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I got the impression that many of these statements are just administrative red tape. I would be curious to hear how often they are taken seriously - I do suspect some teaching schools with a diverse student population take them seriously. However, if I recall, all UC's require one. I would be pretty surprised if UCLA was putting a lot of weight on the diversity statement.

Former UC grad student

Haven't served on a search committee, but there's a relevant law in California that some might be interested in, which helps explain why UC jobs ask for diversity statements.

The law is written into the California constitution (Article 31 of Section I), as approved by voters (Proposition 209) in 1996.

The law makes it illegal for public employers (including UC schools) to discriminate against anyone, *or treat anyone preferentially*, based on various protected identity categories (including race, sex, color, ethnicity, national origin).


This limits the extent to which UC schools can take any 'diversity'-relevant characteristics into account in hiring. Because of that, UC schools who want to increase diversity cannot rely directly on candidates' identities to increase diversity. It's illegal even to take these things into account. But it's not illegal to take into account a candidate's commitment to diversity, and their skills in working towards fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments.

So the diversity statements can give some information about the latter thing.

What does this mean for what should be included in a diversity statement? I'm not sure, exactly. But you should know, as an applicant, that part of the practice of *asking* for diversity statements comes out of a desire to see how candidates might genuinely support equity, diversity, and inclusion if they were hired.


The UC system has example letters to help with writing them as well. Here is a link from UCSD


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