Mark’s post is yet another demonstration of the extent to which the faculty hiring process has been completely politicized. But the politicization is not necessarily the result of a conscious effort to exclude conservatives but instead from a (correct) understanding that the area of study has become so completely dominated by the left that virtually every applicant will fit the precise ideological mold of the department. A department that would post such a job opening does not even consider whether the applicants would be anything other than the radical leftist theorists they seek. But these assumptions can and should be challenged. And they can perhaps be challenged in court.
The job description itself is most likely not unlawful (because of the meaningless invitation for a “broad variety” of candidates to apply), but its application almost certainly is. Without question, the university is looking for a person who studies “the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexualities across national boundaries” from the particular viewpoint that dominates the department. The “social activism” they wish to study is leftist social activism. As Erin O’Connor notes, ”This is a job description that is not just looking for someone with a particular expertise, but for someone whose expertise is tied to specific demographic and political factors.”
Yet public universities are bound by laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and religion. They are also bound by constitutional prohibitions against conditioning the receipt of public benefits (in this case, a job) on the abandonment of constitutional rights. For example, a formal (or informal, but still binding) rule that said, “Republicans need not apply” would violate the First Amendment rights of Republican applicants.
Interestingly, there is another group of citizens (aside from so-called “queer theorists”) that study things like the intersection of sexuality and gender across national boundaries. That other group is conservative Christians who are concerned about the social, political, and cultural ramifications of the increased acceptance of homosexuality and other sexual practices traditionally considered immoral.
Is anyone willing to place bets that a well-qualified conservative Christian with a strong record of publications and activism in social conservative circles would get even a moment’s consideration from the Louisville faculty? Is there a well-qualified conservative Christian willing to put the invitation for a “broad variety” of applicants to the test?