Civil rights investigation of admissions

12/17/2009: Anyone who has been in UO classroom recently – particularly an honors class – will be struck by how few male students there are. Girls are doing better and better in HS, boys not so much. Apparently some selective colleges have been giving boys an advantage in admissions, to try and reach sort of gender balance. Now the US Council on Civil Rights has issued supoenas to try and learn more about the extent of this practice.

The motivations for this affirmative action for boys must get pretty interesting. Lets assume that in general girls would like to go to a college with a reasonable number of high quality boys, but that there is a shortage of these good boys. So more good boys allows a given school to attract better girls and charge them higher tuition. But boys may prefer to be at a school where they are as smart as the average girl. So affirmative action is not the ideal solution – colleges want good boys, not bad ones. It would be better for colleges to target good boys. Tuition discounts for good boys is one solution, but that’s apparently illegal – the discounts have to be gender neutral, so you also attract even higher quality girls, and still have the imbalance.

So instead we have college sports. Boys love them. Another solution would be to add academic programs that good boys like, such as engineering. Part of the problem with boys is that they mature later. Maybe encourage them to take a year or two off before college? Any other ideas?

Job Announcement

11/18/2009: UO is running an open search for a new Vice Provost for International Affairs. So far as we can tell, this is the second time we have had an open public search for a senior administrator in about 4 years. First Brad Shelton, now this. Of the current crop, we believe that Provost Jim Bean, VP Michael Redding, AD Mike Bellotti, Football Coach Chip Kelly, and most notoriously Diversity VP Charles Martinez were all hired and or promoted without following the regular Affirmative Action compliant open search process. President Lariviere is not an exception. His hiring did follow AA rules – but he was hired by OUS, not UO.

wǒ bùtazer, xiōng dì!

11/17/2009: I’m not so sure I would want to be arrested by the Chinese police rather than the Eugene ones. But the fact that the question has to be asked seriously should be about as shocking to any American as the 30K volts from a Tazer. From the Tuesday RG letters:

Eugene failed Chinese students

I have a comment about the incident involving our police and a student from China. I have visited China more than once and have always been warmly welcomed. I do not speak Chinese, but if there are any communication difficulties, the Chinese that I have met have tried to make things work. If the Chinese police were to break into my bedroom, I expect that I would be terrified and I am not sure how I would react. I would hope that the Chinese police would, by their soft voices and calm demeanor, reassure me that they did not intend to hurt me. My lack of language abilities would be quickly apparent, but I would hope that the Chinese police would find a way to translate. Cell phones are used in China. In the United States, hospitals have translation services for almost any language available by phone. I would hope that the Chinese police would have such a service and use it. If not, I am sure that they could find someone who could translate in person. Certainly, I would not expect to be harmed by the Chinese police. Under the circumstances here in Eugene, I can simply offer my deepest apologies to the student who was tasered by our police. The student is a guest in Eugene and we have failed in our duties as host. I expect that almost everyone in Eugene joins me in offering our friendship and our regrets.

Dave Soper, Professor of Physics, University of Oregon

So far as I can tell, there has as yet been no public statement on this ugly incident by Diversity Vice President Charles Martinez. But apparently he is using it to try and expand his Office, arguing he needs to hire an Asian as an AVP. That’s your qualification test Charles – be Asian? Talk about adding insult to injury.

Bill O’Reilly does UO

8/4/2009: Fox news has a segment on the lack of political diversity among the faculty at UO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L8TEiQQ1dY It’s apparently based on journalism student Dan Lawton‘s piece in the Christian Science Monitor. Dan reports that only a handful of UO faculty are registered Republicans, and argues the University should work to hire professors with more diverse political views. Be sure and check out Provost Bean’s spirited defense of UO’s intellectual diversity, 30 seconds in.

As always, Bill O’Reilly’s reporting is based on a careful analysis of the empirical data coupled with a thoughtful discussion of the larger issues and their implications for the survival of western civilization. Except the part where he describes being a professor at UO as a “plush job”. Actually, UO faculty salaries are the lowest in the AAU. It’s the UO administrators that drive the beemers. Thanks to a reader for the link.

Diversity of ideas?

Dan Lawton, a UO Journalism undergrad, has a piece in the Christian Science Monitor today, about the harsh reaction he got at UO when he asked questions about the lack of conservative professors:

Eugene, Ore. – When I began examining the political affiliation of faculty at the University of Oregon, the lone conservative professor I spoke with cautioned that I would “make a lot of people unhappy.”

The University of Oregon (UO), where I study journalism, invested millions annually in a diversity program that explicitly included “political affiliation” as a component. Yet, out of the 111 registered Oregon voters in the departments of journalism, law, political science, economics, and sociology, there were only two registered Republicans.

In my column, published in the campus newspaper The Oregon Daily Emerald June 1, I suggested that such a disparity hurt UO. I argued that the lifeblood of higher education was subjecting students to diverse viewpoints and the university needed to work on attracting more conservative professors.

A professor who confronted me declared that he was “personally offended” by my column. He railed that his political viewpoints never affected his teaching and suggested that if I wanted a faculty with Republicans I should have attended a university in the South. “If you like conservatism you can certainly attend the University of Texas and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis everyday on your way to class,” he wrote in an e-mail.

I was shocked by such a comment, which seemed an attempt to link Republicans with racist orthodoxy.

see here for the rest. Actually, UO has a vibrant conservative intellectual community – complete with a journal, blog, t-shirts, and a political platform (OK, that’s mostly about lowering the drinking age) – but they are all students and alumni, not faculty.