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Bari Weiss calls for end to DEI programs, says they undermine ‘central missions’ of institutions

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Bari Weiss called for an end to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs on Tuesday and argued that they undermine the “central missions” of institutions that adopt such policies. 

Weiss wrote in a piece for Tablet Magazine that institutions such as colleges and universities, media companies, museums, major corporations and more had adopted “diversity, equity and inclusion” programs. 

“But in reality, these words are now metaphors for an ideological movement bent on recategorizing every American not as an individual, but as an avatar of an identity group, his or her behavior prejudged accordingly, setting all of us up in a kind of zero-sum game,” Weiss wrote.

Weiss, founder of The Free Press, said DEI programs undermine “the central missions of the institutions that adopt it,” and said the response to Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel from college leaders and students across the U.S. showed just how dangerous the DEI ideology is. 

Bari Weiss

Bari Weiss, the founder of The Free Press, moderates a debate in California on September 13, 2023.  ((Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images))

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“But nothing has made the dangers of DEI more clear than what’s happening these days on our college campuses—the places where our future leaders are nurtured,” she wrote, referencing the wave of demonstrations across college campuses following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack. 

Weiss said university professors were “compelled” to support DEI efforts to get promoted, hired or tenured. 

“We see students and professors, immersed not in facts, knowledge, and history, but in a dehumanizing ideology that has led them to celebrate or justify terrorism,” Weiss, who is Jewish, wrote. 

She wrote that DEI was really about “arrogating power.”

Anti-Israel protest, Brooklyn College

Students from Brooklyn College and supporters hold signs during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the entrance of the campus on October 12, 2023. (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket)

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“And the movement that is gathering all this power does not like America or liberalism. It does not believe that America is a good country—at least no better than China or Iran. It calls itself progressive, but it does not believe in progress; it is explicitly anti-growth. It claims to promote “equity,” but its answer to the challenge of teaching math or reading to disadvantaged children is to eliminate math and reading tests. It demonizes hard work, merit, family, and the dignity of the individual,” Weiss wrote. 

Professors at Cornell described Hamas’ brutal attack against Jews as “exhilarating.” Some major donors at other universities have pledged to pull their donations following what they believed to be an inadequate response to the terrorist attacks. 

“It is time to end DEI for good. No more standing by as people are encouraged to segregate themselves. No more forced declarations that you will prioritize identity over excellence. No more compelled speech. No more going along with little lies for the sake of being polite,” she said.

Supporters of Palestinians at Harvard University

Supporters of Palestinians gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Jewish people have outlived every single regime and ideology that has sought our elimination. We will persist, one way or another. But DEI is undermining America, and that for which it stands—including the principles that have made it a place of unparalleled opportunity, safety, and freedom for so many. Fighting it is the least we owe this country,” Weiss added. 

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