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Diversity comes at a cost

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 18, 2008

As described by yesterday’s front-page article, “Jenkins calls for increasing faculty diversity,” Fr. Jenkins’s goal for increased diversity is certainly very noble, but the implications are certainly not.

How does Fr. Jenkins suggest increasing the percentage of minority and women faculty members without taking race and gender into consideration when hiring? What does the University care more about, hiring faculty who will best be able to educate their students and make important discoveries, or faculty that fit their preconceived notions?

If there had been a disproportionately high number of minorities, would the University turn away highly qualified minorities to hire white men? Surely not. Why then the other way?

I by no means suggest that women and minorities are not as qualified as white men, but it is naive to believe that in the hiring phases in the coming years, the best person for each job will necessarily be a woman or minority. To aim to hire that way puts an unfair disadvantage to each white man looking for a job.

I understand that affirmative action is intended to reverse discrimination of the past, but the men and women the University will hire have advanced degrees from top institutions. They already possess an enormous advantage over the vast majority of Americans. Do they really still need reconciliation when they’ve conquered so many obstacles?

Jenkins also reaffirmed Notre Dame’s commitment to hiring Catholics. I can understand to an extent the desire to maintain a high number of Catholic educators, but that also is a form of discrimination.

The University strives to maintain the deep Catholic tradition of the University, true. But I personally believe that men and women of all faiths could respect that, and need not be discriminated against.

It’s a shame to think that if Albert Einstein, a white, Jewish man, was to apply in the coming years, he would potentially be turned down because of “a commitment to diversity.”

(By the way, I don’t hear anyone complaining about the lack of homosexual faculty members. I guess that’s one kind of “diversity” the University isn’t too hung up on).

Discrimination is discrimination. Period. I for one am a half-white, half-Latino Protestant man who hopes that one day, universities, employers, voters and society in general will truly be blind to race, gender, religion and the such, and just choose the best man (or woman) for the job.

Alex Griswold


Knott Hall

Sept. 17