Friday, April 29, 2005

The Twisted World of Harold W. #4

by Kyle Michaelis
Our good buddy Harold W. Andersen hasn't let us down this time. In yesterday's column, he entirely dismissed reports that suggest institutionalized bias against women in hiring is alive and well at UNL. Enough of my comments, though, I'll just let the man speak for himself:
An Associated Press dispatch reported that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a lower percentage of female faculty members than all but one of the 10 universities to which UNL compares itself. Several numbers were cited.


To concentrate on the numbers is to play the Politically Correct "numbers game." The only time those numbers become meaningful is when you can demonstrate that students at UNL are being less well educated and research is being less productively conducted because the UNL campus has a lower percentage of female faculty than some other universities....

I would expect that as more qualified women apply or are recruited to serve on the UNL faculty, the merit system will produce good results and, incidentally and much less importantly, also help in the direction of "getting the numbers right."
Wow, when Andersen doesn't get it, he REALLY doesn't get it. As much as I appreciate his supposed emphasis on the quality of education being the only standard by which the University should be judged, it's idiotic for him not to recognize that UNL's failure to compete in terms of hiring and retaining female faculty can't help but hurt education on campus.

Diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences are essential and enrich higher education immeasurably. By themselves, these numbers may not mean much, but they are still, at the very least, a call for us to be mindful of the possibility that there is a significant problem to be addressed. This is especially the case when, in addition to UNLs "woman" problem, the University is also lagging woefully behind the targets set for it by the state legislature in the hiring of minority professors (see story).

Rather than taking the easy way out and writing all this off as liberal, politically correct nonsense of no real importance, it's about time Andersen and the rest of the state wake up to the fact that soemthing's wrong here. Even on UNLs campus, probably the most progressive couple of square miles in the state, there is a problem.

The climate is far too hostile and inhospitable to those who have not traditionally been in roles of power and who may not have the same color of skin as the rest of us. Qualified people are being driven away because they can sense ours is not an atmosphere in which they can thrive. That shouldn't come as any real surprise. Just look at how we've targeted homosexuals and continue to hold them as legally and morally inferior in every aspect of day-to-day life. What we are willing to do to one population, we are that much more likely to do onto another.

Andersen can play dumb and play to the masses all he wants with the easy rhetoric lifted from Rush Limbaugh, it only makes his sin that much worse. For, who could honestly be said to be more responsbile for the diseased climate in which this state languishes than this former publisher of the mighty World-Herald?

Anyone...anyone? I didn't think so.


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