Thursday, July 15, 2004

White male bites dog 

According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday "everyone's a victim".(Subscribers only.)
In Phoenix this month, a federal judge ruled that raises handed out in 1993 by Northern Arizona University to its female and minority professors -- averaging $2,400 and $3,000 respectively -- discriminated against white male professors.

In late 2002 a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the raise hadn't unnecessarily restricted the rights of the white professors but that a jury should decide whether the university had gone overboard. The plaintiffs then agreed to allow U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield to serve as a fact finder in lieu of a jury. Last week he ruled that the university "clearly went beyond attaining a balance."
It's not clear whether these professors will win much in damages, as the university argues a later president undid the damage of the 1993 pay raises. The judge's ruling isn't available online, but some parts are in this cached story from the Arizona Sun.
[Judge Robert] Broomfield, in his 21-page ruling, said Hughes was trying to resolve problems of pay inequity. That, the judge said, was necessary because NAU, as the recipient of federal funds, is subject to federal anti-discrimination laws.

But Broomfield said that the study was flawed because it did not take into account many of the reasons that white male professors were paid more, including things like tenure, experience and doctoral degrees.

The judge said that, once these variables are factored out, males made an average of $751 more than females. But the pay of female professors was hiked by $2,400.

Similarly, the judge said, non-minorities were earning an average of $87 more than minorities, far more than the $3,000 pay hike ordered by Hughes.

"To the extent pay inequities exist, (federal law) requires that it be cured," the judge wrote. "This court cannot, however, simply rubber stamp a pay equity plan which, in seeking to cure inequity, actually creates a new inequity through its purported remedy."
There have been a few such gender equity distributions here at SCSU and perhaps one upcoming. Hopfully they will notice, as should our administration. In the 2002 appeal, while the case was sent back to trial against the university it was dismissed against the president (who was overly generous) on a split ruling. The dissenter wrote:
Any competent university president would know that he can�t pay people more or less than others based on their sex and race. The scheme here was straightforward: minorities are gold, women are silver, white men are bronze. It�s been a long time in America since anyone thought the Constitution allowed governmental discrimination based on sex and race. The law has been clearly established on this point for many years.