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Posts Tagged ‘affirmative action’

Now, affirmative action based on political ideology!

The University of Colorado is considering a $9 million program to bring high-profile political conservatives to teach on the left-leaning campus.

CU officials want to create an endowment for a Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

The program would bring a rotating cast of scholars, historians, politicians and media personalities to a town often ridiculed by the political right as “the People’s Republic of Boulder.”

The first scholar could be on campus next year for a one- or two-year stint, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. University officials said they hope the fund would yield the $200,000-plus per year necessary to provide a stipend and a staff person.

“A good campus is always trying to find ways to add diversity of thought and scholarship,” Hilliard said.

I can’t think of anything more ridiculous or unhelpful, but then, affirmative action is almost always unhelpful. I only hope this does not give Arjun Singh any new ideas.

Hat tip to the Volokh Conspiracy, where I saw this story. Also Ilya Somin discusses here why affirmative action based on ideology is a bad idea. An excerpt:

However, whether or not the discrimination is the cause of the problem, affirmative action for conservative academics (or libertarian ones) is a poor solution. Among other things, it would require universities to define who counts as a “conservative” for affirmative action purpose, a task that they aren’t likely to do well. Affirmative action for conservatives would also give job candidates an incentive to engage in deception about their views in the hopes of gaining professional advancement. Moreover, conservative professors hired on an affirmative basis despite inferior qualifications would find it difficult to get their ideas taken seriously by colleagues and students. They might therefore be unable to make a meaningful contribution to academic debate – the very reason why we want to promote ideological diversity in hiring to begin with.

Indeed.

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A couple of months ago, I blogged about the Keith Sampson case. The Volokh Conspiracy has an update about the matter:

The matter seems to have been finally resolved, and resolved right (though the complaint should have been thrown out at the very beginning, rather than leading to a finding of racial harassment). Here’s the letter from the Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Chancellor:

`I can candidly say that we regret this situation took place and that IUPUI takes this matter very seriously. IUPUI is committed to ensuring that its future approach to such matters is consistent with and affirms the long-standing commitment of this campus to the principles of freedom of expression, lifelong learning, and respect for the rights of all members of the IUPUI community. In the near future, IUPUI will be reexamining the campuswide affirmative action processes and procedures relating to internal complaints.’

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Buoyed by its Supreme Court success on the reservation issue, the Indian government now wants to introduce quotas in private educational institutions as well.

I quote from the report in the Telegraph (emphasis mine) :

The Centre plans to table a bill to introduce quotas and control fees in private higher education institutes in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Aided and unaided private higher education institutes, including management schools, will be covered. But private unaided minority-run institutions will be exempt from the proposed law.

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The Supreme Court judgement on the OBC reservation issue should not surprise anyone. After all, the Supreme Court’s job isn’t to make laws but merely to ascertain whether existing laws were broken. And in the present case, the Supreme Court decided that nothing in the Indian Constitution prevents Arjun Singh from adding a 27% quota in government institutions. Again, I have to agree — the Constitution itself has been weakened to such an extent through laws and precedents that it will be surprising if any law is ever again judged uncontitutional.

For those who are concerned that this will devalue the IIT and IIM brands, slow down development, heighten inter-caste animosity and reduce opportunities for much of the population without really helping the rest — well, of course you are right, but fret not! As Aristotle The Geek points out, the market will do its best to correct the situation.

So much of recent history can be viewed as a case study of the market systematically correcting (at least some of) the ills caused by ill-advised government action. Isn’t that ironic?

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Here is a link to an article by Christina Sommers in which she talks about gender politics, affirmative action in higher education and recent, extremely worrying developments. Read the whole article, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

(Link via The Volokh conspiracy)

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Keith Sampson, a university employee and student, has been charged with racial harassment for reading a book called “Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan” during his work breaks. Apparently, the mere presence of the word Ku Klux Klan offended a co-worker, despite the fact that the book is in fact about opposition to the Klan. The school’s Affirmative Action Office agreed. In a letter to Sampson, they accused him of “disdain and insensitivity” and ordered him to stop reading that book in the presence of co-workers.

Sigh… 

Update: The affirmative action office has (following the uproar?) issued a new letter to Sampson, effectively canceling its previous order and making a complete retreat from its earlier position.  

Further Update.

— 

Also read:
Don’t Glock in school.
Did you use the word?

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