Lack of diversity in UK academia, esp. Philosophy

A new report has come out from the ECU, and Helen De Cruz has pulled out some important statistics from it for us:

Some figures for philosophy in this survey, 2016/2017 (N = 1115).
* Only 6.1% of philosophers employed at UK universities are disabled – compare, 16-19% of UK working age adults are disabled.
* 95.2% of philosophers employed in UK universities are white – compare, 81.9% of UK population are white. There are only three non-STEM disciplines with an even whiter faculty. They are sports, history and classics (with around 96% white faculty).
* 70.3% of philosophers employed in UK universities are male. No other non-STEM subject has this low representation of women. To compare, Economics has 29.8% women, Theology has 36.7% women, Sports 36.4% and Politics 37.1%, all these are higher than philosophy, where only 29.7% are women).

APSA Hackathon

Of possible interest to readers (either to participate in this event or as a model for their own professional associations), the APSA is holding a “hackathon” next month to help men support women’s equality in political science. The hackathon is being organized by Jessica Preece and Macartan Humphreys and being held as part of the APSA’s 2018 annual meeting, Democracy and its Discontents.

Here is a partial description of the hackathon from the conference website:

Hackathons are events where communities of scholars, activists, programmers, and others come together to exchange ideas about and work collaboratively to provide solutions to a common problem. Hackathons may produce multiple outcomes, including the analysis and visualization of new data, websites, apps, research designs, consensus documents, policy proposals, and plans for social interventions. […] Our main goal to build on past and present efforts by APSA and its component organizations to promote diversity and inclusion by creating a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive space for annual meeting participants to come together. At the hackathon, teams will develop strategies that address key challenges facing the profession, build partnerships, and plans to move forward.

In preparation for the hackathon, organizers conducted an open-ended survey of women in the profession, which resulted in this list of suggestions.

Read more about the hackathon here.

(Thanks to JW for the heads up.)

 

How not to react to a Title IX case

And– appallingly– feminist scholars are part of the problem. None of the considerations below should influence an investigation of this sort.

The letter, dated May 11 and addressed to NYU’s president and provost, said Ronell was under investigation by the university’s Title IX office. The signatories, worried that she had already been damaged by the proceedings and anxious that she would lose her job, asked that she receive “a fair hearing.”

It also listed her many accomplishments in the fields of philosophy and literature and seemed to suggest that her stature in those fields and at the university should be considered in the investigation. Though the letter’s signatories said they didn’t have access to a “confidential dossier” from a Title IX investigation, they stated their “objection to any judgment against her.”

“This is an example of a kind of misuse or abuse of Title IX.” “We testify to the grace, the keen wit, and the intellectual commitment of Professor Ronell and ask that she be accorded the dignity rightly deserved by someone of her international standing and reputation,” the letter said. “If she were to be terminated or relieved of her duties, the injustice would be widely recognized and opposed.”

Read about the letter here.

On being a black professor

A powerful and depressing must-read from George Yancy.

By recounting, in explicit language, the white backlash that I encountered after writing “Dear White America,” those violent and dehumanizing racist modes of address, I risk becoming retraumatized. The retelling is imperative, though. For too long, I have had black students say to me that they feel unsafe at PWIs (predominantly white institutions). I must believe them. And while they may not have been called a nigger to their faces, such white spaces position them as inconsequential, deny their blackness through superficial concerns for “diversity,” and take their complaints as instances of individual problems of institutional adjustment. I insist on bearing witness to black pain and suffering at PWIs because the deniers are out there. We are told that what we know in our very bodies to be true isn’t credible. This is a different kind of violence, the epistemic kind.

Read the whole thing.

Students disciplined for warning about sexual harassment

Allegations had been swirling around William Jaworski for years.

An associate philosophy professor at Fordham University, Dr. Jaworski was accused of making female students feel “uncomfortable” and “unsafe,” according to a letter he received from the university. Many formal and informal complaints were made against him, two of which were substantiated, one for sexual harassment and another for unprofessional conduct. The letter said the “pattern of behavior” had gone on for over a decade.

So at the beginning of this semester, two seniors, Samantha Norman and Eliza Putnam, decided to do something about it. On the first day of class in January, they visited two of Dr. Jaworski’s Philosophical Ethics classes, taught at the university’s Lincoln Center campus, in Manhattan, before the instructor arrived. Standing in front of a white board with about two dozen students folded into desks in front of them, they delivered a warning.

“We introduced ourselves and said, ‘We just want you to know that there’s a history of allegations against this professor and multiple Title IX complaints,’” Ms. Putnam said.

They told the students to take care of themselves and take care of each other, they said. They were in and out in less than five minutes.

They have now been charged with ‘dishonesty’, although Fordham has also suspended Jaworski– which would seem to indicate their truthfulness. Read more.

(Thanks, J-Bro!)

Harassment and Academic Freedom

Lady Day has been running a wonderful academic freedom blog for some time. But today’s offering is especially important for FP readers, I think.

One final provocative point. Academic freedom isn’t a zero-sum game; so we really do not need to choose which threats to academic freedom we are most concerned about. That said, there is way more anger in the media and among the public about the purported threat to academic freedom when students oppose campus talks by controversial non-scholars like Milo Yiannopoulos or Faith Goldy (something that happens a handful of times each year) than there is about the ongoing, predictable, system-wide harassment of scholars — scholars! — like me, and the detrimental effect that harassment has on our scholarship. That needs to change.

Read the whole thing!

New study on gender bias in student evaluations

“Our analysis of comments in both formal student evaluations and informal online ratings indicates that students do evaluate their professors differently based on whether they are women or men,” the study says. “Students tend to comment on a woman’s appearance and personality far more often than a man’s. Women are referred to as ‘teacher’ [as opposed to professor] more often than men, which indicates that students generally may have less professional respect for their female professors.”

Based on empirical evidence of online SETs, it continues, “bias does not seem to be based solely (or even primarily) on teaching style or even grading patterns. Students appear to evaluate women poorly simply because they are women.”

Read more.