Whites, Asians Need Not Apply

Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, December 16, 2015

Even before the recent, widespread student protests over campus climate issues, many colleges and universities were working to make their faculties more diverse. But can a department specifically reserve a position for an underrepresented minority candidate? That’s what some are asking after a job ad for an assistant professorship reserved for nonwhite, non-Asian Ph.D.s was abruptly deleted from a jobs site on Tuesday.

The post (inactive but still cached here) on HigherEdJobs mostly resembled a typical ad, encouraging applicants “with a Ph.D. in physics or a related area, a strong research record and a passion for teaching” to apply. It also included a standard equal employment opportunity statement saying the University of Louisville is “an affirmative action, equal opportunity, Americans with disabilities employer, committed to community engagement and diversity, and in that spirit, seeks applications from a broad variety of candidates.”

But just under that statement, the ad continued, “The Department of Physics and Astronomy announces a tenure-track assistant professor position that will be filled by an African-American, Hispanic American or a Native American Indian [sic].”

The ad, posted in mid-October, was taken down after the department received a complaint that the preferences didn’t include applicants with disabilities, said C.S. Jayanthi, chair of physics and astronomy. She said she forwarded the complaint to administrators, and the ad was promptly removed.

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Cindy Hess, a university spokeswoman, said via email that the human resources department was notified of “the error” and the ad was removed immediately.

“The position will be reposted and [human resources] will contact all applicants and encourage them to reapply,” she said.

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