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‘Diversity statements’ divide mathematicians

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Science  17 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6475, pp. 239
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6475.239

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Summary

A November essay written by Abigail Thompson, a vice president of the American Mathematical Society, criticizing mandatory diversity statements in university hiring has sparked controversy in the field of academic mathematics. Factions of mathematicians both supportive of and opposed to mandatory diversity statements penned a series of public letters in response to Thompson's essay. A group of mathematicians then analyzed the demographics of the signatories to these letters and found that those who oppose mandatory diversity statements are more likely to be white, male, and more established in their careers than those who support diversity statements. Others noted, however, that experience serving on hiring committees could sour otherwise prodiversity mathematicians on the practicality of mandatory diversity statements.

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