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"level playfields"

Tue Aug 10 19:27:19 EST 1993

I serve as the "token" student on the Diversity Task Force which started this
past year at LLU after getting a certain bright, new graduate (who happens to
be black) to head the Office of Diversity.  Several positions were open in
establishing the new Molecular Biology Center on campus, and I questioned his
stance on hiring quotas for certain underrepresented groups.
"Aren't 'quotas' incendiary to the majority and condescending to the
minorities?  Isn't the whole idea supposed to be that we give positions and
opportunities and awards to people solely on the basis of merit?"

His response persuaded me to the other side of the fence.  He (and now I) is
(am) convinced that without outside pressure, the status quo will only maintain
itself.  Underrepresented groups have few mentors and role models in academia,
so they are less likely to enter that world.  Fewer students mean fewer future
role models and mentors, so the status quo is maintained.

Like most of you, I look forward to the day when we are all treated equally
concerning the things that don't matter and respected (or not respected) solely
on the basis of our talents and merit.  He has convinced me, however, that in
order for that day to come, many women will have to be hired, in large part
based on their gender and maybe and maybe at the expense of some very talented
men, in order for the current status to shift towards a true "equal
opportunity."   It probably also means that a certain number of positions in
medicals schools and other underrepresented programs will be given to students
who are underrepresented, at the expense of a few bright WASP males.

Such is the price we pay for eons of inequality.  Not to severe from that

Dean Lee
Microbiology Dept
mbidle @ lluvm.bitnet

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