Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Playing the "Gender Card" at Texas

One of the ugliest, and most unjust aspects, of recent turmoil at Texas is that allegations of gender discrimination have surfaced. "Patriotism" may still be the first refuge of scoundrels, but at least at the University of Texas School of Law, the demand for "gender equity" has taken on that role.

There are women on the Texas faculty who don't perform any institutional service or committee work, who barely publish, who publish but whose work isn't very highly regarded, and/or who are poor teachers. There are men who fit those descriptions too, unsurprisingly. And in looking over the public salary data, I am struck by how equitable the under-performing men and women are treated, with a few exceptions in both directions (and of both genders). By the way, that is what "gender equity" means: it means faculty are treated equally without regard to gender, not that women are paid as much as men, regardless of their job performance or scholarly reputation.

What makes the fact that this charge has surfaced against former Dean Sager so outrageous is that nearly half the tenure-stream appointments during his tenure were women (and more than half were women or minorities), a higher percentage than any of his predecessors managed. The two Associate Deans during his tenure were both women, one of whom is now the Interim Dean. Most of his senior administrative staff and assistant deans were women or minority men. Any responsible journalist can determine, with not very much digging that, whatever problems led President Powers to ask for Sager's resignation, gender inequities had nothing to do with it.

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