The NIH Sacrifices Scientific Rigor for DEI

Pasted below is an excellent brief article/letter — on a topic that is mostly forbidden to discuss (i.e., that the government “is sacrificing its highest standards of scientific creativity” in order to fully embrace DEI). I’ve had experiences and have heard of other stories in which “scientific rigor” has simply been muzzled, or discouraged, in order to promote this “Woke” ideology of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI). Recently — some States, and some universities and companies, in the U.S. have begun to reign in this political nonsense; so, perhaps this fad is on its way out. [Let’s hope “mandatory usage of pronouns” is the next issue to get phased out.]

For any GEITP’er(s) not aware of this partisan ideology, congratulations for remaining naïve. D.E.I. represent organizational frameworks which seek to promote “fair treatment and full participation of all people,” particularly groups “who historically have been underrepresented or subject to discrimination — on the basis of identity or disability.” E.S.G. stands for environmental, social, and governance. D.E.I. are regarded as pillars in ESG frameworks and represent the three main topic areas in which companies and academia are expected to report. DEI comprises the central “S” in “ESG”. It is proposed that “there can be no successful ESG without a sharpened focus on DEI.”

DwN

The NIH Sacrifices Scientific Rigor for DEI
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) in medical programs? It is not surprising, nor is it the first time grant money has been allocated for the purpose of furthering this discriminatory ideology.

John D. Sailer of the National Association of Scholars acquired thousands of pages of documents, revealing “how the [National Institutes of Health (NIH)] enforces an ideological agenda, prompting universities and medical schools to vet potential biomedical scientists for ‘wrongthink,’ regarding diversity.” The NIH has long been known to support DEI, and require the schools it funds to hire for diversity. Cornell University is just the latest to take the grant money from the NIH and join the ranks of the DEI-cluster hiring cadre.

Sailer has reported on NIH grants before. The NIH’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program, “which funds diversity-focused faculty hiring in the biomedical sciences,” has already funded institutions like the University of South Carolina and the University of New Mexico. By accepting FIRST grant money, colleges, universities, and medical schools must use diversity statements for all grant faculty hires. If candidates do not demonstrate sufficient devotion to DEI based on rubrics, they receive a low score—and typically will not be hired, Sailer explains,

That rubric penalizes job candidates for espousing colorblind equality and gives low scores to those who say they intend to ‘treat everyone the same.’ It likewise docks candidates who express skepticism about the practice of dividing students and faculty into racially segregated ‘affinity groups.’

Additionally, the FIRST rubrics often value DEI commitment on par with merit and academic excellence. The consideration given to DEI may vary depending on the rubric—like the Florida State University faculty hiring rubric which weighs DEI commitment at 28 percent—but it is a key factor regardless. Requiring a quota of diversity hires without respect to merit, especially in the medical field, is an alarming trend — not only because schools will be churning out students who could have a deficiency of proper training, but also for ideological discrimination against faculty. Sailer’s records requests show the truth behind DEI-hiring,

The records underscore that scientists simply can’t get hired in the program without an outstanding DEI score. Northwestern’s grant progress report describes an evaluation rubric that equally weighs a ‘commitment to diversity’ and research potential—a remarkable value judgment for a program that is supposed to be focused on cancer, cardiovascular health, and neuroscience.

The FIRST grant program sets a dangerous precedent. Even some colleges and universities who have not received FIRST grants are utilizing DEI-rubrics in hiring decisions—their motivations for doing so are not always disclosed, but it usually comes down to status, seeking future funding, or sheer commitment to the DEI ideology.

From administrative bloat to DEI-cluster hiring and merit-blind admissions quotas, when will this madness end? States like Texas, Utah, and Florida are already pushing back against DEI initiatives. However, with funding pouring into both red and blue states from institutions like the NIH, defeating the DEI hydra remains challenging. Texas, for instance, has banned DEI statements and offices at state universities, yet two universities have secured NIH FIRST grants and vow to promote DEI. The ensuing legal and legislative fights will be intriguing to watch.

As concerns and tensions around DEI continue to mount, spurred by revealing documents, investigations, and increasing pressure on colleges and universities to be accountable for their actions—or lack thereof—what will it take to vanquish the DEI beast? While we await that decisive moment, we remain steadfast in our commitment to uphold truth, excellence, and integrity in higher education.

Until next week.
Kali Jerrard
Communications Associate
National Association of Scholars

COMMENTS:
Dear Dr. Nebert,
While I understand there can be different views on some of these issues, but to imply in the title that NIH plans to sacrifice scientific rigor for DEI is simply “over the top”. It is not an “either or,” the FIRST program promotes “both and.” In the end, without successful role models that reflect our growing diverse population as doctors, research scientists, engineers, and other biomedical professionals — we simply continue to propagate the myth that only white men are worthy of such professions. I, for one, would like to break down some of those barriers, and if it means incentivize some opportunities, then I am all for it.
Sincerely, Ken Greis, PhD

Hi Dan:
“Incentivize some opportunities,” says Ken Greis. I guess lower standards for admission, and eliminating or reducing metrics for completion of training (PhD, MD, commercial pilot license. or whatever) — are various means “to incentivize.” The elimination of meritocracy is a bad idea and we will suffer the consequences for generations. We already have in place programs to assist individuals from underrepresented groups. If we are really serious about enhancing the chances for these individuals to achieve their goals, the solution is not “lowering the bar” but rather “raising the ground on which they stand” so that the bar can be more easily cleared.

I’ve been a standing member of three NIH study sections, as well as serving ad hoc on over 40 others. In addition, I served as PI for a T35 training grant from NIEHS offering summer internships for minority undergraduates. We recruited African-American students from Xavier in New Orleans. I also directed a T32 training grant for a dozen years, and we actively recruited persons of color — which was difficult, given the demographics in Oregon. In my 35 years in academia, I saw many programs designed to enhance opportunities for minority students and never saw any barriers. I find the statement “..continue to propagate the myth that only white men are worthy of such professions” very offensive.

Dr. Greis is obviously well meaning, and I have no doubt he sincerely wants to increase the representation of underserved populations in these professions. As is typical though, rather than an honest discussion of your “alternative facts,” he simply requests that you cut off further communication.

Keep up the good work, Dan.

David E. Williams
Extinguished Professor Emeritus
Linus Pauling Institute and Environmental and Molecular Toxicology; Oregon State University

P.S. And, of course, Victor Davis Hanson captures what I was trying to say — in a much more elegant fashion: ☹☹

“If one does not qualify for a position or slot by accepted standards, then a series of further remedial interventions are needed to sustain the woke project — by providing exceptions and exemptions, changing rules and requirements, and misleading the nation that a more “diverse” math, or more “inclusive” engineering, or more “equity” in chemistry can supplant mastery of critical knowledge that transcends gender, race, or ideology…”

March 27, 2024

So, if I understand Ken Greis correctly, “justification” comes from the need to create role models. I am not sure that role models need to be of the same race or sex. As a youth, I came from a low middle class Italian-American catholic family. It was my impression that important professions were dominated by white Anglo-Saxon protestants. I didn’t have a problem with that. In fact, I embraced them as role models.
Ray
Professor Emeritus, Proctor & Gamble; University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Dear Dr. Nebert,
While I understand there can be different views on some of these issues, but to imply in the title that NIH plans to sacrifice scientific rigor for DEI is simply “over the top”. It is not an “either or,” the FIRST program promotes “both and.” In the end, without successful role models that reflect our growing diverse population as doctors, research scientists, engineers, and other biomedical professionals — we simply continue to propagate the myth that only white men are worthy of such professions. I, for one, would like to break down some of those barriers, and if it means incentivize some opportunities, then I am all for it.
Sincerely,
Ken Greis, PhD
Professor of Cancer Biology; Univ Cinci College of Medicine

Hi Dan,

I am a member of National Association of Scholars (NAS). It will be interesting to see if you get any pushback on this NAS Op-Ed article.
I hope you are well.
Nancy

Professor Emerita, Oregon State University

No wonder that in Latin, “DEI” is the plural of DEUS, god: “The gods.”

Alvaro

Professor Emeritus, Univ Cincinnati College of Medicine

From: Anonymous
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2024 5:36 PM
Dan,
I saw this in a Letter-to-the-Editor, Wall Street Journal:
What “DEI” really means:
“D” for Divisiveness

“E” for Entitlement

“I” for Intimidation

—————
—Professor. [Somewhere] Not retired…

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