Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ideological Litmus Test In University Hiring?

Daphne Patai, a Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst wrote an interesting article that explores some of the hiring guidelines, set forth by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. The questions that they list seek to determine an applicant's commitment to "social justice," "equity" and other issues. I am in complete agreements with Professorr Patai that questions that seek to gauge an applicant's ideological orientation, rather than their professional expertise are entirely inappropriate, especially in a public institution. Sadly the university has drifted away from its vital role as a center for free and open intellectual inquiry and exploration.

Enclosed are the actual questions used. Parentheses are used to indicate that one or more of the following words are missing: Minorities, Blacks, Hispanics, Native-American; Women; economically disadvantaged persons; disabled persons; veterans or disabled veterans; homosexuals, gays, lesbians; protected groups; affirmative action groups, etc.

How have you demonstrated your commitment to (____) issues in your current position?
Which of your achievements in the area of equity for (____) gives you the most satisfaction?
How would you demonstrate your concern for equity for (____) if you were hired?
In your opinion, what are the three major problems for (____) on your campus?
How are general issues in higher education related to (____) issues? What is the link?
Describe activities--include articles, interviews, and speeches--in which you have taken part that demonstrate a public commitment to equity.
In your current position, have you ever seen a (____ ) treated unfairly? How would/did you handle it?
In your current position, what is your relationship to the affirmative action officer? Have you ever sought his or her help in recruiting?
How many of the top people at your current or previous institution are (____ )? What did you do to encourage hiring more (____ )?
Which committee at your current institution would you consider the most powerful? How many (____) are on it? How many (____ ) have you appointed to it?
How did/would you deal with faculty members or employees who say disparaging things about (____)?
What scholarship about (____) have you read lately?
Have any students ever complained to you about sexual harassment or discrimination in any work with professors or staff? If so, how did you respond?
* Adapted from It's All in What You Ask, Association of American Colleges Project on the Status and Education of Women. Bernice R. Sandler, Project Director.

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