Annual Report of the Committee for Affirmative Action


The committee has discussed a number of topics, and now wishes to present the following proposals:

Monitoring of Faculty Applicants from Affirmative Action Categories

When a faculty position is open and ultimately filled, data are collected regarding the numbers of applicants from each of the categories defined under Affirmative Action (AA) policies. We propose that these data be augmented by written information cocnerning the reasons for de-selecting (not interviewing, or not making an offer to) each such applicant.

footnote: This may be useful for non-AA applicants as well.
This is done at UC Berkeley, for example; the department chair or search committee chair provides a short narrative on each de-slected AA applicant (see attachment).

The motivation for this is two-fold. First, it provides a more complete look at the problems involved in implementing AA; this would provide much more insight for campus officials who are charged with making AA successful.

Second, by having the faculty search committee organize their thoughts on an applicant in writing, it gives the authors an opportunity to take one more look at that applicant, thereby reducing the chance that a good AA applicant might ``slip through the cracks,'' i.e. esentially go unnoticed.

It should be stressed here that we are not suggesting that any mechanism be installed whereby the hiring decisions of a department are challenged externally. Clearly, the faculty of a department are in the best position to evalutate the quality of an applicant, and to assess the degree to which an applicant's abilities and interests fit in with the department's goals. We do feel, though that good AA applicants are being overlooked---several committee members have cited specific incidents of this---and we believe that the proposals here would help to remedy this situation.

Nondiscrimination toward Foreign-Born AA Applicants

An applicant is technically covered by AA if he/she (a) belongs to one of the officially-defined AA groups,

footnote: African-Americans, Asians, American Indians, Hispanics, women, disabled persons and Vietnam-era veterans; see the Affirmative Action Personnel Program Plan, June 1990, p.5.
and (b) is, by virtue of being a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, eligible for employment. However, at a number of universities, including Davis, there are apparently policies---of varying degrees of formality---under which foreign-born applicants who would normally be covered under AA are considered to ``not count'' as such.

This point of view does exist. For example, it has recently been stated by a former UCD administration official, by a current administration official at Cal State Hayward, and by two faculty involved with AA at UCLA and UC Santa Cruz. The rationale typically given is that an applicant who was not raised in the U.S. does not fully appreciate the problems of his/her AA group which exist in this country.

While we believe that such an argument has some merit, it is very narrow, applying to only one aspect of AA and its goals. The committee members believe very strongly that other aspects are equally important. A Hispanic applicant from South America, for example, may not have grown up in East Los Angeles, but nevertheless does feel the effects of discrimination against Hispanics.

Furthermore, the concept of a ``role model'' has not only an intragroup sense, but also an intergroup sense as well: It is important that a student, say white or Asian, who has never seen a black science professional be exposed to black science faculty; the key point to be made to such a studnet is that black people can do science, countering the image the student may have formed about black people from the media. The fact that the black faculty member may have grown up in Jamaica is secondary in these considerations.

While we on the committee wish to avoid making any statements about legal questions, we do wish to point out that a number of laws exist that forbid discrimination based on national origin, raising the possibility that a (formal or informal) AA policy which distinguishes between native- and foreign-born applicants may be illegal.

We urge that the campus formally state that its AA policy has no restriction against foreign-born applicants who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Committee Interaction with the Director of Educational Programs for Diversity

Our committee met with Eleanor Fontes-Fulton, Direction of Educational Programs for Diversity. A valuable exchange took place, and Ms. Fontes-Fulton and the committee members all agreed that close ties should be developed. This is especially important in light of the fact that the committee's annual report last year put particular emphasis on the urgent need to develop unified, effective education about AA/diversity issues for the general campus community (faculty, students, staff).

Streamlining the Membership of the Committee

As a practical matter, this year we found it extremely difficult to schedule meetings which all members could attend, and for this reason, we suggest that the committee be streamlined. As this is an Academic Senate committee and the Academic Federation (AF) has its own AA committee, a suggestion would be to limit the number of AF members to one representative from the AF AA committee, who would serve in a liaison capacity. Another possibility would be to give Senate members priority when scheduling conflicts arise.

Respectfully submitted,

Norman Matloff, Chair
Paul Cole
Kathy DeYoung
Allan Edelson
Yvette Flores-Ortis
Sylvia Gonzalez
Jerome Murphy
Kyaw Tha Paw U
Lynn Roller
Henry Studer
Stefano Varese

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Russell W. Quong ( Last modified: Jun 22 1998