You would think that an institution ostensibly dedicated to reason would have documented the widespread bias against women and minorities before creating such a costly apparatus for fighting that alleged epidemic. I ask Dianne Klein, the spokesman for UC’s Office of the President, whether Yudof or other members of his office were aware of any faculty candidates rejected by hiring committees because of their race or sex. Or perhaps Yudof’s office knew of highly qualified minority or female faculty candidates simply overlooked in a search process because the hiring committee was insufficiently committed to diversity outreach? Klein ducks both questions: “Such personnel matters are confidential and so we can’t comment on your question about job candidates.”
Does UC Santa Barbara’s associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and academic policy know of such victims of faculty bias? “It’s hard to prove that qualified women haven’t been hired,” says Sobek. But “people don’t feel comfortable working with people who don’t look like them and tend to hire people that look like them.” Doesn’t the high proportion of Asian professors in UC’s science departments and medical schools suggest that UC’s white faculty are comfortable working with people who don’t look like them? “Oh, Asians are discriminated against, too,” replies Sobek. “They face a glass ceiling. People think that maybe Asians are not good enough to run a university.” Sobek’s own university, UC Santa Barbara, has an Asian chancellor, but never mind.
Bureaucratic overseers are not enough to purge the faculty of its alleged narrow-mindedness; the faculty must be retrained from within. Every three years, representatives from departmental hiring committees at UCLA must attend a seminar on “unconscious bias” in order to be deemed fit for making hiring decisions. In 2012, a Berkeley department in the social sciences was informed that a female professor from outside the department would be sitting on its hiring committee, since its record of hiring women was unsatisfactory. Only after protest did UC Two’s administrators back down.