Faculty Race, Gender Inequities Unacceptable

The Class and Labor Phase 2 Committee’s recently released executive summary of its report contains critical findings that impact the Emory community, several of which we addressed in last week’s editorial. This editorial is the second installment in the Editorial Board’s review of the executive summary.

According to the Class and Labor executive summary of the report, Emory’s faculty face concerning gender and racial inequities in both recruitment and pay.

While Emory is legally required to ensure that fair hiring practices are followed, women and minority faculty too often face challenges in securing equitable salaries and promotion opportunities.

For example, male faculty receive more retention packages than women and occupy a disproportionately high percentage of tenure-track positions. That gender gap in tenure-track positions narrowed in the past 10 years but still remains above the national average. Additionally, the summary notes that female faculty often face “social punishment” when they assert themselves or take leadership positions.

Emory’s hiring and retention procedures are insufficient for maintaining an ethnically and racially diverse faculty which is critical for ensuring that multiple perspectives are represented in classrooms and boardrooms and has been shown to improve college outcomes for both minority and female students.

Essential to solving those problems is combatting an “implicit bias” present at Emory, which manifests itself in the idea that faculty diversity represents a tradeoff with faculty excellence. To address that deeply ingrained belief, the University should pursue broad diversity training and stronger mentorship programs for women and minorities, a fact acknowledged in the summary. Most importantly, the University must implement mechanisms to ensure equal pay, since compensation is noted in the summary as the primary factor in faculty job satisfaction.

Beyond that, the policies from the Office of Equity and Inclusion governing faculty hiring should be adjusted to cover all aspects of the search and interview process in every division of the University. Transparency must be paramount when these procedures are employed to help eliminate any implicit bias in hiring.

While challenges with faculty diversity are not unique to Emory, the University has always strived to lead in every aspect of its academic experience. Faculty diversity should be no exception.

The above Editorial represents the consensus opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak,  Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Isabeth Mendoza, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois and Mathew Sperling. 

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