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Author Topic: diversity hire, now exiled ... what to do?  (Read 48122 times)
wilting_flower
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« on: February 10, 2012, 1:47:21 AM »

A friend mine got hired into a faculty job at an R1 school through a specially convened search (adhoc that they sold to their dean and higher ups as a diversity hire). She thought (and I have to admit everyone she consulted then did too) that it didn't matter how she got the job, as long as she does good work and get tenure. She likes the people she works with, managed to get a good research program going. She seems to be doing very well professionally. That is in all aspects except the politics ... the administrators put her group in a very remote place, in part of the campus where there are very few people. This happened with a promise that it is a very short-term arrangement till research space is ready for her and that she would move with everyone else in no time. But as time goes by the less likely they are becoming to even talk about this issue, let alone solve it.

To make matters worse, she was recently told that she should just suck it up and stay where she is (in no uncertain terms). As you can imagine, she is so heartbroken, depressed, and not sure how to cope with this situation. I would like to advice her on this, but I can't think of any useful advice in this respect ... can anyone out there please recommend any steps they might think could help. ....is the only solution to just look for another job and leave this institution?
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 1:55:20 AM »

She is considering leaving a job because she doesn't like the location of her office?

Surely there must be more to her unhappiness (heartbreak?!) than this.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 1:56:05 AM by systeme_d_ » Logged

wilting_flower
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 2:03:14 AM »

I should have been clearer. The space we are talking about include her office, lab, workshops and everything that her group uses. Also the problem is not just distance - it is not even in the main campus area, and is not made for lab (it is basically a warehouse with benches) ... pretty much every little thing the lab needs (including water) has to be paid for from her research funds. She is having really hard time dealing with the isolation and the fact that she is being told she should stay there, and stop asking for equal treatment like everyone.
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 2:22:05 AM »

Who is telling her to suck it up and stay there?  Someone with power over her?
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wilting_flower
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 2:24:09 AM »

the dean
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systeme_d_
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 2:28:29 AM »

Does she have allies in the department that hired her who will help her relocate eventually?  Are these allies sufficiently supportive and sufficiently powerful (given university regulations about the P and T process) to get her tenure application through the various channels without much opposition?

If not, then yes, she absolutely should get back on the market.  Fast.
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larryc
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 3:05:51 AM »

Yep, she needs to go back on the market.
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zharkov
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 7:35:50 AM »

Yep, she needs to go back on the market.

Chime.  Dollars to donuts, this is not really about diversity, essentially not politics, but about the school's budget problems.  (Thus they charge the grant for water, etc.)   She needs to find a school that puts the money where their mouth is.
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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
wilting_flower
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 1:38:26 PM »

Zharkov, I understand why you might say that, my friend actually resisted this interpretation for a long time partly because she chose to believe that there can't be this extent of institutionalized racism at this time. But, several people that were hired into the school after her, have gotten better space, have moved into spaces better than they used to occupy and even moved to places that give them better view out of their office windows.

Somehow it was deemed ok to accommodate pretty much everyone, other than her. And it is not for lack of trying, she has patiently communicated this issue to all that are concerned, repeatedly verbally and even in writing.
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pigou
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 2:15:57 PM »

The problem is that you lose all your bargaining power once you sign the contract. If the university really wants you, you can make some demands with regards to office and lab space. I'd imagine this is how the new hires got their nicer offices. But once you sign on, they really have no incentive to offer you anything.

She definitely needs to go back on the market, even if she otherwise likes her university. If she gets an offer elsewhere, she can use that as leverage to get what she wants. That works, of course, only if she's willing to move on in case they don't comply. Moreover, she cannot accept vague promises of what they will do in the future: either it's promised (in writing) or it doesn't count.
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zharkov
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 3:14:36 PM »

Zharkov, I understand why you might say that, my friend actually resisted this interpretation for a long time partly because she chose to believe that there can't be this extent of institutionalized racism at this time. But, several people that were hired into the school after her, have gotten better space, have moved into spaces better than they used to occupy and even moved to places that give them better view out of their office windows.

Somehow it was deemed ok to accommodate pretty much everyone, other than her. And it is not for lack of trying, she has patiently communicated this issue to all that are concerned, repeatedly verbally and even in writing.

Racism may be a factor, but there are dozens of other possible factors, from other faculty getting the lab space written into their contracts (per Pigou) to her assertiveness or lack of it.  I would not point to "first come first served" as an overarching way things happen in any organization. 

Has she talked to the EA/OO officer at the school yet? That would seem like the next step.
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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
jerseydevil
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2012, 8:53:56 PM »

This form of place punishment is in fact discrimination.  She should consult an attorney to resolve the problem and so that she has comfortable workspaces in which to fulfill the promise the academics saw in her.
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mweval
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 6:56:12 PM »

This is not advice about how your friend should proceed....but it reminded me of a time when I was having a somewhat similar problem and a senior faculty member told me I should ingratiate myself by bringing hot tea to meetings.  I left shortly after....
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anthroid
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2012, 10:43:00 PM »

Sorry, but I'm not buying the story.  Those of us involved in recruiting and mentoring faculty from historically oppressed populations bend over backwards to make sure that the folks we hire have every single resource that we can hand out to be successful.  There is no point in recruiting minority faculty members and then treating them as is described here.  Getting a hire who belongs to a historically oppressed population is great, but I have to demonstrate that the person is going to last.  The treatment described here is beyond the pale and I just can't see my decanal colleagues agreeing to this kind of situation.

There is some other kind of backstory here, and I really don't think it involves a true "diversity hire."  I just don't think that what's being described here is accurate.
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Am I the only one who even remembers Up with People??
zharkov
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2012, 9:04:04 AM »

Sorry, but I'm not buying the story.  Those of us involved in recruiting and mentoring faculty from historically oppressed populations bend over backwards to make sure that the folks we hire have every single resource that we can hand out to be successful.  There is no point in recruiting minority faculty members and then treating them as is described here.  Getting a hire who belongs to a historically oppressed population is great, but I have to demonstrate that the person is going to last.  The treatment described here is beyond the pale and I just can't see my decanal colleagues agreeing to this kind of situation.

There is some other kind of backstory here, and I really don't think it involves a true "diversity hire."  I just don't think that what's being described here is accurate.

Chime.  I've determined that there is a 97 percent probability of someone posting about "a friend" to be shenanigans.  Call it the Zharkov Shenanigans Factor (ZSF).  The remaining 3 pct of legit postings are exercises in futility, since the poster can't really carry on a conversation about the friend based on second hand knowledge.  If the issue is not important enough to "the friend" to post here, then why should anyone respond?

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__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
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