Just had to be first:}" http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon_06_03_05hm.html Harvards Diversity Grovel In earmarking $50 million for diversity, President Summers is throwing away more than money. | 3 June 2005 Harvard University has just pledged $50 million for faculty diversity efforts, penance for President Lawrence Summerss public mention of sex differences in cognition. The university would have been better off hiring a top-notch conjuror, since only magic could produce a trove of previously undiscovered female and minority academic stars suitable for tenuring. Even Harvards bottomless resources cannot buy a miracle, however. So instead of a magician, the university has brought forth the next best thing: a report on diversity that, like all such products, possesses the power of shutting down every critical faculty in seemingly intelligent people. For connoisseurs of diversity claptrap, Harvards just released Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty is a thing of beauty, a peerless example of the destruction of higher learning by identity politics. Because the report will undoubtedly serve as the template for future diversity scams in colleges across the country, its worth studying. The occasion for the report is by now well known. At a January 14 conference on women in science, Summers had speculated that one possible reason for womens lack of proportional representation on elite science faculties might be that more men than women possess the highest levels of quantitative reasoning skills. Though research amply bears out the unequal distribution of the most abstract mathematical abilities, Summerss allusion to this research set off an immediate spasm of revulsion and horror among Harvards feminist faculty members. Their fury culminated in a March 15 faculty vote of no-confidence against Summers, despite his cringing public retractions and apologies that began as soon as the controversy eruptedall of which recalled Stalinist show trials, with their Darkness at Noonlike recantations. Formation of the Task Force on Women Faculty represented an early and unsuccessful effort to appease Harvards sciencephobes. Though the administration announced the outcome in advanceit wanted, at a minimum, a call for a new high-placed diversity bureaucrat and for more affirmative-action hiring effortsthe creation of task forces, complete with paid staff, is by now an ironclad ritual whereby colleges and universities demonstrate their deep concern for pressing issues. And so Harvard launched the Task Force on Women Faculty on February 3 to affirm [the schools] commitment to the advancement and support of women in academic life. Every such diversity initiative immediately faces two major obstacles. First, its purpose is to recommend the identical set of actions that the institution, whether academic or corporate, has already been doing. Every college in the country has been frantically pursing diversity in hiring and admissions for decades. The task force itself commends the diversity policies of 17 rival collegesthe mere tip of the icebergwithout drawing the obvious conclusion. The second obstacle follows from the first: there is nothing more that can be done. If untapped pools of highly qualified female and minority candidates existed out there, schools would have snapped them up long agoif not your college, then its dozens of competitors, just as desperate to placate the quota gods. (The one course of action that might, in the case of black and Hispanic faculty recruitment, bear long-term results is the one that elite college personnel are least likely to choose: intensive mentoring of young students and the jettisoning of all progressive pedagogy in the schools.) Just how repetitive is Harvards latest diversity push? I asked Harvard spokesman Sarah Friedell if the university had not already been paying considerable attention to diversity. She happily trumpeted the schools efforts. I will tell you, she said, huge attention is paid to diversity in terms of recruiting students and faculty. It is enormously important. A former top administrator seconded her claims. The annual numbers of tenure offers to women are etched into my soul, he said. Everyone thought about it all the time. Indeed, the task force report itself alludes to Harvards numerous existing efforts to recruit women faculty, from an affirmative action slush fund to a universal drive, at each of Harvards faculties and schools, to retain and promote larger numbers of women faculty. By now, however, crafty diversocrats have developed a host of strategies to cover up the essential meaninglessness of their existence. The Harvard Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty employs all of them to perfection. STRATEGY #1: PRACTICE COLLECTIVE AMNESIA. So your latest diversity effort mimics everything that your institution has been doing for years? No problem! Just play Lets Pretend: Lets pretend that weve never had a diversity initiative at our college and that this current proposal to hire more women and minority faculty represents a radical new take on college governance. Thus, President Summers greeted the reports release with the sonorous tones that a proposal to end tenure, say, might elicit: Because [these recommendations] address fundamental issues about the way we conduct our core academic business, they have the power to make Harvard not only more welcoming and diverse, but a stronger and more excellent university overall. You would think that an economist would know something about diminishing returns. The head of the Harvard Corporation, its external oversight board, kept up his end of the charade with equal solemnity. Announced Corning, Inc. chairman James R. Houghton: [T]hese recommendations will help the University take major steps toward that crucial goal [of diversity], in ways that strengthen both our academic enterprise and our sense of community. Of course, these recommendations contain not a single novel thought or policy, but it would take a degree of courage possessed by neither corporate nor university chieftains to point that out. STRATEGY #2: CREATE NEW BUREAUCRACY. The only new hires that diversity initiatives generate are in college administrations, already overloaded with sinecures. The Harvard task force demands the creation of a most remarkable new position, a Senior Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development. The provosts office, mind you, is very high up in the administrative chaindirectly beneath the president, in factand it is responsible for all aspects of Harvards academic life. Within that empyrean realm, the new Senior Vice Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development will occupy a singular and permanent position, dictates the task force. The Senior VP for D will sit with the president, the provost, and the deans of faculties on Harvards academic advisory group. And just in case the lesser functionaries in the provosts office still dont appreciate the exalted status of the new Senior VP for D, the task force provides that she (the reports choice of words) be given priority in terms of office space. So much for non-hierarchical, anti-patriarchal collaborative sharing of collective resources. Naturally, the Senior VP for D will also be supported by a group of dedicated staff. Now the new Senior VP faces in microcosm the same problem confronting the task force: there is nothing for her to do. And thats after the task force has grabbed for her a portfolio beyond its original charter. Summerss charge to the task force was to promote gender diversity. But without even acknowledging the change, the task force has expanded the Senior VP for Ds diversity mandate to include other underrepresented racial/ethnic groups (as if women are an underrepresented racial/ethnic group). Of course, some of the alleged solutions to the professorial gender gapchanged family leave and stronger sexual harassment policesare irrelevant to half of the members of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, but diversity boondoggles never let facts stand in their way. Bulking up the Senior VP for Ds job description still cannot conceal that the job is contentless, however. The SVP is nothing but a bean-counter and quota-enforcer; a computer couldand already doestally the number of female and minority professors more easily and much less expensively. The idea that there is some intellectual or academic content to bean counting is ridiculous. Thats where Strategy Three comes in. STRATEGY #3: SUBDIVIDE ONE BIG ZERO INTO MANY LITTLE ZEROS. So what if a diversity bureaucrats job is a cipher? You can make that cipher look impressive by breaking it up into equally vacuous component parts. The task force creates 24 specific responsibilities for the Senior VP for D, proving that there are at least 24 ways to say count the beans. Those 24 specific responsibilities unfold in an outline of baroque complexity, with major headings spawning sub-categories and sub-sub-categories. The placement of any specific responsibility in this dizzying scheme is completely arbitrary. Why, for example, is overseeing design and implementation of diversity programs for deans, department chairs and search committees included under the sub-head promoting diversity and gender and racial /ethnic equity in hiring, rather than under improving the climate for women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups? Conversely, why is monitoring, evaluating and building on existing polices and practices in cooperation with the deans to promote diversity and gender and racial/ethnic equity, both centrally and at the school level organized under improving the climate for women and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups rather than under promoting diversity and gender and racial/ethnic equity? No answer exists. The task force is just warming up to its obfuscating role, however. Though the above specific responsibilities are merely mind-numbing rephrasings of the core bean-counting activity, the task force manages to squeeze an additional three sub-sub-categories out of bean countingwhich it calls metrics. The Senior VP for D will develop metrics for measuring the Universitys progress in achieving diversity and gender and ethnic/ethnic equity, track progress in increasing diversity and representation by compiling metrics, and make metrics available to the Harvard community and to the public. Translation: count the number of women and minority professors. STRATEGY #4: RENAME EVERYTHING THAT YOUR UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN DOING REGARDING DIVERSITY. Diversocrats possess a primitive belief in the totemic power of words. If you can rename something, you have changed its essence. Harvard has already been obsessively compiling data on gender and race: the task force easily obtained faculty data from 1990 to 2005 by rank and genderand within gender, by race. But the task force renames those data metrics andpoof!it has proposed something new. Collect diversity data? Thats what Harvard did before May 16, 2005, when the task force released its report. After May 16, 2005, it will embark into the uncharted territory of compiling metrics, proving that now its really doing something about diversity. In the era before the coming of the Senior VP for D, Harvard had an Outreach Fund for sweetening job offers and other perks for women and minorities. In the postSenior VP for D era, Harvard will have a Faculty Development and Diversity Fund and a Special Assistance Fund. (The task force here combined Strategy #4: Renaming, and Strategy #3: Subdivide.) The Faculty Development and Diversity Fund and the Special Assistance Fund are identical to the Outreach Fund, simply renamed and split into two. No one will ever notice that continuity, the diversocrats assume, because the names are different. The task force gives two reasons for renaming the Outreach Fund. Both demonstrate the catastrophic decline in intellectual skills in the academy. The task force claims that the term outreach fund connotes civic or cultural improvement, but these funds are intended to identify and recruit top-flight faculty. Huh? No one, hearing outreach fund, would think civic or cultural improvement. In fact, outreach fund suggests pretty much what the task force claims it doesnt signify: the intent to identify and recruit some groupin this case, women and minority faculty. Reading skills in the age of deconstruction and its many theoretical offshoots have apparently followed required Shakespeare courses into oblivion. The second reason for renaming the Outreach Fund is an even stronger indication of Harvards intellectual nosedive. In an unusual collision with the truth, the task force acknowledges that there was a sense that candidates hired with support of the [existing] funds are somehow less qualified. Someone slipped up big-time here, because admitting the poisonous stigma that affirmative action efforts impose on their beneficiaries is something that diversocrats must never ever do. But the task forces encounter with reality is brief. It appears fully satisfied with the idea that renaming the Outreach Fund will eliminate the stigma of race and gender preferences. The task force could have mentioned one more unintended consequence to affirmative action slush funds: peer resentment. A top Harvard science professor says that the preferences given to women and minority scientists in lab-space allocation and other perks do not always make for happy collegial relations. But any resentment that might emerge will just be more fuel for the diversity machine. Pursuant to the task force recommendations, Harvard is busily planning climate surveys of faculty to see whether women and minority professors feel personally safe, listened to, valued. Ordinarily, one could attribute the suggestion that there might be even a single professor in the warm, fuzzy cocoon of Harvard who does not feel personally safe to diversitys solipsistic bathos. But just maybe, if your white male colleagues are grumbling behind your back about your unusual access to the Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer, your new computers, and your troop of lab assistants, you can begin to make out a case, however far-fetched, of not feeling personally safe.