By Professor Doom
It truly is astonishing how common the racism and sexism is on campus today. Oh, our leaders prattle on about diversity and equality, but it takes little effort to discover they don’t know the meanings of these words.
In times past, they did know what the words meant…but being racists and sexists themselves, they made sure to advance racist and sexist policies in a covert way. So, there was no written policy about hiring, but you better believe most (probably every) campus in this country gave priority hiring to females and “protected minorities” as they were called. I don’t make this claim lightly, as every hiring committee I’ve been on used the gender or race of the applicant as part of the decision making process, stinking “equal opportunity employer” notices be damned. We’d put the equal opportunity notice in writing to be sure, but there were many unwritten policies we used.
It was all done with a wink and a nod in the past, but bottom line today’s administrators and faculty aren’t nearly so clever as before, and certainly not clever enough to do things with a wink and a nod. So, now we have documented job applications for physicists or university admin which are clearly racist and/or sexist (particularly against whites), even math faculty positions requiring specific political views (social justice warriors only).
Now, obviously, this behavior is still wrong, and eventually someone in admin with half a brain shows up (takes a while) and points that you can’t be so blatant, and knows that you can’t make such behavior as written policy. It’s all wink and a nod, you know.
Time and again we get to see this stuff in writing, particularly racist stuff, but today we’ll focus on the blatant, and very common, sexism on campus:
Isn’t it interesting how this stuff never seems to hit the mainstream news? Anyway, let’s see what prompted the professor to set up a sexist grading policy:
…he wanted to “test the water” to see if this approach could “attract female students into future classes” and help correct chronic gender imbalances in his field…
It’s only one sentence, but it says much about the madness infecting higher ed right now.
First, this “test the water” thing. I’ve been forced to listen to, and adopt, so many cockamamie, clearly stupid ideas that I actually see the professor’s thinking here. Most of these ideas are so obviously bad, so lacking anything to do with education, that absolutely, “screw it, let’s just give higher grades to the females” makes sense in this context. I mean, it’s not like integrity or decency ever seems to get in the way of ideas, time and again I’ve seen admin propose new policies which could only come from a depraved mind.
Second, the “attract female students” thing. Again, I’ve been bombarded time and again with programs to attract female students, and, again, never has integrity been a factor in any of those programs. So, again, I see the professor’s point: “let’s just flat out promise females better grades” seems like perfectly good bribery, little different than, say, a missionary murdering all the adults in a village just so he can claim credit for taking care of many orphans. Honest, higher ed is just that messed up now that this sort of deranged thinking is consistent with other ideas in higher ed.
Finally, the “chronic gender imbalances” thing. Again, this concept was hammered into my skull many times when I was at questionable schools. I couldn’t ask questions there, but this is my blog, so I will ask three obvious questions: “Who says the imbalance is a bad thing?,” “Why will the world be a better place if we change the imbalance?,” and “Do we have any evidence what balance would be optimal, so that we can even say there’s an imbalance now?” These questions are never, ever, asked in higher ed, or if they are you can’t hear them over the endless shouting to fix the gender imbalance.
What kind of imbalance are we looking at here, anyway?
…classes have “one or two female students” on average in a class of 20 to 30, and they are “not doing well,” he told in an email. These women will probably have to “repeat the courses or leave the program” without a grade boost…
It always turned my stomach when admin would heap praise upon some faculty for “successfully passing” (I still hear the voice saying that abominable phrase in my head) some female or protected minority. Truth be told, I’d sometimes get that praise as well; it still turned my stomach. I passed, and pass, students because they demonstrate they understand the material, their genitals or skin color have nothing to do with it, not that admin sees much beyond race and gender.
Of course, I’m not a racist or sexist like your typical college administrator, so they saw nothing offensive about praising me for passing people of certain races or genders. But I always felt uncomfortable with such praise, and am grateful to no longer be at a place where I must be subjected to it.
To the school’s credit, they stepped in and stopped the professor from overtly giving female students better grades just for being female:
…the University of Akron “follows both the law and its policies and does not discriminate on the basis of sex,” and that Liu “has been advised accordingly, and he has reaffirmed his commitment to adhering to these strict standards.”
So, yes, in writing, the university here will follow the law but…the professor’s policy didn’t happen in a vacuum. He didn’t wake up one day and say “We need for females passing my courses and this must be done in any way possible, integrity is not a factor here.” He got a memo with that directive.
I assure the gentle reader, the professor was told many times how important it was to get more females in his classes. He was also told many times how important it was that females get better grades in classes. He saw with his own eyes that academic integrity was of no concern to how any administrative policy could be fulfilled.
He saw it so often that, much like my examples in the beginning of the article, he was under the impression that sexism favoring females was perfectly legal, possibly even moral, and so he adopted the kind of policy admin was telling him to adopt.
His mistake was putting that policy in writing. But, I’m sure now that admin has spoken (not written!) to him, he’ll do that sort of thing with a wink a nod.
Because that’s how it’s been done in higher ed for decades now.