San Francisco; May 18, 2023: Today, J.D. Haltigan — an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto — filed a lawsuit challenging the University of California at Santa Cruz’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement requirement for job applicants.

“UC Santa Cruz’ DEI statement requirement is nothing more than a rebranding of the unconstitutional loyalty oaths that proliferated during the Cold War ,” said Wilson Freeman, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Universities are not permitted to discriminate against applicants because of their political views. UC’s DEI statement screening is a thinly veiled attempt to do exactly that.”

J.D. holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Miami. In addition to his role as an assistant professor, he has been a scholar at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health . His academic research focuses on child and adolescent mental and physical illness.

All UC schools require applicants to submit DEI statements to even be considered for a position. UC Santa Cruz requires that successful statements should include particular beliefs about race, fairness, and other controversial socio-political issues. As a result, before the university will consider J.D.’s qualifications for the role, he must swear fealty to a particular racial justice ideology and political program that the school supports.

The case is J.D. Haltigan v. Michael Drake, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


about plf logo

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you are on deadline and need immediate assistance, or need a comment from a PLF attorney, please contact our media team at