I usually get angry when people call my house during dinner. But the other night I was delighted when I got a call from David Horowitz. David has been doing a lot of research recently on the issue of political affiliation among college professors and administrators. Most of his research has come from surveys and archival data. Because he has little access to anecdotal evidence, he asked me to write an article describing the hiring (and promotion) process from an insider?s perspective. As soon as he asked, I threw my TV dinner in the garbage and started writing this column. You are reading the finished product right now.
When I was hired as a professor, I didn?t have to worry about political or religious discrimination. That was because I was an atheist and a Democrat. Of course, as a white male, I did have to worry about race and gender discrimination. In fact, I directly experienced racial discrimination at the hands of the good folks at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis). Because the university Left freely admits to engaging in race and gender discrimination in hiring, I will not make race and gender the subject of this article. Instead, I will focus on two factors they deny using in the hiring and promotion process; religion and political affiliation.
It didn?t take long for me to realize that religion was used against some applicants seeking employment at UNC-Wilmington. In the fall of 1993, just a couple of months after starting my job, a social work professor dubbed an applicant ?too religious? during an applicant screening meeting in the faculty lunch room. When I heard the remark (as I was seated at the table where the screening was taking place) I was shocked. This was despite the fact that I considered myself an atheist. But it wasn?t my place to speak up as I was not officially on the committee.
Over the next few years, I did manage to serve on a number of hiring committees as my department (Criminal Justice) was rapidly growing in the 1990s. During those first few years, I heard and recorded a number of instances of direct and indirect religious and political discrimination. A number of those instances are summarized below:
*In 1996, the label ?too religious? was attached to an applicant who had graduated from a religious institution. This is a direct example of religious discrimination.
*In 1996, the label ?too conservative? was attached to an applicant who had written an article for a conservative publication. This is a direct example of political discrimination.
*In 1996, the label ?too much of a family man? was attached to an applicant who was married and had several children before the age of 30. This is an indirect example of religious discrimination.