Case Dismissed: Legal Challenge to UC Santa Cruz’s Diversity Statements Rejected for Lack of Standing

Judge Edward Davila (N.D. Cal.) made a decision in Haltigan v. Drake regarding Plaintiff John D. Haltigan’s challenge of UC Santa Cruz’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) statements required from prospective faculty candidates. He contended the statements infringed upon his First Amendment academic freedom rights.

Haltigan alleged the DEI statement requirement made his application futile due to his views on “colorblind inclusivity,” “viewpoint diversity,” and “merit-based evaluation.” The complaint, however, did not demonstrate that he had actually applied for any openings at UC Santa Cruz. As a result, there was no standing to challenge the rule or policy.

Additionally, when citing First Amendment cases, Haltigan also failed to show that the Court’s discretionary permitting framework raised special First Amendment concerns. The court was unconvinced by his attempt to equate his case with the challenges to a municipality’s permitting or licensing scheme.

Furthermore, the facts alleged in the Complaint did not support that the University’s policies made his application futile. Thus, Plaintiff failed to demonstrate standing to bring his First Amendment claims.