Phi Beta Cons

MIT Breaks the Law

The Boston Globe printed a letter being circulated by Noam Chomsky and 10 other professors at MIT, calling for an examination of the process that led to the denial of tenure to an African American faculty member. What I want to point out is this sentence, buried in the letter:  “In July 1998, Prof. Sherley was hired into a faculty slot reserved for under-represented minorities as established by a special Provost’s initiative to promote minority recruitment.”

Now, the Supreme Court has said that in some extraordinary circumstances it is permissible for some limited weight to be given to race, sex, etc. in hiring. But this is a flat-out set-aside or quota, and that is clearly illegal. The EEOC should ask MIT if this slot is still being segregated in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.