Harsh Critique of Diversity Hiring in Law Schools:

Professor Michael Livingston has published a harsh critique of diversity hiring of faculty. Agree or disagree with Livingston, my experience is that he is expressing views that many professors, including many liberals, agree with, but rarely express publicly for fear of career-related repercussions (as Livingston discusses). For example, I remember once having lunch with a group of otherwise liberal professors and the dean(!) at one of the top law schools in the country, and was amazed how anti-affirmative action (or more precisely racial preferences) they were in private conversation. None of them had, or has since to my knowledge, publicly expressed any such views. I think there is some (though not necessarily equal) merit on all sides of the AA debate, and the issue should be debated openly and honestly.

Daniel Chapman (mail):
Good article... and an interesting comment following it:

"Race and gender are as much cultural, hence negotiated, or at least blurry, as they are objective, and quality or merit is objective, not subjective."

Gender is more subjective that quality? How odd.
3.23.2006 1:08pm
BU2L (mail):
I can only assume that what's subjective there is the quality attributed to a person strictly because of culture - or as I have actually heard people say with a straight face, "diversity points."

Clearly enough, the LSAT is a better, if imperfect, measure of aptitude, than blackness, whiteness, or best of all, Cherokee-Indianness, are of quality.
3.23.2006 1:26pm
Humble Law Student:
If race and gender are so blurry, why does the ADA care so much about it? If there is any "blurriness" it is insignificant because it isn't enough to destroy the typical racial boundaries of white, black, etc. Only if it seriously questions those categories is the "blurriness" even relevant under the AA line of reasoning.

The AA policies merely harken back to the racism of old in imparting certain innate qualities (or "experiences") under the guise of diversity to individuals based upon their race.
3.23.2006 1:29pm
Guest2 (mail):

"[T]he issue should be debated openly and honestly."

OK . . . good luck with that.
3.23.2006 1:32pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
No... the commenter was directly refuting the author's claim that race and gender were more "objective" than quality, and therefore easier to focus on in hiring. The commenter really meant that gender was "subjective."
3.23.2006 1:34pm
BU2L (mail):

The commenter really meant that gender was "subjective."

I was just trying to give it the least idiotic reading, but I think you are right. (God help us).
3.23.2006 1:35pm
I think we need a reassessment of what counts as "quality" anyway. Faculty are hired and promoted based on scholarship, with minimal attention given to teaching in the evaluation process, and you can see it in the teaching.
3.23.2006 1:57pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I'd like to see some emphasis on political diversity.

Just on a lark, I got a list of faculty at my alma mater, Univ of Arizona school of law. There's no way to objectively judge liberal vs. conservative, indeed it's hard enough just to define the terms, but demo/green vs. republican/libertarian voter registration can give a general idea.

I found registration data for 36 faculty. They broke down:

30 Democrats
5 Independents
1 Republican. (A new hire, teaching tax).

No greens and no libs.
3.23.2006 2:14pm
Dustin (mail):
Dave, diversity of thought in an institution of thinking?

Ridiculous! We need something that will show up on film.
3.23.2006 3:03pm
Cornellian (mail):
Considering that even the GW Bush administration supported affirmative action in the U.Mich affirmative action cases, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for conservatives to man the barricades in the fight against affirmative action. Ward Churchill will remain a voice in the wilderness (at least outside California) for the foreseeable future.
3.23.2006 3:14pm
Gary in NYC (mail):
Re: Cornellian's comment on 3/23 at 3:14 p.m. -- I have a feeling he meant "Ward Connerly," not "Ward Churchill." Big difference, that. Good luck to David Bernstein on fighting the good fight on this issue (and, apropos of nothing in particular, congrats to him and the other George Masonites at the VC on their team's NCAA success thus far).
3.23.2006 4:09pm
Cornellian (mail):
Ack!!!! Gary OMG what a horrible error!!!

Yes, I meant Ward Connerly, not, of course, Ward Churchill. Ugh. Sorry about that.
3.23.2006 5:11pm
Houston Lawyer:
The whole Diversity game is justified by the lie that standards aren't being lowered. We all know that they are being lowered but practitioners of the game work hard to keep the statistics that would prove the same under wraps.

Apparently we must continue to blame white people for the underachievement of others. I must go now, I have some people to oppress.
3.23.2006 5:50pm
Stephen M (Ethesis) (www):
The terrible thing that this leads to is entrenching bias where bias should least exist.

I live and work in the real world. Interestingly enough, out here I meet a large number of intelligent, compentent and "I'm glad to be working with you" women and minorities (as in I'm glad they are working with me).

No one where I work talks trash about race or gender behind the backs of various groups.

It makes me sad that in academic institutions things are going the other way.
3.23.2006 7:40pm