Diversity and the Law

6/15/2010: The AAAS and the AAU and the Sloan Foundation recently hired a team of lawyers to write a thoughtful and carefully argued 200 page book, elaborating on what is “legally sustainable” in university diversity programs and what is not. Press release and link here. Very interesting reading.

Diversity Resources

Suggestions welcome:

AAU/AAAS Handbook on “legally sustainable diversity programs”

With the help of an extensive appendix outlining key legal opinions, the handbook “provides examples of field-tested tools for diversifying faculties and student bodies,” Chubin said during the teleconference.
The tools expand the notion of diversity beyond race or gender, said Keith, by considering factors such as socioeconomic status and a person’s success in working with and fostering participation by people from a broad range of backgrounds.
With this new focus, she said, campus administrators can build diversity by recruiting people “who have either scaled barriers themselves or broken down barriers for others.”

Will UO have an open search for the AD and BB Coach?

3/23/2010: So far I haven’t seen much on how Oregon House bill 3118 will impact hiring for the new coach and AD. This bill took effect Jan 1, the text is here. The official summary:

WHAT THE MEASURE DOES: Requires public institutions of higher education to interview qualified minority candidates when hiring head coach or athletic director unless institution is unable to identify qualified minority candidate willing to interview for position. Sunsets January 2, 2020.

BACKGROUND: According to the 2006-2007 Racial and Gender Report Card that is published annually by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports based at the University of Central Florida, whites held 90.6 percent, 89.5 percent and 93.4 percent of all National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) head coaching positions for men’s sports in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. In 2008, there were four African-American head coaches out of 119 in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools. On women’s teams, whites held 89.6 percent, 89.9 percent and 92.9 percent of all head coaching positions in Divisions I, II, and III, respectively. The overall percentage of white male and female student-athletes in 2004-2005 was 61.7 percent and 70.1 percent respectively. 

House Bill 3118-B was modeled on the “Rooney Rule” that was adopted by the National Football League (NFL). That rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, specifies that NFL teams must give fair interviews to minority candidates whenever a head-coaching position comes open. 

Actually, George Schroeder in the RG had a good column on this last week:
… But seriously, keep in mind the last three high-profile openings at Oregon were filled by white guys, and essentially without a search. Bellotti moved up to athletic director. Chip Kelly moved up to head football coach. Paul Westhead was hired as women’s basketball coach as a friend of Pat Kilkenny. Each hire was justifiable. Each guy was qualified, and might have been the best fit. But there wasn’t a traditional search, or much chance provided to any other qualified candidates.

I wonder what UO’s VP for Diversity Charles Martinez is going to do about this?

More on discrimination case

 2/16/2010:  From today’s Karen McGowan story in the RG, follow up to yesterday:

A former professor who last week won a reverse race discrimination lawsuit against the University of Oregon said Monday that she feels vindicated by the federal jury’s verdict but is still paying a high price for the unfair treatment.

A U.S. District Court jury awarded Paula Rogers more than $164,000 after finding that she suffered adverse treatment and a hostile work environment in the UO’s East Asian Languages and Literatures department because she is only half Japanese. Jurors also found that Rogers suffered departmental retaliation for filing a grievance over the discrimination.
“This experience has been very traumatizing, and my life’s pursuit and career have been derailed,” Rogers said. “Although I appreciate the damages awarded, I would rather have my job back.”

Rogers was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father. She grew up there, first coming to the United States at 18 to attend college. She called her experience at the UO a “microcosm” of the inequality that mixed-race residents face in Japan.

According to the statement, the UO spent about $500,000 in attorney fees in the course of the nearly five-year legal battle.
UO general counsel Melinda Greer (Grier) was unavailable to respond Monday to Rogers’ and Dugan’s comments.

If I understand the process correctly, this means UO pays $500,000 in fees to the Oregon DOJ for the costs of the defense. The $164,000 damages, on the other hand, are paid by an insurance fund established by the state. You’re doing a heckuva job, Ms Grier. PS – here’s the link to the East Asian Languages and Literatures Diversity Plan. Writing those plans cost UO another $1 million or so. Very effective, Dr. Martinez.

UO Loses Discrimination Case

2/14/2010: This is a strange discrimination case against UO, from Karen McGowan in the RG:

A federal court jury has awarded more than $164,000 in damages to a former University of Oregon assistant professor who filed a lawsuit in 2007 alleging disparate treatment based on race or national origin.

Paula Rogers, who is half Japanese, charged that she suffered job discrimination at the hands of former East Asian Languages and Literature department supervisors, including Noriko Fujii. Among other claims, Rogers alleged that a less-qualified “pure Japanese” colleague received a three-year contract extension when Rogers herself did not.
The jury found that Rogers failed to prove any of her claims against Epstein, Woollacott, Stone and former UO associate College of Arts and Science dean Wendy Larson.
The jury did award damages for retaliation for filing the grievance – but only $20,000. Not much compared to the $500,000 they paid out to PPPM Prof Jean Stockard three years ago, after UO administrators retaliated against her, for having the gall to report this:

The problems Stockard reported concerned the treatment of three South Korean visiting scholars who complained that they had been charged for services that should have been covered by their tuition and that they did not receive the training they paid for.

Stockard claims in the lawsuit that she brought the problems to the attention of UO officials, including President Dave Frohnmayer and then-Provost John Moseley, but that they failed to take action. She later reported the issue to the secretary of state’s fraud and abuse division.

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.