be nice to know if this is PROGRESS or a flat line. It would also be nice to know the distribution of that number across tenured faculty and nontenured faculty. How disparate are the numbers? How recent are diverse hires? Are they distributed evenly across titles, from assistant to associate to full?
On the student side, many of these same schools have vastly increased numbers of minority admissions (as an aggregate number). Some of the same law schools that are the foundation of what I call the “law professor cartel” (the group of law schools from which most tenure track professors hail) demonstrate similar trends. Harvard Law boasts its entering class is 51% “students of color.” Yale Law says its “students of color” are 57% of the class of 2026. Penn offers that its entering class is 49% “students of color,” prominently displayed.
It sure is easy to find student data. It sure is more difficult to find faculty data.
So, uh, what gives on the hiring front? Shouldn’t law school hiring reflect the enormous changes reflected in the admissions of those schools?
My answer is: I would very much like to know.
If I do this data drill for every law school in the US News top 30, will I find similar results in terms of faculty? Every time I do look at a random school, it is not good news.
What does the applicant pool look like versus employment? What divergence will I find there?
There is an increase in credentials out there. Does that create some disparities in effect? I’m leaving aside the socioeconomic effects here, which would be more transparent.
To get at these questions, I would need a whole lot of data from AALS.
AALS, you game?
Bottom line: While some conservatives claim DEI is “anti-white,” it seems DEI is pretty f*cking white to me with respect to faculty hiring.
LawProfBlawg is an anonymous law professor. You can see more of his musings here. He is way funnier on social media, he claims. Please follow him on X/Twitter/whatever (@lawprofblawg). He’s also on BlueSky, Mastodon, and Threads depending on his mood. Email him at email@example.com.