Friday, February 17, 2006

In Brief

A rundown of a few headlines of the Blogistan Daily Times, with little commentary from me (for once)

An argument by David Bernstein against the ABA's new Standard 211, which is designed to promote “Equal Opportunity and Diversity” in law school admissions and faculty hiring.

A sympathetic follow up by Christine Hurt, who has served on the admissions committee of a relatively small, mid-ranked law school about the potential financial/resource difficulty of complying with Standard 211 given the limited pool of minority applicants.

An argument in favor of Affirmative Action and Standard 211, by Christopher Bracy at BlackProf

You can probably figure out where my sympathies lie, and what I would say if I had time to say it. (Hint: I don't blogroll The Volokh Conspiracy)

In other news, Marina Angel at Feminist Law Profs issues a Call to Action to address the paucity of women and minorities in tenure track positions. The data indicate that when women and minorities are hired, over half are sidelined into the lower status, low-paying, for-contract or at-will employment but have titles (associate professor, professor, associate dean) that belie this trend.

One comment: There's an overall trend across universities to hire more non-tenure track professors, lecturers, adjuncts to save on costs (also why they exploit grad students to teach freshman courses). There's very little room to grow on the salary rolls, even if the student population swells. If this is a general hiring practice due to state budgetary cutbacks, even separately funded, higher tuition charging law schools could argue that it's just a business practice--but with a disparate impact on gender and race. I don't like it either way, but that could be one argument/reason. Of course, disparate impact is not enough after Washington v. Davis, intent to discriminate is required--and the figures are not yet near enough the "inexorable zero" to impute intentional discrimination. But we can draw attention to the low figures, agitate for change, and raise our voices high until they are heard.