Free Speech

Can Tenure Reviewers' Names Be Sealed in Employment Discrimination Lawsuit Filings?

No, says a district court at first; yes, it says six days later. Always good to check the docket for follow-up orders, if you have the time.

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From EEOC v. Univ. of Miami, decided earlier this month by Judge Robert N. Schola, Jr. (S.D. Fla.):

In this employment discrimination case, the Plaintiffs Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions and Louis Davidson-Schmich allege that the University discriminated against Davidson-Schmich, a professor at the University, by paying her less than Dr. John Gregory Koger, another professor at the school…. During discovery, the University produced several documents regarding its salary recommendations and justifications for multiple faculty members, and documents regarding decisions to promote Davidson-Schmich and Koger.

In support of its motion for summary judgment, the University attached redacted versions of these documents, which it now seeks to file unredacted under seal (although the unredacted documents have not been filed and the Court has not reviewed them). …

The University moves to seal eleven documents which fall into the following categories: (1) salary analysis conducted by the University and salary information of current former tenure-track faculty members (non-parties), including performance assessments ("salary documents"); and (2) promotion and tenure files for Davidson-Schmich and Koger ("promotion and tenure documents"). With respect to the salary documents, the University argues that "publicly disclosing existing salary information for current faculty, the University could create a 'bidding war' for its professors." Also, that "these documents contain information regarding non-party professors to this case (beyond Dr. Davidson-Schmich and her alleged comparator, Dr. Koger), which should not have to be publicly disclosed simply because one member of the Department brought this lawsuit."

The University also contends that the promotion and tenure documents should be filed under seal to maintain the integrity of the promotion and tenure practice. The University explains that it solicits outside reviewers to opine on the quality of the candidate's research and that those recommendations are made with the expectation that they will remain anonymous….

With respect to the salary documents, the University argues that it would be at a competitive business disadvantage if the documents were disclosed as other universities may try to initiate a bidding war for professors. However, the University does not cite any binding authority allowing a trial court to seal salary information in an employment discrimination case due to potential business competition and has not sufficiently described the documents to allow the Court to make a determination of whether they should be sealed. [The court doesn't further discuss the non-party professors' privacy interests. -EV]

Likewise, the University's argument regarding the tenure and promotion documents is also unavailing. The integrity of the University's promotion and tenure process does not outweigh the public's common law right of access to judicial records. Indeed, without the benefit of reviewing the documents or an explanation of the process, the Court fails to see the importance of keeping the reviewer's identity or recommendations confidential. It is unclear whether these reviewers are also faculty members, whether it is an anonymous process, or what their interests in remaining anonymous are. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am. v. Barkley, No. 16-61768-CIV, 2017 WL 4875911, at *1 (S.D. Fla. June 2, 2017) (Altonaga, J.) (denying motion to seal documents in support of motion for summary judgment because the movant failed to explain the contents of the documents at issue and the privacy interests at issue or what injury will result); see also Regions Bank v. Kaplan, No. 8:16-cv-2867-T-23AAS, 2017 WL 11025768, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2017) (Sansone, J.) (denying motion to seal exhibits to summary judgment motion because "Defendants' blanket assertion that the subject exhibits contain confidential business or financial information is insufficient to show good cause for sealing the filings.")….

But six days later the court granted a motion for reconsideration, and allowed the tenure reviewers' names to be redacted:

On May 11, 2021, the Court denied in its entirety the University's motion to file certain exhibits under seal. In relevant part, the Court stated that the motion (and without the benefit of reviewing the unredacted documents at issue) did not show the University['s] interest in redacting the names of individuals involved in the promotion and tenure review process nor did it describe the process. The subject motion, which is unopposed, provides additional facts regarding that process and is supported by a sworn declaration.

Upon review of the new facts setting forth the University's interest in keeping those identities confidential, and considering that the parties agree those identities are not relevant for deciding the pending motion for summary judgment, the motion is granted. The University may redact only the names and employers of the third-party reviewers who provided confidential feedback during the promotion and tenure review process.

Which is a reminder: If you're relying on a federal district court case—especially one that isn't published in the print reporters—and you have the time, check the docket to see if the decision had been modified by a later decision, or even a later docket entry. Westlaw often doesn't show such amendments; and if you don't spot them, maybe the other side will, and you'll end up embarrassed.

NEXT: When Is It Burglary to Break Into a Home You Own, but Aren't Living in?

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  1. Note to employers. Hire a female. Hire a lawsuit. Hire a handicapped. Hire a lawsuit. Hire a gay. Hire a lawsuit. Hire a diverse. Hire a lawsuit. Hire a Democrat. Hire a lawsuit.

    The scumbag lawyer profession has markedly dropped the employability and the real employment of these highly competitive, high value workers.

    1. Your record player is broken, Behar.

      1. Go ahead, hire a handicapped, to show the world your virtue. Report on the result.

        1. “hire a handicapped”
          Adled Avian Asks for Appointment?

  2. In 2021, I find it disingenuous at best to claim that competing universities couldn’t find out what various professors are paid.

    Now as to legally doing this, perhaps not, but between what people self-report to professional associations, what is available from various data-scraping enterprises, and what can be gleaned from an illegal-but-prove-it credit check, my guess is that the head-hunter outfits can figure out what someone is currently being paid.

    1. “In 2021, I find it disingenuous at best to claim that competing universities couldn’t find out what various professors are paid.”

      That is likely true for employees of public universities but likely is not the case for private universities. One might find step and service levels but actual dolloar figures, not so easy.

      1. At a public university, it is a matter of public record and you just have to know how to look it up. (I once taped the salary numbers to the front of the student union…)

        But as to the privates, if one is willing to resort to legally questionable means, one still can’t get the figures?

        1. You taped the salaries in a public place? Man, you really are an unmitigated asshole. Impressive…it’s like–given a chance to be a jerk or not be a jerk–you make sure to be an asshole at every available opportunity.

          1. He once said he wanted to wear a mask with a swastika on it in public to own the libs. Yeah, unmitigated. Extremism tends to do that (all means are justified by the ever threatened end).

            1. sm and QA,
              You guys have said anything that I might have wanted to reply

          2. Why is that being a jerk? Public information is public.

            I once worked at a major municipality and there was a local gadfly who yearly submittedan FOIA request for salaries of all local public employees and posted it on his website. It was useful information, but HR and management wasn’t happy.

            But a funny thing happened after a few years and complaints of “equity” and that women and minorities didn’t negotiate their salaries aggressively enough. In Response HR now posts salaries of every city employee on it’s own website and prominently brings it to the attention of recruits and existing employees.

          3. “You taped the salaries in a public place? Man, you really are an unmitigated asshole. Impressive…it’s like–given a chance to be a jerk or not be a jerk–you make sure to be an asshole at every available opportunity.”

            Absolutely everyone, including the Chancellor himself, was surprised that six people (including the *loosing* basketball coach) were paid more than the campus chancellor.

            We were even more evil — we then proceeded to repeatedly publish the list in the conservative newspaper — and I think more copies were photocopied than we actually printed.

            Hey, it’s public information and we were just providing it to the public…

            1. Why do you make obvious lies up? There is zero possibility that the chancellor of a university was surprised to find out that the basketball coach was making more than him. (And of course you don’t have the foggiest idea what his reaction was.)

          4. “You taped the salaries in a public place? Man, you really are an unmitigated asshole…”

            What’s wrong with public discussion about public employee salaries? I mean, I get why public employees don’t like it, but doesn’t that come with the territory of getting paid taxpayer dollars?

  3. Wait, are you insinuating that outsider meddlers, like federal agencies, judges and maybe even jurors, should be able to second-guess academic decisions? How can non-experts presume to pass judgment on what experts have decided?

    1. It seems to me that I’ve heard that song before … and recently!
      What do judges know that Boards of Trustees don’t?

      1. After Billy Bulger’s performance at a Congressional hearing investigating the matter of his then fugitive brother Whitey, then-MA Governor Mitt Romney started appointing members of the UMass Board of Trustees for the explicit purpose of firing Bulger from the UM system presidency. That’s legal and no one made a secret of it.

        By contrast, a Governor can not (ethically/legally) obtain a promise to rule a certain way on a specific case from judicial nominees.

    2. The judge and jurors are not going to be asked to decided who’s academic work is better, instead they will be asked given the evaluations of experts and industry norms do relative pays make sense.

      The common sense idea that people educated, trained and with experience working in the same field as an applicant have a better shot at evaluating the applicant’s work in that field than people without those threatens Cal for some strange reason.

      1. I’ve had my work approved by credentialed and experienced people – I’m so glad I could clear up that confusion.

        I’d say that, at a *conservative* estimate, 90% of faculty-recommended appointments and promotions get either approved or unchallenged by trustees, judges, and jurors. It’s probably even more than that.

        Queenie is threatened at the idea that even one in ten of academic recommendations might get challenged as based on sex bias, racial bias, political bias, etc. So if either a negative *or positive* recommendation

        1. …is issued, there shouldn’t be any avenue of challenge by “non-experts.”

          Or maybe only alleged patriarchal decisions can be second-guessed, but political bias is insulated from review? It’s hard to keep track of your distinctions.

          1. There’s a law about ‘alleged patriarchal decisions.’ In enforcing the law you might be shocked to find that expertise and industry norms are deferred to quite a bit!

            1. Again, you think you have a unique insight in the idea of *generally* deferring to experts.

              1. Yeah, I said in our original debate that it was general, not absolute, so what’s your hill here?

                1. What hill? You talk about the importance of generally deferring to experts, and act indignant at the voices in your head who dissent from that broad concept.

                  1. What’s up with your original comment “are you insinuating that outsider meddlers, like federal agencies, judges and maybe even jurors, should be able to second-guess academic decisions? How can non-experts presume to pass judgment on what experts have decided?” if you’re just walking around here argeeing with everyone that expert judgements should generally be agreed with?

                    1. You seem all about deference to experts, but you allow for exceptions, yet from our previous conversation you seemed to think this was a unique insight on your part.

                      Even in this conversation:

                      “The common sense idea that people educated, trained and with experience working in the same field as an applicant have a better shot at evaluating the applicant’s work in that field than people without those threatens Cal for some strange reason.”

                      So I responded to your straw-manning and insults with some mockery and insult of my own. It’s the Internet, after all. Experts agree people call eac other mean things on the Internet.

                    2. “So I responded to your straw-manning and insults with some mockery and insult of my own. ”

                      You made your original comment before I was on this threat at all.

                      “You seem all about deference to experts, but you allow for exceptions”

                      I’m not sure you get it still. The ‘exceptions’ have to do with areas outside or irrelevant to the expertise of the experts.

                      “yet from our previous conversation you seemed to think this was a unique insight on your part. ”

                      It seemed like it was strange to you (and your opening comment here seemed to support that).

                    3. “The ‘exceptions’ have to do with areas outside or irrelevant to the expertise of the experts.”

                      Like discrimination?

                    4. “You made your original comment before I was on this threatd]at all.”

                      I had in mind your previous straw-manning, which I see you’re doubling down on.

                      You also have the curious idea that journalists should rule on historical matters and get the deference due to actual historians.

                    5. “The ‘exceptions’ have to do with areas outside or irrelevant to the expertise of the experts.”

                      Like discrimination?”

                      Yes. And that’s shown often (if not usually) using…expert opinion in the relevant area (for example, if you had someone who had won some of the most prestigious awards in their field, as recognized by experts in the field, and they were treated differently than someone who had not, then you could suspect discrimination.

                      “I had in mind your previous straw-manning,”

                      so you were responding here today to what I said in a different thread days ago even though I wasn’t on this thread then at all? Interesting.

                      “You also have the curious idea that journalists should rule on historical matters ”

                      No, now where do you get that? She was evaluated on her journalism work (which includes more than the 1619 Project but the latter is a well awarded piece of journalism [are the people from all those organizations in on the conspiracy too?]). You’re the one that wants to hold her to a standard of some mythical historian that never missed a source and always had every other historian agree they got their historical interpretations 100% correct.

                    6. “are the people from all those organizations in on the conspiracy too?”

                      I would have thought the relevant question was whether they are subject-matter experts in, let’s say, the American Revolution.

                      With all your discussion about all her other wonderful work, I hope you’re not losing your faith in the 1619 project – like I said below, there’s a new version coming out in November, when I’ll be happy to resume discussing it with you if you’re game.

                      And by that time, we will probably know the fate of the U. S. Department of Education’s “Proposed Priorities-American History and Civics Education,” which includes the following shout-out:

                      “[T]here is growing acknowledgement of the importance of including, in the teaching and learning of our country’s history, both the consequences of slavery, and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society. This acknowledgement is reflected, for example, in the New York Times’ landmark “1619 Project” and in the resources of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.”

                      https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/04/19/2021-08068/proposed-priorities-american-history-and-civics-education

                      It would be unfair to the author to show weakness and protest, “well, she did other stuff, too!” Not now, in your moment of triumph!

                    7. Actually, the matter of pay structure and relative level, has much less to do with letters from peers about academic achievement and relative status in the relevant academic peer community.
                      Rather, it should follow from a thorough review of personnel actions (including compensation) for at least several years preceding. Such a review would have little to do with letters of support from peers.
                      If Davidson-Schmich”s personnel file with HR does not support the history of salary actions, the the blame falls squarely on the Department chair and on whomever in the cognizant Dean’s office provides “two-step above” review.

                      As peers are typically asked to rank the candidate with respect to others in the field, writers usually demand confidentiality. In that sense the university’s position makes complete sense.

                    8. The matter of deference to experts is a red-herring in a compensation case.

        2. “I’d say that, at a *conservative* estimate, 90% of faculty-recommended appointments and promotions get either approved or unchallenged by trustees”

          It’s almost like there’s an industry norm reflecting a rather obvious logic such that when the odd decision at odds with it comes down it causes eyebrows to rightly raise…

          1. “common sense idea”

            “rather obvious logic”

            Do you have a degree in common sense and obvious logic? If not, why should I trust your purported expertise over that of a hiring committee made up of experts?

            Of course we should generally defer to experts – you claim to have some unique insight on this subject, but I’m not disputing this except in your fantasy world.

            In fact, I suspect that in the “disparate impact” context, I’m *more* deferential to expert judgment than you are.

            I would preserve the presumption of innocence for colleges and universities when they’re accused in court of discrimination, and outside jurors and judges are called in.

            (Trustees of course aren’t outsiders – or if they are, there should be a policy change designating them as such and stripping them of their powers. Also, nobody – whether a faculty panel or a group of trustees – is entitled to engage in illegal discrimination.)

            1. What’s the point of “Do you have a degree in common sense and obvious logic? If not, why should I trust your purported expertise over that of a hiring committee made up of experts?” if you’re going to then concede “Of course we should generally defer to experts?”

              “Trustees of course aren’t outsiders”

              I’m not sure that’s true, in fact to the extent it is not is often a feature not a bug imo. One thing you do need an outsider for is to judge decisions where faculty and administration don’t have expertise and might have some bias because of their situations in the institution.

      2. “they will be asked given the evaluations of experts and industry norms do relative pays make sense.”

        I’m not sure if I have the expertise to deconstruct that sentence, but it sounds like you’d like judges and juries to second-guess academic decisions about pay grades.

        1. Relative pay, such that if X has tenure folders with recommendations=to what Y has but is getting paid differently then once again eyebrows are properly raised. Nice try though!

          1. You’d permit Bob the Landscaper to get on a jury and make decisions about how to compare tenure folders?

            1. Expert witnesses, how do they work?

              I mean, what is your deal? Do you find it a true and strange mystery that, say, state law and medical boards are full of lawyers and doctors rather than landscapers?

              1. You are going off on these rants where you claim unique insight into the need to generally defer to experts, use expert witnesses, etc.

                You were triggered by one instance of my defending some non-academics who dared say “no” to academics. Apparently, my unwillingness to have 100% deference means I reject the idea of expertise, while *your* less than 100% deference is totally justified.

                1. Well, I explicitly said it should be a 100% deference, so who is ranting here?

                  1. Should or shouldn’t be 100?

                    1. Shouldn’t, I explicitly said that. My point, echoing Whittington’s, was that it’s such a common deference that when it is not followed people rightly find it fishy (especially when it doesn’t fall into certain widely recognized exceptions to the general tendency like when a board faces allegations of non-academic malfeasance, a budget crisis, etc., and please note I’ve read of nothing of this sort from the UNC Board).

                    2. “widely recognized exceptions”

                      Such as when, say, the faculty recommends a tenure appointment because they’re biased in favor of the candidate’s race, or sex…or *viewpoint*? That strikes me as an applicable exception.

                      Now, I have the idea that the faculty made their recommendation based on viewpoint discrimination, in that if this candidate wanted to promote a favorable review of the American Revolution, etc., she wouldn’t have been viewed so favorably.

                      I could of course be completely wrong. Perhaps the faculty would have recommended tenure just as promptly for a journalist whose work upheld the idea that the American Revolution was fought with good motives, and that the rising generation should be taught to admire the Founders.

                      But whatever the case, let’s not leave out “discrimination” from our list of exceptions.

                    3. So your view is that the political appointee, non-experts on the Board didn’t object to the quality of her work (which would have been difficult for them to do relative to the faculty) for political reasons but that the expert faculty wrongly evaluated the quality of her work for political reasons?

                      If I’m correct, given you recognize the obvious logic behind deference to experts would you be willing to concede that the presumption of which of those is likely correct probably cuts against you (that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just what I said).

                    4. Btw-the faculty and administration recommendations came with documented arguments about why she deserved tenure. Can you point me to the same from the board? And sans that would you then say that now there’s a presumption against them?

                    5. A presumption against the board?

                      I think it’s a “common sense idea,” with “rather obvious logic,” that deference to the faculty should be at a minimum where

                      (a) they’re journalists opining on the quality of historical work
                      (b) actual historians aren’t fully on board with her historical interpretations
                      (c) She admitted in an interview that she *should* have consulted subject-matter experts on the American Revolution, but didn’t – so *she* didn’t get input from relevant experts
                      (d) her response to criticism was to shout racism, not exactly a sign that she could endure criticism of her work or be fair to students who happen to dissent from her

                      …but by all means make this your test case, and we’ll see how it all shakes out.

                    6. “they’re journalists opining on the quality of historical work”

                      Are they? Or are they opining on the quality of a journalistic work about history? The two might be different things, right? (BTW-she also had four years of work at the Times before the 1619 project, she won an Emerson Fellow and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship for work pre-dating the 1619 project).

                      “actual historians aren’t fully on board with her historical interpretations”

                      That can be said about virtually any or at least many historians that makes anything like an important historical work. And it certainly could be said about many storied journalists, right?

                      “She admitted in an interview that she *should* have consulted subject-matter experts on the American Revolution, but didn’t – so *she* didn’t get input from relevant experts”

                      In one area, right? Again, I think this could be said about many very famous academic historians. And, again, she’s up for a journalism position. You don’t think this same thing could be leveled at many storied journalists?

                      “her response to criticism was to shout racism, not exactly a sign that she could endure criticism of her work or be fair to students who happen to dissent from her”

                      That was her one and only response? And, again, it’s quite common for very respected academics to attack critics of their work in this kind of way.

                      Again, you don’t think journalist professors knew all this? Or they knew and went against the standards of their professions because they just hate ‘Merica so much? But the brave, unbiased politically appointed Board stood up to them?

                      Also, I noticed you didn’t respond to me here: “Btw-the faculty and administration recommendations came with documented arguments about why she deserved tenure. Can you point me to the same from the board? And sans that would you then say that now there’s a presumption against them?”

                    7. ‘“they’re journalists opining on the quality of historical work”

                      ‘Are they? Or are they opining on the quality of a journalistic work about history?’

                      lol

                    8. Maybe she could have written a book about string theory, taking strong positions on which physicists disagree, get appointed by a sympathetic faculty committee – and voila! Instant deference because she wrote a journalistic work about string theory.

                    9. (sympathetic faculty committee of journalists)

                    10. The project that has you up in arms was literally described as a long form journalism project. It was about historical things but it wasn’t meant for a historical academic journal.

                    11. “wasn’t meant for a historical academic journal”

                      I should jolly well hope *not!*

                    12. “Maybe she could have written a book about string theory, taking strong positions on which physicists disagree, get appointed by a sympathetic faculty committee – and voila! Instant deference because she wrote a journalistic work about string theory.”

                      Ok, now I can say lol. You do know that that describes many highly praised science journalists, right?

                      And, again, what is your evidence that there was a ‘sympathetic faculty committee?’ Perhaps it was a ‘faculty committee that knows a lot more about the standards for academic journalism positions than Cal Cetin?’

                    13. Cal, I’m going to completely shock you now. Please don’t read this if you are in an unsteady state right now:

                      Some of the most praised sports journalists have been criticized by some well regarded athletes and coaches!

                      I hope no sympathetic faculty committees have recommended them for anything.

                    14. If these respected science journalists are doing good science, do they have the necessary scientific credentials, and if not, you realize that cuts *against* your credentialist ideas? It would also cut against *my* credentialist ideas, because I, too, think you need some kind of scientific training and background in the modern world to make contributions to the scientific discourse (as opposed to writing popularizing works).

                      Maybe there are still Renaissance (wo)men doing good science, in which case that cuts against both your assumptions and mine. But I’d be willing to accept your evidence even if it undermines both of us.

                    15. You’re cutting down the limb on which you’re sitting, if you’re promoting the idea that a nonpractitioner in a particular field of expertise can learn enough about the subject to write intelligently about it and to challenge practitioners.

                    16. OK, how about this: I’ll read The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story
                      by Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine and see if it’s the groundbreaking work of journalism (not history!) that it’s represented as being.

                      This is a concession on my part to the author, because presumably the new and improved version of her work will have been scrubbed of any *minor* errors which may have been contained in earlier versions.

                      So I’m bending over backwards here to give the author the benefit of any doubt, and once I’ve read her new and improved 1619 project I’ll get back to you.

                      Unfortunately, Amazon tells me it will be at least until November that I’ll be able to get my copy.

                      So I’ll leave the topic for now, and maybe we can return to it in November.

                      So long for now!

                    17. “If these respected science journalists are doing good science, do they have the necessary scientific credentials, and if not, you realize that cuts *against* your credentialist ideas?”

                      No, you still don’t get it. They are not doing good science, they are doing good *science journalism.* And they have good science credentials (including awards from journalist associations [especially ones that specialize in science journalism]).

                      This comes down to this: you don’t have the experience, education or credentials in the relevant field that the UNC faculty, the people who award the Mcarthur and Pulitizer and Emerson and etc., awards, have. Neither does the Board. Now, you concede that generally, deference to experts in the relevant field is the norm for good reason.

                      So here are two possible alternatives: one is that Cal Cetin, a certainly politically interested non-expert, and the politically pointed non-expert board, are correct that the quality of the woman’s work was disqualifying for tenure, or that the UNC faculty/administration that made the recommendation as well as all the committees of people from the various organizations in the field who awarded all those honors are correct that the quality of her work was actually qualifying for tenure.

                      I know which alternative I think is more likely.

                      I’ll leave you the last word here.

                    18. “And they have good science credentials ”

                      Should read they have good science journalism credentials.

                    19. “I’ll leave you the last word here.”

                      And I’ll give it right back to you:

                      “experts in the relevant field”

                      …which is journalism, not history. You want to defer to journalists on a historical question, and no amount of word-splitting can get around that fact.

                      “So here are two possible alternatives: one is that Cal Cetin, a certainly politically interested non-expert, and the politically pointed [sic] non-expert board, are correct that the quality of the woman’s work was disqualifying for tenure, or that the UNC faculty/administration that made the recommendation as well as all the committees of people from the various organizations in the field who awarded all those honors are correct that the quality of her work was actually qualifying for tenure.”

                      There is also a third possibility, that a bunch of journalists are not subject-matter experts on the origins of the American Revolution, that they may indeed be (if that were possible) as ignorant of the subject as you are, and that no amount of disingenuous hair-splitting about the difference between a historical work and a journalistic work about history should be able to shield them from having their dubious recommendations thoroughly vetted.

                    20. Your author has said at various times either that the 1619 project says 1619 is America’s true founding, and that the 1619 Project does *not* make 1619 the true founding.

                      https://reason.com/2020/09/23/1619-project-nikole-hannah-jones-1776-founding-race-new-york-times/

                      Either your author has revolutionized the field of philosophy by abolishing the law of noncontradiction, or she has made false statements about the whole purpose of her 1619 project.

                      I’ll leave you to grasp one horn of the dilemma, or the other.

                    21. “So here are two possible alternatives: one is that Cal Cetin, a certainly politically interested non-expert, and the politically pointed non-expert board, are correct that the quality of the woman’s work was disqualifying for tenure, or that the UNC faculty/administration that made the recommendation as well as all the committees of people from the various organizations in the field who awarded all those honors are correct that the quality of her work was actually qualifying for tenure.”

                      Well, what do consumers of journalism think? Do readers read her articles and think, boy, I am much more informed after reading her work? Or do some consumers think, wow, that really confirmed my biases, while others think, wow, that’s a bunch of propaganda?

                      It’s certainly possible that, in a field where the “experts” are stacked a certain way politically, that they might be subject to political bias in a way that non “experts” aren’t.

                      It sounds like the trustees made the right call, saving the faculty from their own crappy decision.

          2. QA,
            In any merit based system there will be pay differentials that evolve with time. Most though not all, give salary increments for administrative duties. Many though not all, remove those increments when the administrative assignment is over. How that contributes to a pension base varies.

            Comparing the present salaries of to professionals without a detail scrutiny of past raises and bonuses make little sense in equity. In the end what is justifiable to pay with respect to the value of the professional’s contribution to the institution or enterprise.
            Differences should not cause any experienced executive’s eyebrow to move a bit.

      3. “The common sense idea that people educated, trained and with experience working in the same field as an applicant have a better shot at evaluating the applicant’s work in that field than people without those threatens Cal for some strange reason.”

        That’s generally true, but not 100% true. And if stakeholder’s can’t second-guess experts, then the expert will work in their own interests, and not the stakeholders.

  4. When higher ed implodes — FY-2026 if not sooner — we’re going to see a LOT of this.

    Remember too that “financial exigency” and “lack of need” are two grounds for termination in spite of tenure (with “moral turpitude” being the third). I can see Red State legislatures mandating the outright elimination of the “Studies” departments and related courses.

    So unless the Women’s Studies professor can teach Freshman Calculus, she’ll be out of a job and can scream discrimination to her heart’s content because the institution needs someone to teach Calculus and she doesn’t know it.

    1. You do know that Women’s Studies profs are usually specialist in more traditional academic fields (like economics, history, etc.,) whose work specializes in topics dealing with women (like wage gaps, history of women, etc.,), right?

      Well, probably you don’t, so there’s that.

      1. Do they have Doctorates in economics or history?

        Are they qualified to teach the freshman courses in economics or history?

        More important, are they *needed* to teach those courses when other professors are already doing that…

        And this is all based on what you purport being valid. I don’t consider some ideological study of purported wage gaps to be legitimate economics, nor history of women to be real history.

        1. “Do they have Doctorates in economics or history?

          Are they qualified to teach the freshman courses in economics or history? ”

          Yes and yes. How do you not know this ‘Dr’ Ed?

          “I don’t consider…history of women to be real history.”

          Yes, women sprang into existence from the brow of Zeus just this morning.

          1. You are the very person who would say that ignoring half of humanity is problematic….

    2. “When higher ed implodes — FY-2026 if not sooner — we’re going to see a LOT of this.”
      Ed, your on the hobby horse again cutting off blood to your gonads

    3. “So unless the Women’s Studies professor can teach Freshman Calculus, she’ll be out of a job ”
      Horse hockey.
      And I don’t expect the professor of Elizabethan literature or of moral philosophy to be able to teach the calculus course either

      1. Elizabethan literature is going to get cut as well….

        1. And education departments. There’s a worthless bunch.

        2. It will last longer than departments of “education”

    4. Not sure if you have seen the numbers on which classes get the most students to sign up for them but as much as it pains me to say it Freshman Calculus is not even in the also rans for popularity. Last I saw both University of Florida and Florida State University had full 1/3 of freshmen students taking remedial math and remedial English. The remedial math course was needed so students could enroll in the required New Math for Remedial Math graduates. In case you have not been aware old school math (like Freshman Calculus) is racist since it requires right answers.

      The college of social sciences in many universities account for 50% or more of the enrolled students. Most STEM students are not native born and even massive programs to get more women and native born minorities are viewed as failures.

      Bottom line is universities have been turned into a baby sitting service for kids who are not capable of getting a productive job with no real effort to make sure when they graduate they have skills that would make them productive members of society.

    5. “So unless the Women’s Studies professor can teach Freshman Calculus…”

      Don’t worry, they’re turning Freshman Calculus into Women’s Studies as we speak.

  5. “Ed, your on the hobby horse again cutting off blood to your gonads”

    Never heard that one before but it made me lol, thanks.

  6. Of course, since a district court decision is only relevant to the extent its analysis is persuasive, it really shouldn’t matter whether the same judge changed his mind later.

  7. I think what this shows in practice is that a motion to seal has to be limited in its scope, specific in its facts and clear in its arguments. If it has all three, it has a chance of succeeding.

    It appears the university’s initial motion to seal was more conclusory, and its second was more specific and detailed.

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