Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Down in front!

The Faculty of Color Caucus (whose membership includes the two who wrote the outrageous letter I've already discussed) posted to the announcement email list of the campus today its response to the Nichols Survey. The second paragraph is telling:

The Caucus is also concerned about postings on the campus email discussion lists which attempt to shift attention away from the findings of the Nichols report toward questions of methodology.
I think he means us, as in here, here, and here.
We note that previous investigations regarding campus climate were more limited in scope and similar in conclusions, yet the competency of the investigating teams was not called into question in the same way.
This would refer to the EEOC and JCRC reports. The JCRC's biasedness has already been discussed here, and I could do a series of posts on the biased and blatantly political maneuverings of the EEOC. Would you really like me to do that?
It appears that there are some faculty and administration members who would rather create diversions and controversies than to deal with real problems. We are particularly concerned that disparaging remarks about the quality of the study are being made by members of the administration thereby giving license to others to disregard the findings of the study.
This means what? That since the Caucus has decided the conclusions are accurate a priori any discussion of the quality of these findings are disparaging and creating diversions? It is not permissable to discuss findings, only to applaud them? But it turns out we did worse than this. Read on...
It is also our understanding that a visit by Nichols and Associate consultants (part of their contract) to our campus is being blocked.
Given how poorly the report has been done, this would be the best piece of news possible. Given the cowardice shown by the administration to date, I doubt this is true.
The fact that some wish to publicly discredit a bona fide research and consulting firm comprised of associates of color is itself indicative of prevalent local attitudes which have given this campus �bad press� at a national level.
Behold those that would silence us. If we point out the flaws of the report, we not only are disparaging and creating diversions" but we're perpetuating the perception of the campus as having a race problem. Very nice. That's as close as someone has come to calling me racist in quite some time. I suppose this is my lucky day.

May I suggest, as your colleagues did once, that what we have here is a failure to communicate? We have sought not to silence any report, but to ask that a report be done correctly. We want to be able to pinpoint areas of concern. We want to know if the racism you see is concentrated in SCSU or is part of whatever racism exists in the community. We'd further like to know how it is that we can define certain groups alone as capable of committing racism. We await your statement denouncing the venomous attacks in the letter some of your caucus members sent -- at university expense! -- to school counselors.

We propose that an affirmation of the Nichols & Associates� identification of problems is a first step toward finding remedies for those problems. Recent and past �campus climate� reports and court settlements have all pointed in the same direction. Concrete steps are necessary. Our goal is to make our campus a more coherent community and less of a racial battlefield.
I don't think the Chancellor's Office will agree after yesterday's histrionics.

The rest of their response accepts at face value the findings of the Nichols report. You may see our discussions (following the links at the top of this post) of why these are flawed. I will grant their contention that a finding of concerns of racism of a significant minority of respondents would be enough to state there is a problem. The point is, however, what constitutes a "significant" minority? 5%? 15%? Where's the line, caucusers? The problem with a flawed survey instrument is that the percentage of respondents (400 out of more than 18,000) is so small that you need some strong assurances that the results are indeed representative of the whole of the campus. Nichols made no attempt to do so. So how does the caucus know it's a problem, other than their own prejudices?

But no matter, accept them they do. They then seek the panoply of remedies suggested in the Nichols report. See the end of my first post on this to consider the costs. It would be more expensive than the anti-Semitism settlement.

The problem, as Thomas Sowell once pointed out, is "liberals seem to assume that, if you don't believe in their particular political solutions, then you don't really care about the people that they claim to want to help." Because I don't think the Nichols report was well done, because I think they, EEOC and JCRC had their conclusions determined before beginning their studies, because we find that treating people collectively rather than individually counterintuitive to the ending of racism, I must want to perpetuate racism. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't find this insulting.