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Author Topic: Fixed search committe  (Read 63452 times)
prytania3
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« on: September 15, 2010, 5:35:25 PM »

We are beginning a search for a particular administrator, and it is 100% obvious this search is fixed. The job description was crafted to suit the resume of the person admin wants for this position. The search committee is composed of this person's two best friends, and people who will do whatever the dean says. There are no faculty members on the committee--just a chair. There are no minorities on this search committee because none of the minorities can stand this person. In fact, none of the faculty want this person in this position.

It is hard to prove when something is an illegal search, but if it walks like a duck...

Anyway, various faculty members are getting together to figure a way to nip this in the bud.

All strategies welcomed.

As for anyone reading this from my college: yeah, we're on to you.
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bluezebracat
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 5:38:31 PM »


As for anyone reading this from my college: yeah, we're on to you.

Fight! Fight! [pulls up a lawn chair]
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jonesey
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 5:42:31 PM »

Why doesn't your college just hire the person they want?  Why waste all the time and money and effort having a search when it's obvious The Powers That Be want one specific person?

I've never understood this.  If a school/business/agency wants to hire someone (especially from within) then just do it already.  You're going to do it, anyway; why waste everyone's time? 
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 5:54:10 PM »

Why doesn't your college just hire the person they want?  Why waste all the time and money and effort having a search when it's obvious The Powers That Be want one specific person?

I've never understood this.  If a school/business/agency wants to hire someone (especially from within) then just do it already.  You're going to do it, anyway; why waste everyone's time? 

Well, you're right, but that is not our governance structure, so admin has to make it *look* like it's a legitimate search.
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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 5:58:18 PM »

Did they advertise the position? If they did, there might not be much you can do.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 6:00:09 PM »

Why doesn't your college just hire the person they want?  Why waste all the time and money and effort having a search when it's obvious The Powers That Be want one specific person?

I've never understood this.  If a school/business/agency wants to hire someone (especially from within) then just do it already.  You're going to do it, anyway; why waste everyone's time? 

Well, you're right, but that is not our governance structure, so admin has to make it *look* like it's a legitimate search.

Exactly.  Jonesey, I know you're a being of sensitivity and refinement, but the realpolitik is that while on the one hand most institutions of higher education have elaborate protocols to ensure fairness and openness in hiring, there are also fairly straightforward ways of evading those laudable aspirations, i.e. by going through the motions and then hiring whoever it is you would have hired from the start.

The expense and time of conducting such a search--that is fair on the surface--is much less compared to the expense and time other forms of hiring could provoke.

Now, Pry, we will see the usual rash of posts from job seekers claiming that whatever search just failed to hire them must have--must have--been fixed.  But in the meantime, good luck on your home turf.
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 6:02:02 PM »

Call the newspaper.
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larryc
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 6:04:29 PM »

The administration gets to hire who they want, yes? I can't imagine what you can do to fight it, short of a faculty uprising. Do many faculty members care?
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madhatter
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 6:07:34 PM »

So, let's says it's a charade, and the committee is in place to maintain the facade (ooh, I have a couplet in here somewhere!) that policies or governance rules or whatever are being followed.

However, you asked if it was illegal. Under what law would it be illegal? If your state has laws on the books about hiring public employees that include faculty, possibly. Otherwise ... I'm not seeing it. If there's a breach of legal contract underway, you might be able to sue on that basis, but the burden of proof would be challenging to meet if they are honoring the letter of the contract.

So, if it's not technically (or provably) illegal and it even follows the letter of your contract (or your contract is silent on this matter), then I don't think you have a basis to act. If the president (or whomever) has given the order to get the favored person hired, some offside whining and complaining isn't going to derail that.
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jonesey
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2010, 6:08:04 PM »

Exactly.  Jonesey, I know you're a being of sensitivity and refinement, but the realpolitik is that while on the one hand most institutions of higher education have elaborate protocols to ensure fairness and openness in hiring, there are also fairly straightforward ways of evading those laudable aspirations, i.e. by going through the motions and then hiring whoever it is you would have hired from the start.

The expense and time of conducting such a search--that is fair on the surface--is much less compared to the expense and time other forms of hiring could provoke.

Okay, one, I'm taking that line.  : )

Two, I know they have to give lipservice to fairness, etc, but I see that as mostly hypocracy.  If you're going to be crooked, just be open about it.  Again, I'd rather not waste my time and effort if a school already knows it's going to hire the Dean's next door neighbor.  It'll just save me a lot of time and travel expenses, and I'll appreciate your honesty.  : )

Can you imagine an actual, accurate list of jobs if this were to happen?  Higher Ed Jobs would have, what, 3 English positions posted instead of 472?    

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yellowtractor
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2010, 6:17:32 PM »

Can you imagine an actual, accurate list of jobs if this were to happen?  Higher Ed Jobs would have, what, 3 English positions posted instead of 472?

But that's just not true, Jonesey.  You underestimate not only the genuine openness of many--most--SC's, but also the inability of most academic departments (English dept.'s are especially like herding cats) to focus sufficiently on a single candidate or agenda to push things through.  This level of manipulation is pretty rare.

Which is why "fixed" or "inside" hires are also uncommon, though they do exist.  Usually, in my experience, when they do occur, it's not the English Dept.'s fault, but--as in this case--because someone much higher up wants something (or someone).  And it's usually administration, not faculty.
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jonesey
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2010, 6:24:02 PM »

Usually, in my experience, when they do occur, it's not the English Dept.'s fault, but--as in this case--because someone much higher up wants something (or someone).  And it's usually administration, not faculty.

Good point.  I imagine this is much higher WRT admin/non-academic positions (although my personal experience has been with CC's who hired their long-term adjuncts instead of someone on the outside.  As in, 20 year adjuncts who were retired from somewhere else, but that's another topic).
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 6:24:55 PM by jonesey » Logged

Jonesey, I know you're a being of sensitivity and refinement.

Hanging out at the home of leftist zealotry.
prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2010, 6:47:15 PM »

The administration gets to hire who they want, yes? I can't imagine what you can do to fight it, short of a faculty uprising. Do many faculty members care?

Yes, they all care. Trust me. The person has managed to court enemies far and wide. We might do the faculty uprising thing.
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larryc
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2010, 7:34:38 PM »

The administration gets to hire who they want, yes? I can't imagine what you can do to fight it, short of a faculty uprising. Do many faculty members care?

Yes, they all care. Trust me. The person has managed to court enemies far and wide. We might do the faculty uprising thing.

Then play the "insensitive to minority faculty and students" card for all it is worth!
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terpsichore
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2010, 7:51:10 PM »

We are beginning a search for a particular administrator, and it is 100% obvious this search is fixed. The job description was crafted to suit the resume of the person admin wants for this position. The search committee is composed of this person's two best friends, and people who will do whatever the dean says. There are no faculty members on the committee--just a chair. There are no minorities on this search committee because none of the minorities can stand this person. In fact, none of the faculty want this person in this position.

It is hard to prove when something is an illegal search, but if it walks like a duck...

Anyway, various faculty members are getting together to figure a way to nip this in the bud.

All strategies welcomed.

As for anyone reading this from my college: yeah, we're on to you.

At my institution, there would be 3 justifications to close this search and start over. You'd need to go around the search committee to someone higher up (the president or a sympathetic member of your board of trustees).  The higher up doesn't need to agree with you. He or she only needs to be sensitive to the potential nasty consequences of bad publicity.

1. Lack of faculty representation on the committee. I'm in a system with so-called 'shared governance', meaning that search committees must have faculty representation. I think you are unionized and that may be different.

2. Lack of diversity on the committee, especially if this means a glaring difference between the committee and the student population. Define diversity as widely as possible. You've already said that committee has no minorities, but there is also disciplinary diversity, gender diversity, age diversity.  (So, for example, a search committee that has only scientists in a college that has a lot of humanities would be unacceptable.)

3. Conflict of interest  (or appearance of conflict of interest) on the search committee. That's easiest to point out if the insider's 'best friends' are also collaborators.  If enough of the search committee must recuse themselves, the search has to fail. The COI only appears after the insider becomes a candidate, however.

Good luck.

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