Still More on Viewpoint Discrimination
April 15, 2005
by David French
As the AAUP consistently argues that the faculty hiring process is ideologically neutral, anecdotal evidence of viewpoint discrimination keeps rolling in. Earlier this week, I spoke with a professor at Colgate University who told me that the hiring committees he has participated in have always discussed the viewpoints of applicants and have decisively favored leftists. Last night, we received the following email. I will reproduce it in its entirety (with all identifying information removed):
I’m the Dean of the Faculty at a community college in [omitted]. I can cite a number instances of Bias in hiring based upon viewpoint, or affiliation.
A number of years while on the hiring committee for [omitted], one candidate whose then current position was a senior administrator for the Republican Governor was purposefully ignored because of two factors: her affiliation with the Republican Gov., and her Doctorate was from Pepperdine, a religious university—2 factors cited for not passing her on (although we have hired Pepperdine Doctorates since).
Three or four years ago I was on a hiring committee for a Dean; one of the top candidates in my opinion was a person who was a vice-President and Dean of a Bible College, the nature of the college coming out during the interview. With the revelation that his institution formerly had “Bible College” in its title, the body language of the hiring committee changed and their tone got hostile. He was the only one interviewed who had a Doctorate; he had plenty of experience, but most of those in the hiring room were “uncomfortable” with his academic affiliation—as they said in the discussion following the interview. Ironically, the candidate we did hire, who has since become my friend, a person with lesser credentials but properly “laundered” through service at a neighboring community college, is noted as a “flaming fundamentalist” by a number of colleagues. His sin: reading from the book of Psalms at a memorial service for a deceased colleague, and for his once in a while saying “praise the Lord.” He is quite pious, but he managed to hide his faith to get hired, and promoted. Will he get the college presidency he’s training himself for? Not if the anti-religious bigots have their say.
The third instance comes to me second hand, but from a fellow conservative colleague. She reports from last year’s faculty hiring committee for an opening in Speech; one candidate’s resume listed experience as a speech writer for George W. Bush when he was Governor of Texas. That was sufficient information for most of the committee not to want to even grant this person an interview.
And, last year my district, in hiring nearly 60 new faculty members, spent over $200,000 for Diversity Officers. Every step of the hiring process, from the start-up activities getting the hiring committee together, through the paper screens, and during the interviews and tallies, is monitored by a Diversity Officer earning from $60-$77 an hour. Assuming that a hire takes 50 hours, that’s a minimum of $3000 a hire for “diversity”!
So, viewpoint and affiliation can keep people from even being considered.
Please don’t publish my name; I have administrative aspirations and a conservative label, moreso than the one I have now, could prove deadly.