Inside Higher Ed brings us the torrid story of how diversity politics is playing out at New Mexico Highlands University, based in Las Vegas, NM.
Now, it is Inside Higher Ed, so you'll have to do some between-the-lines reading and euphemism-translation to figure out what's going on. For example, the opening:
As the U.S. population grows increasingly brown, it is difficult to find a college official who isn't firmly in favor of striving for a diverse faculty.Ignoring the non sequitur, you'll have to figure out that this really means that very few college officials are interested in making hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions solely on academic work and professional qualifications.
At NMHU, that meant that when they were looking for a president a couple of years back, the five finalists for the position were, well, not really that "diverse":
From a pool of five Latino males, they selected Manny Aragon, a former New Mexico state senator. He had long been a political champion of higher education issues and was known for his familiarity and resonance with the Latino population, in particular.… and also had no experience in academic administration. But still, he was able to wangle a $165K salary, a house, a car, and what this writer calls a "slush fund." For a university with about 3500 students, that's not too shabby.
The idea was that Aragon was supposed to turn NMHU around from its recent history of declining enrollment, deficits, and accreditation problems. That didn't happen.
Instead, NMHU found itself censured by the American Association of University Professors for the dismissal of one professor and denial of tenure to another. Both identified as "white" by Inside Higher Ed. The dismissed prof has filed a federal lawsuit.
Earlier this year, NMHU paid a cool quarter-million dollars to settle a gender and racial discrimination suit filed by a former staffer (identified in the linked article as "Anglo").
And, perhaps not surprisingly, the Regents who hired President Aragon are now looking to dump him. To add to the misery index at the school, Aragon is refusing to go quietly. And (as I type) numerous New Mexico courts have gotten involved to tie the issue up in knots.
Interestingly enough, you won't find squat about any of this at the university's "News & Info" page (Although you'll find that the university's float won first prize at the Fourth of July Fiesta Parade in Las Vegas. Good for them.)
I rarely sermonize here, but: as long as educational institutions are willing to to put their thumbs on the scale, preferring some ethnic and racial groups over others in the name of "diversity," we'll continue to see this kind of sad story. Over and over again.