Starving affirmative action in times of famine?
So I had a horrible realization: if jobs and funding are scarce, affirmative action is the first thing that's going to go out the window.
Here's my logic:
1. Jobs and funding are scarce right now.
a) overenrollment of graduate schools creates too many applicants (selfish universities want TAs)
b) tax money going overseas to pay for bombs instead of biology
c) the scarce funding makes schools wary about hiring new faculty, since they want people who will make it to tenture (i.e. be able to secure funding consistently)
2. Affirmative action works in times of plenty, because the good, privileged people still get jobs first, and then the good, underprivileged/minority people get the jobs that are leftover.
If there are plenty of jobs to go around, it doesn't pain search committees too much to take a chance on somebody who might be otherwise seen as 'risky'. Plus there are bonus points for diversity.
Alternatively, in times of plenty, if one search committee has to pass on someone who is obviously good, they can always reassure themselves by knowing this person is likely to get hired somewhere, as opposed to not at all.
3. Affirmative action won't work in times of famine, because nobody's going to pass over someone who seems to have all the advantages and take someone who might be risky. They want a sure thing: the surest thing they can find. The bonus points for diversity won't make up for that.
Labels: affirmative action