Unfortunately, the CHE article on an important case is not open-access, but here’s the basic claim being made on behalf of the openly gay Dr Albert Romkes against the University of Kansas:
the university produced a standard that didn’t officially exist, held Mr. Romkes to it, and then denied him tenure when he didn’t measure up.
And, according to the CHE, he’s burning his bridges and may now not be able to get an academic job.
It does sound as though he had a strong case. However, complete putsiders probably shouldn’t decide who is right here, so let’s just note that it could be a classic instance of the operation of implicit bias. One way it can operate is by raising the bar for members of targeted groups.
Let me also note that I don’t know anything about the case that what the CHE says. So my hiring recommendation is a bit of hyperbole. Still, I’m very bothered by the easy link the CHE makes between making a fuss and becoming unemployable. Should victims of discrimination creep away so that the official story is allowed to stand? Romkes thinks not:
He believes that the decision by his dean and department chair not to follow the recommendation for tenure that came from his school’s promotion-and-tenure committee and most of his departmental colleagues stems from his being openly gay. “To me, standing up for myself was a matter of principle.”…
Every year, assistant professors like Mr. Romkes are denied tenure. Some challenge the decision, sometimes in court. That step alone carries risks for scholars, who then might have to explain the litigious move to potential future employers.
Mr. Romkes took his fight even further, realizing it could jeopardize his academic career.
The alumni who put together the Web site took the site’s tagline, “Carefully Documenting the Case of Inappropriate Tenure Denial,” seriously. Just about anything anyone would want to read about Mr. Romkes’s tenure case is online.
The website is here. Let’s hope that some university will want to hire a courageous man, as he may well be.