Suppose the provost at Virginia Tech started a new "patriotism" initiative. In the first year, he would permit faculty members to self-report their "patriotism accomplishments."
In the second year, faculty members would be strongly encouraged to report their "patriotism accomplishments" on their annual reports of their activities. In the third year, faculty members would be told that "patriotism accomplishments are especially important for faculty seeking tenure and promotion," and dossiers for tenure and promotion would be a list of kinds of activities that would count as sufficiently "patriotic." Faculty assessment in the area of "patriotism" would include attention to "patriotism" in one's publications and one's syllabus, and faculty members would be encouraged to further educate themselves about "patriotism" by going to patriotic events, which they would report to their superiors in their dossiers.
Or insert the word "Christianity" in place of "patriotism." Suppose the provost informs all faculty, graduate students, and tenure and review committees that Christian activities are something they are encouraged to report in their self-assessments. After three years, there is a "Christian accomplishments" section in the tenure dossier, a list of approved activities, and strong pressure to incorporate Christian themes into faculty members' research, teaching and professional development.
Do you think this kind of thing couldn't happen at Virginia Tech? It is happening now. Just change "patriotism" or "Christianity" to a different matter of individual conscience: dedication to "diversity."
In Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the latest changes to the "diversity" requirements for faculty assessment are the subject of a vote that ends March 31. But this kind of policy is coercive, in violation of basic principles of academic freedom and freedom of conscience, and not at all the kind of thing that can or should be voted on. Minority views must be protected, and faculty members should not be asked to vote away their rights and freedoms. Virginia Tech, like every public university in the nation, is bound by the First Amendment to respect freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.