January 11, 2013, 4:08 pm
In November, Mai’a K. Davis Cross filed a federal discrimination complaint against the University of Southern California for denying her bid for tenure, arguing that the institution had a history of denying tenure to women and members of minority groups in the humanities and social sciences.
Earlier this month, a grievance panel at the university found procedural defects in how Cross, an assistant professor of international relations, had been evaluated. Its report has now been forwarded to the institution’s president, who is free to accept or reject the panel’s findings.
Regardless of the president’s decision, the handling of Cross’s case by the University of Southern California—both during the tenure process and in response to charges of discrimination—raises important questions about the direction of higher education in the United States. The policies on which the…