Can Universities Offer Faculty Race-Based Benefits in Seeking Tenure?

There is an interesting controversy brewing at Central Connecticut State University where faculty are being offered funding to assist them in securing tenure. However, CCSU is limiting access to such support to “members of minority and other protected groups.” The fund allows tenure-track scholars to receive funding “to support projects and activities” that are “related to their retention.” That includes money “to defray the costs of travel to conferences, workshops, and special collections, and for data collection and creative work at distant field sites. Funds may also be used for such expenses as workshop and conference registration fees, and to support further study for credit or non-credit courses.”The program is reportedly implemented by Professor Samuel Zadi, who teaches World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. The program was recently discussed on the conservative site The College Fix.
The program has the worthy objective to “assist the university in achieving its goal of recruiting and retaining faculty members of minority and other protected groups.” However, it also means that other faculty are barred due to their race or sexual orientation or identity.Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits “discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.”The Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the use of race criteria in the admission of students in Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. For decades, universities have avoided the type of outright quota the court held unconstitutional in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). Justice Lewis Powell wrote. “Preferring members of any one group for no reason other than race or ethnic origin is discrimination for its own sake. This the Constitution forbids.”

For some justices, race-based programs in education are generally inimical to our constitutional values. In 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts declared: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”  In 2006, Roberts also wrote: “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.”

We have previously discussed the constitutionality of programs that exclude whites or males. The federal and state governments have long used “set asides” or minority preferences in contracting or benefits. Yet, in 1989, in City of Richmond v. JA. Croson Co., the Court struck down the City of Richmond’s minority and female-owned business program as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

However, a key aspect to the Croson ruling was the failure of the City of Richmond to present evidence of racial discrimination on the part of the city or the city’s prime contractors. Thus, “If the city of Richmond had evidence before it that nonminority contractors were systematically excluding minority businesses from subcontracting opportunities, it could take action to end the discriminatory exclusion.” The Court fractured on the issue, but a plurality maintained that a “state or local subdivision … has the authority to eradicate the effects of private discrimination within its own legislative jurisdiction.

One challenge in litigation could be based on standing. The CCSU could argue that white faculty are not harmed by the fact that minority faculty are getting assistance. Tenure is not a zero-sum game where tenure for one professor means the loss of tenure to another. However, there are often limited “slots” on faculties. Barred faculty could claim that this program gives an advantage to other academics in seeking limited positions.

There would not be any serious problem, in my view, to CCSU spending money to recruit minority faculty candidates. Moreover, there may be differences in pay or compensation that deans agreed to with individual candidates. However, once on the faculty, the question is whether the university can offer such professors an advantage denied to colleagues in the form of such grants or subsidies.

Putting aside the constitutional questions, there is also a major academic policy question over the need of universities to maintain a level playing field for all faculty. Once on the faculty, professors are ideally subject to the same standards and opportunity for tenure. However, this program facilitates the progress toward tenure for some based on their race or identities.

It is not clear if there will be a challenge to this program and, thus far, there is no public response from CCSU.


63 thoughts on “Can Universities Offer Faculty Race-Based Benefits in Seeking Tenure?”

  1. The CCSU could argue that white faculty are not harmed by the fact that minority faculty are getting assistance.

    It could, but it would be losing argument. White faculty are harmed by not being eligible for the financial assistance given to minorities.

  2. I’m not sure how securing minorities is a “worthy goal”. It’s racist at it’s core, just like the money additional only for minority tenure.
    What we have is once again discrimination and it will ever be allowed since the reported exception is proof there was prior discrimination.
    Except the swirling drain hole sucking sound to increase into the dark future.

  3. We need to stop this tribalism based on race.

    The past was a dangerous place to be. Blacks were slaves in Western nations. Whites were slaves in Muslim nations. Slavery was practiced in every known human culture, including Native American. There were human sacrifices, forced marriages, British men pressed to serve in the Royal Navy where they’d just disappear and leave their family without a breadwinner until months passed and he could send his pay home, people starved to death, the Indian caste system…

    The list of ways in which human beings mistreated each other is endless. As morality evolved, societies improved. What was acceptable 100 years ago, is not acceptable now.

    We need to stop blaming people of the past for not evolving faster. We don’t blame the horse for not evolving faster from Eohippus, though I’m sure humans could have really used the help of the domesticated horse in the dawn of mankind.

    It was the very horrors of the past that taught Western civilization right from wrong. The concept of individual rights, and by extension, the abolition of slavery, could not have evolved without individual rights being subjugated.

    All of us were born, and stand where we are today, because of the sum total of past history.

    For example, some activists condemn Christopher Columbus, and view non-indigenous Americans as colonizers. Yet, without Christopher Columbus, the Aztecs would have continued slavery, human sacrifice, genocide, and conquering other nations. It’s doubtful other strong nations would simply leave North and South America alone, with all its rich resources. The country could belong to China, or the Middle East, if European nations simply eschewed colonization. Without the US, the Na$is would have likely won WWII. Jewish people would have been destroyed.

    It was the US that was a model of individual human rights. Without that influence, what would Western civilization be like today?

    E pluribus unum. It is the unity that is most important, not the differences among us.

  4. Diversity of individuals, minority of one.

    Lose your Pro-Choice ethical religion, end the performance of human rites, close the Gosnell clinics, lower the Rainbow banner, abort the albinophobic parade.

    Men and women are equal in rights and complementary in Nature/nature. Reconcile.

  5. OT

    “Old people are killing China so China is killing old people.”

    “Xi Jinping’s preferred weapon is “‘China Flu, 2019.'”

    – Demographer

    Releasing “China Flu, 2019” six months before a presidential election killed two birds with one stone: It eliminated Chinese pensioners and removed President Trump.

  6. People who are in the United States illegally have no standing.

    In full force and effect on January 1, 1863, the Naturalization Act of 1802 was illicitly, illegally and unconstitutionally abrogated by the wholly unconstitutional acts of “Crazy Abe” Lincoln, beginning with his denial of secession. Secession is not prohibited and was and remains fully constitutional. All acts of Lincoln subsequent to his unconstitutional denial of secession were and are similarly illicit, illegal, unconstitutional, invalid and illegitimate. Southern States must have been allowed to secede (ultimately reuniting with the U.S. of its insolvency and failure), and slavery must have been terminated through legal means, including constitutional compassionate repatriation per extant immigration law.

    The only persons who “…may be admitted to become a citizen…” are those who are clearly described in the text of the Naturalization Act of 1802, while those who are not referenced “…may [NOT] be admitted…” and must be expelled, as the case may be.

    The Supreme Court recently acted retroactively by 50 years to correct and strike down the erroneous, misdirected and corrupt decision by the Supreme Court of 1973 which falsely and preposterously claimed that abortion was a constitutional right.

    The Supreme Court must now act retroactively by 150 years to correct and strike down the erroneous, corrupt, unconstitutional and juridically preposterous decision by the Supreme Court of 1869, which found and cited no constitutional prohibition against secession – in lieu providing a convoluted, incoherent yet alluring, meandering tract of wholesale fiction – ignored, subverted, overturned and, de facto, unconstitutionally amended the Constitution, to be torturously read as secession denial.

    The Supreme Court must now act retroactively by 150 years to correct and strike down the erroneous, corrupt and unconstitutional acts and and horrific consequences of the high criminal “Crazy Abe” Lincoln in order to obtain the original and, by definition, irrefutably constitutional intent of the American Founders and Framers.

    The Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations – they meant it)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

  7. Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘Fairness’ and ‘Social Justice,’ what is your ‘Fair Share’ of what someone else has worked for?

    Good question Mr. Sowell!

  8. Has the Stuxnet virus broken the centrifuge of the world, making everyone lose their intellectual balance?

    It also feels a bit like the world is caught in the throes of a frenetic but pointedly intensifying piece of music. When will it resolve? How is more concerning.

    1. Sophist education policy spells disaster for democracy every time. By teaching the youth what they need to know rather than how to critically analyze and learn themselves, we create soldiers not samaritans. These soldiers can be marshaled, wedged, and farmed easily by demagogues, but they are just as easily swayed by misinformation, populism, and fear.

      Socrates in on trial once again in America, but there are far fewer I fear who support his vision than in ancient Athens.

      1. “By teaching the youth what they need to know rather than how to critically analyze and learn themselves”

        These are not mutually exclusive. Knowledge aids analysis. Attention and observation aid analysis, too.

        1. Sure, truth must be reflected in the things students know as light is reflected off of one’s surroundings (to paraphrase Plato again), so it’s necessary that children be educated in order for them to be illuminated. But far too often in our school systems I fear the latter is eschewed for the former – great teachers with new ideas are hamstrung so obedient teachers can excel, teacher’s unions protect veteran educators’ entitlements over the next generation of teachers, and the growth of gifted students is retarded in the name of “equity”. Obvious elements of modern education like search bar literacy and web services that should have replaced encyclopaedias are ignored in favor of “information/disinformation” qualifications that follow closely the political affections of the greater department of education. Because somehow a century ago Wilson (I think) somehow convinced the supreme court that education was the domain of the executive branch, enumerated somewhere in the interstate commerce clause.

          I’m not an expert, just someone who has read a lot, experienced the disfunction firsthand, and spoken to some pretty educated people on this matter (such as the ex Finnish minister for education), but these are my thoughts.

          1. “But far too often in our school systems I fear the latter is eschewed for the former – great teachers with new ideas are hamstrung so obedient teachers can excel, teacher’s unions protect veteran educators’ entitlements over the next generation of teachers, and the growth of gifted students is retarded in the name of “equity””

            “New ideas” are mostly those horrid things being pushed by activist types or those who wish to corporatize/privatize everything. I’m inclined to reexamine “old ideas” in education that have gone out of fashion due to the excesses of the modern era. Memorizing poetry or times tables, narration, written examinations. Great teachers seem to be both broadly educated and masters of their particular subjects. They can help students build their understanding because they themselves have a deeper understanding of not only their own subject but how it fits into the wider world; they can illuminate linkages.

            I don’t really see the interference of teacher’s unions (though I am sure they are part of the problem). I see testing and coercive requirements and ridiculous expectations of “accountability” and “competencies” on the part of state and mostly the Federal government as bigger problems. NCLB undermined the important (classical) liberal elements of students’ education (history, the arts, literature) by the absurd focus on measuring what they say matters–namely those things that can easily be measured, like math. Geez, how would Shakespeare, da Vinci, or Thomas Jefferson responded to the idea of “competencies”?!

            How do you measure wisdom? How is that defined as a competency on a scantron?

            “YOU want to know my attitude towards liberal studies. Well, I have no respect for any study whatsoever if its end is the making of money. Such studies are to me unworthy ones. They involve the putting out of skills to hire, and are only of value in so far as they may develop the mind without occupying it for long. Time should be spent on them only so long as one‟s mental abilities are not up to dealing with higher things. They are our apprenticeship, not our real work. Why „liberal studies‟ are so called is obvious: it is because they are the ones considered worthy of a free man.* But there is really only one liberal study that deserves the name – because it makes a person free – and that is the pursuit of wisdom.” ~Seneca the Younger

            “Because somehow a century ago Wilson (I think) somehow convinced the supreme court that education was the domain of the executive branch, enumerated somewhere in the interstate commerce clause.”

            Could you elaborate? I have not heard this before. Education did not become the “domain of the executive branch” for another 60 years or so with the creation of the Federal Department of Education in 1980 or thereabouts.

  9. Professor Turley, who I almost always agree with, states that it is a laudable goal for the university to try to recruit minority professors or to entice minority professors through financial benefits, but why is there no movement to recruit or entice more white kids to play basketball? Why is it that an industry or profession that is majority white (forgetting for the moment that the nation is majority white) is evil or unjust but an industry (basketball players make abut 10 million a year) that is majority black (while our nation is only 13% black) is just fine?

  10. O T (AGE) 89 year old Diane Feinstein is hospitalized. 81 year old Mitch McConnell is hospitalized. 80 year old Joseph Biden is still ambulatory, but has bubble-gum for brains. Nancy Pelosi is 82. Check Schumer is a “young” 72. Sen Cruz and Rep Norman recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to term-limit memebers of Congress. May the Divine Light, or some other light, show us the way to approve the Amendment.

    1. edward,
      I fully support term limits. I would also support requiring members of Congress to take civics exam before being sworn in. 10 random questions like they do for the citizenship exam. Then tie their voting power to the results. Score a 90% and their vote would be worth 90%.

  11. I post this a lot. Posting it again. There is quite literally no difference between modern dem ‘equity’, and old dem segregation, and I hate it. We need to stop letting ignorant children hold positions of authority. Older, more experienced people are not ‘out of touch’, they are wise, have been through this, and are shit tired of millennials and younger dragging us backward because they can’t handle a high school breakup, let alone voting on a bill or for an office. It’s beyond old. It is clear some of us will never get to pass the torch or retire. Those parents that f***** this up – accept you will have people related to you living in your basement probably forever. For the rest of us: let’s squash this, en masse. We can.

  12. Kendi said, The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination. It sounds like something right out of the dispute of the Hatfields and McCoys. You Grandpappy did my Grandpappy wrong so you and your kin will forever be made to pay. We used to think of such statements as being made by country bumpkins. Today there said to be said by the wise men of a new era. It was funny then but unfortunately it’s not so funny now. There’s a lot of money to be made in the grievance industry.

    1. @Think

      It is important to understand, with perhaps a few exceptions, that is largely a millennial and younger position on the topics. I hope at some point we can look at the root of that, I get ignored for saying it. Nevertheless, that is what is afflicting us. The book, ‘The Coddling of The American Mind’, is a good place to start, though it is subject matter that a lot of us have been dealing with since the childhood years, and we offered warnings then, and not very many cared to pay attention because they themsleves, inthe social media era, might look bad.

    2. The Hatfields and McCoys analogy is great.

      We have tried this in the past – it does not work.

      We have had blood feuds for millennia such that no one knows how they started any more.
      We have groups in the world today that continue to hate each other for reasons over a millennia old that they no longer recall.

      Ireland did not go from centuries of violence and “The troubles” – to a higher standard of living than the US by more violence towards the english.

  13. Throughout the history of the Democratic Party, it has supported laws that treat Americans differently based on their race. In years past, the party supported laws that allowed race-based slavery and race-based voting restrictions. The party supported laws that actually required race-based denial of service at restaurants, hotels, and theaters and race-based seating arrangements on public transportation. Today, in 2023, the Democratic Party supports race-based awarding of federal contracts, race-based farm subsidies, race-based hiring and promotion practices, race-based allocation of public health services, race-based college admissions, race-based residency in college dormitories, and race-based college graduation ceremonies.

  14. Reparations in disguise. It must be understood that you are responsible for the sins of your fathers. Logically it should follow that if you are the offspring of a person of color who committed a murder you should pay the family of the victim of the murder for the actions of your father. Even though you weren’t at the scene of the crime you are guilty by association and you better pay up or else. When they can’t legislate it they just institute it by decree. More discrimination does not create less discrimination. They then lament how the country is so divided.

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