Medical school ‘smuggles’ equity ideology, commitments into honor code

“[Agreeing to IUSM’s honor code]. . .would be deeply chilling for faculty who may dissent from university-sanctioned orthodoxy. . .[faculty] should not have to pass an ideological litmus test to proceed with. . .professional development,” FIRE’s report also said.

FIRE is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to defending freedom of speech.

“IU School of Medicine expects all in its community to reflect on these values and ensure that their views, beliefs, actions, and inactions do not, intentionally or unintentionally, perpetuate the problem of health care [sic] inequity,” IUSM’s honor code says, in part.

The honor code is part of the institution’s bias mitigation training, FIRE’s report explains. It is not yet clear if signing the honor code is a requirement.

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“This practice is unconstitutional for two reasons,” FIRE said in a letter to IUSM’s Dean Hess dated December 21, 2022 addressing the honor code situation.

“First, language in the pledge is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. Second, while IUSM may encourage faculty to adopt or express certain views, requiring them to recite and assent to university-sanctioned views violates faculty’s First Amendment right against compelled speech.”

The letter also declares that the requirement is “flatly inconsistent with the role of the university as a bastion of free inquiry and unenforceable at a public institution bound by the First Amendment.”

“Demonstrat[ing] conscious mitigation strategies to reduce harm, inequity, and injustice from unconscious bias” is among the goals outlined in IUSM’s “Mitigating Unconscious Bias in Decision-Making” training, according to a training document FIRE obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The organization’s request for clarification on whether the honor code is mandatory has gone unanswered, as has their request for comment on the school’s recent adoption of a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement for faculty seeking tenure and promotion.

This is not the first time IUSM has waded into territory appearing to threaten the academic freedom and expressive rights of its faculty.

IUSM “forc[ed] faculty to prove their woke beliefs to get promoted or get tenure. . .IUSM released a document laying out exactly what it wants to see – and it goes beyond compelled speech to compelled behavior,” Do No Harm reported on December 22, 2022.

Do No Harm is an organization focused on “protect[ing] healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology.”

Do No Harm describes the “Example Faculty Activities Toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” document as a “thoroughly politicized and ideological creation, betraying IUSM’s complete commitment to race-based medicine.”

Do No Harm says the document represents a violation of medical educators’ rights.

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