That’s not us!

This satirical piece in IHE totally misses my university. Totally! Look at all the differences.

We are a predominantly white, elitist and ableist liberal arts institution located on stolen Native American land in a small but beautiful rural area in Wokeland, N.Y. [We’re in Trump Country, MN! Everything up to that point was accurate.] The campus is surrounded by hazelnut trees, peach orchards, [Nope! Corn and soybeans.] German bakeries, French cuisine [We wish.] and statues of tall white cisgender wealthy men (several of whom were slaveholders) [Wrong again. No fancy statues anywhere.] whose ill-gotten monies have helped uphold our elitism [No monies, ill-gotten or otherwise. We’re a state college. We get by on scraps from a penny-pinching legislature] . We will be hiring a dynamic faculty for a tenure-track position in Liberal Studies.

We are legally required to say we are open to diversity, so we encourage people of color to apply [We do! We always do] so we can ultimately hire a white cisgender male candidate [It’s funny how often that happens] who (coincidentally!) had the same Ph.D. adviser as our department chair [That doesn’t happen here, but oddly, we do tend to favor candidates with a history of living in Minnesota, because they’ll “fit in”, which means our demographics don’t shift much] . We are especially interested in candidates willing to participate in various activities related to our collegewide symposium on “What is all this fuss about race, gender and white privilege?” generously funded by benevolent right-wing billionaires with no interest in politics. [We’re exempt again, but only because the right-wing billionaires haven’t noticed us]

Also, I should have noted that we’re hiring a tenure track ecologist, not a Liberal Studies professor. But don’t worry! We mean well!


  1. rockwhisperer says

    I spent about a year and a half working as a software engineer for a company that was ultimately crushed by financing problems. I would have left before bankruptcy and layoff, but I was working with some of the most talented engineers and managers I’ve ever known, in by far the most collaborative and cooperative corporate culture I’ve ever experienced. oh, well. My manager was a very sweet guy who had no managerial training, and tended to hire based on his gut, assuming the candidate had a reasonable skill set for the job. I swear, half an hour into the interview, we were talking as though we’d known each other for years. I wasn’t surprised at the job offer. But a couple of months later, in talking about my experience with a wonderful colleague, he commented that our manager needed to get out of his comfort zone around hiring. Not that my colleague was complaining about my hire, but that everyone in our group was white, had progressive politics, and overall shared a similar culture–in extremely multicultural Silicon Valley. I can’t imagine that manager ever thinking a consciously racist thought, but he hired people he could connect with socially in one interview.

    I saw the same comfort-zone issue come up when I was studying for an MS and my department was hiring for two tenure-track positions. I think “fit” matters more in some ways in academia. For example, our department was a casual department in a casual university. Our department head at the time was the most casual of all, tending to wear shorts t-shirts, and sandals to work. He did ritually dress up the outfit with one of his many Hawaiian shirts when teaching classes, attending meetings, and meeting with candidates. One of our candidates was a very formal person, both in dress and demeanor. As we walked to lunch (the department invited a few students to the group lunch with each candidate), the group stretched out, with our department head leading and the candidate and I bringing up the rear. “Does he always dress like that?” she asked of our department head. “Not always,” I answered cheerfully. “Sometimes he kicks off his sandals when he lectures.”

    If they had indeed offered that candidate the position, I can’t imagine that she would have accepted it.