Phi Beta Cons

Forty-one Out of Forty-four Women Are Not Enough

At the National Association of Scholars site, Professor Ben Foster of the University of Louisville gives an insider look at how affirmative action in hiring is being implemented at his institution. Readers will be astonished at the intricacy of the deliberations, machinations, and configurations that have become typical of implementing group preferences based on race, gender, and ethnicity nowadays (including, believe it or not, for Asians).

What we have now is a total bureaucracy of numbers completely blind to human reality, reminiscent of the colonel in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 who ponders over charts and wonders if nailing his men’s arms to their legs would facilitate even better precision marching. What is now used at Louisville to guide affirmative action hiring is the “whole person rule.” Using this calculation, the nursing department at Louisville was found to have an underrepresentation of females although forty-one out of forty-four positions were held by women.

Foster explains how this happened. First, he explains the “whole person rule.”

The whole person rule is the strictest test for determining underutilization and was used by [the University of Louisville] recently to identify job categories in which female, minority, black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian population subgroups were identified as underutilized. For each area separately evaluated, the percentage of women and minorities available in that category is determined, as measured nationally for faculty and many administrative positions and locally for many staff positions. Then the number of employees in the employment category multiplied by the appropriate percentage available is calculated to determine the number of expected women and minority employees. If this expected number minus the actual number of female or minority employees in that area was 1.0 or higher (a “whole person”), the area is considered to underutilize women or members of a minority group.

As for nursing:

The field of nursing is so overwhelmingly female that the available pool is over 95 percent female. Consequently, over 95 percent of nursing faculty at UL is expected to be female according to the whole person rule, another ironic example of rule-based pursuit of diversity when following U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.


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