Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Thicker Account of the Windsor Kerfuffle

On Friday I reported the news that a failed finalist for the University of Windsor law deanship is now claiming discrimination.  I'm sure we'll never get to the bottom of things, but there is a bit more to report.  First, Emily Carasco's formal complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is here.

Second, it turns out that Professor Carasco has had an ongoing contentious relationship with her home institution.  In particular, in the late 1980's, she battled the university over pay imbalances for women faculty.  She documented this fight in A Case of Double Jeopardy: Race and Gender, published in a 1992 issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law.  (She may not have won many friends on the Windsor faculty by implying that her application for Associate Dean, in 1990, was unjustly rejected because she fought for racial and gender justice.  And that the faculty is filled with liberals who don't recognize their own bias.)  In 1998-99 she applied for promotion to full professor.  Her application was opposed by the Faculty of Law.  Upon appeal to the University Committee on Promotion, the decision was reversed and her application was granted.  In 2007, she successfully convinced a divided faculty to end its practice of cancelling classes for the Jewish High Holidays - arguing that although the faculty couldn't end the statutory preference for Christian holidays, it oughtn't give preference to Judaism over other religions.  (In this particular battle, she was strongly opposed by Professor Richard Moon - the person she alleges tanked her deanship battle by pointing to prior claims of plagiarism.)

Emily Carasco might be at the vanguard of progressive change at University of Windsor.  But at this point in history, she seems to be crosswise with her own faculty.  After all, the law faculty as a whole  - not simply Professor Moon - voted down her candidacy.  [See update below.] In most cases, that is, and should be, determinitive.  Windsor might benefit from a dean with Carasco's outlook on the world, but it appears that Carasco won't be the one to take take them to the promised land.

Update: A reader points out that Carasco never came to a vote before the faculty as a whole, but was instead voted down  by the search committee.


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