Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Discrimination beyond the numbers

University of Colorado has made some big news over the past few years. Controversies at the school have been in abundance, including--and maybe especially--the lengthy Title IX suit brought by former students sexually assaulted by football recruits and players. That case got settled--finally--last year. And part of the settlement included the hiring of a Title IX coordinator.
And CU made big news again when they hired Title IX expert and law professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar for the position. The move, announced a few months ago now, indicates that CU is serious about changing its image and changing its campus climate (the cynic in me believes that the changes are in that order but as long as there actually is change I am not going pick nits).
But a Colorado citizen can't seem to see the discrimination because the numbers just don't add up for him.
The undergrad population at CU is 48 percent women and nationwide women comprise the clear majority in undergraduate classes, the author points out. And female instructors, he states, comprise 51 percent of those in teaching positions at the university.
Here's what the numbers don't reveal: the percentage of women who experience sexual harassment and assault; the number of women among those 51 percent of instructors who do not have tenure. Women still are denied tenure at a disproportionately higher rate than their male colleagues and are often filling adjunct or instructor positions which provide far less pay and little or no benefits longer and in greater numbers than men.
Mere majorities--which hardly even exist at CU, do not change the climate; they do not change people's ideas about women; they do not seem to reduce incidents of abuse and harassment; they do not equal anything resembling equal treatment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The comments on that essay are the most misogynistic I've ever read on a mainstream newspaper's website.