Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Privileged Piss Money Away And Daddy Pays Hush Money

I've never been a big fan of University Counsel or, more specifically, the office. The folks employed in those offices represent the University but serve at the pleasure of the folks who may screw up from time to time and would prefer to make sure there is no publicity. The conflict of interest is obvious and since the goals of the university are so ill-defined my money is that they protect people.

But that is not my complaint here. This one goes deeper to illustrate how universities protect the privileged from their obvious misdeeds and then stick taxpayers with the bill.

So consider this scenario which is based on fact (not as some movies say "inspired" by actual events whatever that means). Suppose a person is being considered for a faculty position. At my school that means a vote. If it is positive by a substantial margin the dean makes an offer. A little less than substantial and the dean has discretion.

At this point I need to ask you to make two assumptions. They are only necessary to protect those to whom I promised anonymity. First, assume the candidate is black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, male, female.  Pick your favorite combination. Now assume that not hiring the person or hiring the person because he or she is that combination is illegal.

Now further suppose (not assume) that before or during the votes people say (in code or just bluntly) they will not vote for the person because of those characteristics. This could be in email, or orally in the faculty lounge or, more likely, by people sneaking around door to door.

Ok, I lied, (comes with the training) I need one more assumption. The person gets a negative vote from the faculty or one that is so close that the dean cannot make an offer or will not because it would displease the people he or she is most afraid of.

The candidate gets wind of the fact that the vote may have been tainted by consideration of illegal factors. She makes some noise about consulting an attorney. Next thing you know she is cashing a big fat check and signing a confidentiality agreement which is a fancy term for hush money.

What is wrong  here? The people who actually broke the law or were reckless enough that University Officials preferred to write a check and keep it quiet walk away completely sheltered by the University. In most cases they do not even know that daddy took care of them because they have been unaccountable all their lives. They think it is great sport for the clerk at the convenience store -- you know the single mom, with 3 kids who needs dental care and a car that needs a battery -- to pay for their gossip, fun, lack of concern, and lack of courage.

BTW, please spare me any argument about the courage of these people. If they stood up and opposed the law -- as in civil disobedience -- that is a different matter. I have yet to see a law professor show any courage that meant actually taking a risk.


Anonymous said...

As I have mentioned in my blog, the function of counsels, affirmative-action officers and ombduspeople is not to ensure that justice, scholarship or the greater good is served. Rather, it is to protect the university from anything that will negatively impact its reputation and financial standing.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Sadly, I think it is even worse. At least if it were about reputation and financial standing it would not be solely about protecting university officials as it seems to be,