Saturday, March 17, 2007

This probably isn't the time to talk of "representative" basketball teams

Bruce McQuain at QandO links to a Tony Woodlief comment.

The University of California at Berkeley is looking to hire its first Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, and I think it's about darn time. I'm heartened to know that with this renewed focus on recruiting students and faculty from underrepresented groups, Berkeley's agents will soon be scouring Iowa for devout homeschooled virgin boys. Young men returning from service in Iraq, likewise, may find a warmer reception than they would have received in years past. And no doubt many young parents, as well as retired executives, will soon be submitting their applications to the more equitable and inclusive Cal-Berkeley. Observant pro-war Jews, aspiring Christian filmmakers, chaste young pro-life activists — all are welcome under Berkeley's big tent, right?

The actual press release, however, dwells on the trappings of bureaucracy.

By midsummer, if all goes as planned, Berkeley's first vice chancellor for equity and inclusion — having been issued a campus e-mail address and UC employee number — will begin to lead and coordinate Berkeley's wide-ranging diversity-related efforts.

Hopefully the employee number won't be culturally insensitive. One of their programs sounds pretty insensitive to me.

The campus has numerous ongoing programs to recruit, retain, and support underrepresented students, such as the American Indian Graduate Program, which this season will be doing outreach to potential graduate students at the Berkeley and Stanford powwows....

"American Indian"? "Powwow"? All they need to do now is put Chief Illiniwek in a teepee, and we palefaces will be completely enthralled.

Of course, I should be the last one casting stones at this exercise, since my alma mater was admittedly completely unrepresentative in the early 1980s, when Reed College gave a black student award. Unfortunately, the number of black students at the college at the time was approximately two.


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