Saturday, November 09, 2002

How 'bout "SCAS of color"?
Here's the latest story about how new groups form to pressure our administration for preferential treatment. A group of East Asian faculty made a request to the Faculty Senate earlier this week asking for a review of all retention, promotion and tenure (RPT) decisions in the College of Business. Why? Because they had a "preliminary study" that was "suggestive" that several East Asian faculty had either separated from the university or were terminated. And how did they learn that?

From the phonebook.

That's right. The authors of this preliminary study ran through several years of campus directories. Under the College of Business listings, they looked for people with Asian-sounding or female names. They found that 16 people had left the university from that college (which has about 70 full-time slots and a host of adjuncts for some of their specialized courses where it's not possible to put someone with that specialty on staff) over six years had departed; only two of these were white males.

Round up the usual suspects. The faculty senate is now requesting addiitonal information from the administration on why these faculty are leaving. There can be any number of reasons: they are fixed-term faculty reaching the end of their terms; they could get more money from another university (which is both a problem with our faculty union negotiating poor contracts and could be a sign that we're actually doing so well with our faculty development that they're in demand elsewhere); and it's possible that they're following their spouse to new employment. No consideration of any of these facts, however, will deter the professional victimologists and academic ne'er-do-wells from hounding administrators who are trying to do their jobs. This is both poor statistics and scholarship and poor collegiality -- the union acts not only as adversary to administration, but with deep distrust of both adminstrators and those not in its inner circle.

As one faculty member who posted on this question suggests, we're now to the point where groups will try to form to seek group benefits at the expense of the university. Beyond the usual troika of faculty of color, LGBT faculty and Jewish faculty, we now have an incipeint Asian faculty group seeking group rights. Perhaps we should finish the Balkanization of the university. I think the trick would be to form " faculty of color" (since I don't think I'm colorless, and I bet you're not either.) Please send name suggestions, and we'll post the best ones.