There’s no such thing as forced diversity

By on November 2, 2010

President John Lahey messed up.

I hope he knows it, and I hope he plans to publicly acknowledge it, because his words on planning to hire a “high quality African-American” were out of line.

I understand university politics. I understand the need to diversify the student body, faculty and administrative staff. I understand the importance of having an African-American in a high-power position.

But the conscious hiring of an African-American is, inherently, a discriminatory act. It severely handicaps any other candidate, regardless of qualification. It becomes an attempt to establish diversity through discrimination.

Hiring an African-American may make the Quinnipiac community more colorful. But it does not make it more diverse.

Only hiring someone who will advocate tolerance and respect will do so.

If that someone happens to be African-American, then splendid. But making that decision before surveying every candidate and choosing the most qualified ruins the integrity of diversity at Quinnipiac University.

Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, told the Chronicle the university wishes to make this community “open and inclusive.”

The premeditated hiring of an African-American, even a qualified one, is anything but. It is closed and discriminatory.

Lahey’s words indicate that Quinnipiac is focused on increasing the number of visible minorities on campus. This is a worthwhile goal, but it ignores the more important task of fostering a campus community where members, in Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Racial discrimination of any sort is contrary to this goal, regardless of intention.

Comments

About Joe Pelletier

9 Comments

  1. Dan

    November 2, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Nice article, but I beg to differ with how that article was written. I feel like it bashed Lahey for a slight mistake in words and overlooked his intentions. Yes, he messed up on his words but the man has good intentions. You can obviously tell he is trying to give the minority students someone to relate to. Personally, I would love if there were more minorities represented in the administration of this school because i can relate to them better. I can count on one hand the number of minority teachers on this campus and I think that’s pitiful. Especially with the society we are growing up in. It’s especially pitiful for high school seniors who are coming from areas that are diverse (like myself) and can’t see anyone they can relate to. It’s easy for you to write this because you aren’t in the shoes of the minority on this campus. Try looking at what Lahey’s trying to do from our perspective.

    • QU Student

      November 2, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      I didn’t hear Lahey’s speech in person, but I’ve been told by those who attended that he repeatedly used the words “high quality African-American.” Therefore, it was not a “slight mistake in words.” It’s a clear-cut case of reverse discrimination.

      • Aqua Buddha

        November 3, 2010 at 10:46 am

        There is no such thing as reverse discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, plain and simple.

    • B

      November 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great article. It would be great to see more minorities on this campus, but only if it’s done the right way. Everyone deserves a chance, regardless of skin color. I wish everyone would look solely at a person’s qualifications because that’s really what the job is all about. Of course he had good intentions, but hopefully he will think twice before using discrimination to get an African-American hired.

  2. Bravado

    November 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    “The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” Source: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/

    Why Prez Leaky doesn’t address his foulup is equally disturbing. Let’s hold others accountable but not the University Prez…priceless.

  3. Shadaldire

    November 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I always thought it was funny that quinnipiac wanted to be more diverse during my time there. First off, who cares? Second. . .aren’t african americans 10-12% of the national population or something, so a 10-1ish ration of whites to black seems right on point.

  4. Bravado

    November 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Shadaldire: hopefully you’re no longer affiliated with the university because your comments are so brazenly idiotic it’s scary. Who cares about diversity? People who understand this world is slightly bigger & more interesting than Hamden, CT. Your numbers regarding African Americans is somewhat accurate but it lacks depth. A simpleton like yourself would only focus on THIS country. A truly progressive university thinks globally and in that case your melanin-challenged self would be in the minority.

  5. Shadaldire

    November 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I wouldn’t really consider myself a simpleton. I have a J.D and live in NYC. I was just pointing out thats there is no need to over-represent one group at the university where it reflects reality. This only caused issues during my stay at Quinnipiac. (i.e kids getting written up for no reason, black basketball players pissing on a girl in a bathroom getting away with it so they can play basketball)

  6. Kewlgirl

    May 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Wow Shadaldire, it’s been a few months since your last post, but it seems like the more you open your mouth, the more you step in it. Clearly you have a problem with blacks – since it is only the black basketball players who do improper amoral things on campus. And you’re a lawyer? That’s frightening and sad for our country. Anyway, as the previous poster said, soon you will be the minority so it will be interesting your take on that. You are clearly a very sheltered person, living an unexposed, life. I wonder how good a lawyer you could be since you clearly lack skills of empathy or communications.