Real diversity takes time | Bleader

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Real diversity takes time

Posted By on 07.26.06 at 12:40 PM

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What Alan Contreras said.

Contreras, administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, lights a firecracker that ought to explode in a good many "diversity" offices at universities--not to mention other institutions. The problem is not that universities fail to hire good minority candidates; the problem is that the surrounding society produces so few. Therefore, Contreras writes: 

"Plan ahead a generation. Work ahead a generation. Figure out who of color in your local schools has the potential to be a good professor. Get rid of your highly paid and symbolic chief diversity officers. We all know that they accomplish little. This is not their fault; their jobs are inherently impossible. . . . Use that money to hire a brace of heat-seeking twenty-somethings to systematically find the most academically promising minority 10-year-olds in likely and unlikely places, and track and support them for a decade or more, as your university’s scholars-in-waiting. Consider advance long-term contracts with the best doctoral students."

A school that did this would still be overwhelmingly white for most of a generation. But in the long run it would be doing more than anyone else to equalize opportunity. 

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