Fear and loathing in faculty recruitment

Posted: Jun 02, 2004 12:00 AM

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.

*In 1997, a feminist objected to another female candidate after having dinner with the applicant and her husband. She specifically complained that the applicant?s husband played ?too dominant a role in the marriage.? In other words, only women who are also feminists need to apply. This is an indirect example of political discrimination.

*In 2001, a job candidate was asked the following question during an interview: ?Who did you vote for in the 2000 election?? No explanation necessary.

Despite the numerous examples I have recorded and reprinted in my recent book ?Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel?, some of my colleagues are still in denial. In fact, a colleague of mine was so incensed by my accusations that she recently constructed a survey to ?disprove? my accusations of political bias in hiring. A quick look at the following question from the survey shows just how nervous and desperate the university Left is becoming in light of mounting evidence of their uninhibited bigotry:

?Do you feel that your political beliefs have negatively influenced your career during any of the following decision making processes while at UNCW??

The first category is ?hiring.?

Please note that the survey was given only to faculty at UNCW. In other words, it was given to people who had been hired by UNCW. That means that this brilliant scholar is asking people who were hired by UNCW whether they were ever not hired by UNCW because of their political beliefs. Perhaps this intellectual giant will now construct a crime victimization survey asking people what it ?feels like? to be murdered. But, wait, if you were murdered, you can?t fill out the survey, can you Professor Einstein?

The obvious political and religious discrimination at UNCW does not end with faculty recruitment. It is also extended to the tenure and promotion process. In fact, an untenured professor recently came to my office seeking advice on discrimination that she believed she had faced since she was hired at UNCW. She was specifically concerned about a faculty member who had falsely insinuated that she had embellished her research record before coming up for re-appointment.

First of all, an untenured faculty member is not supposed to know all of the specifics about what is said and who said it in the re-appointment process. Unlike a screening meeting, recruitment meetings are supposed to be confidential. But since another tenured faculty member had an ethical lapse and spilled the beans, the above-mentioned insinuation has now leaked into and even beyond the department. And now someone is concerned about her prospects of getting tenure. Her concerns are certainly real because she is a Republican and she is not a self-described feminist.

I have witnessed first-hand how non-feminists are treated by feminists in the promotion process. I once witnessed a non-feminist with a weak record labeled as ?clueless? and in need of training in ?impression management? by her angry feminist ?colleagues.? But the story is different when a Leftist comes forward with a weak record. They are simply labeled as in need of ?nurturing? by caring and concerned tenured Leftists. I once heard a Marxist sociologist say that a 47 year-old male re-appointment candidate just needed a little ?nurturing? to help his poor record reach the level of ?tenure readiness.? I am surprised she didn?t offer to breast-feed him until he was ?tenure ready? (or until he turned 50, whichever came first).

A tenured UNCW English professor recently tried to convince me that the absence of a single Republican in their department of 31 full-time faculty members was just a coincidence. Thanks to David Horowitz and others, the public now knows better. That is why so many are pushing for an academic Bill of Rights.

Instead of speaking out publicly, I would love to work towards an internal resolution of these problems. But that can?t happen until the university admits that the problems exist. Besides that, I haven?t served on a university committee in years. But I?m sure it?s only a coincidence.

Dr. Mike Adams can be reached at www.DrAdams.org. He recently wrote ?Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel? in response to the uninhibited bigotry of the university Left.