Ohio State University’s (OSU) plans to employ 100 people from “underrepresented” groups as part of a social and racial justice initiative violates both its own policy of non-discrimination and federal civil rights laws, an economics professor says.
The RAISE initiative, which stands for race, inclusion, and social equity, was announced by OSU President Kristina Johnson in her first State of the University address in February. In the speech, Johnson said the public university’s current mission is to hire a minimum of 350 new tenure-track faculty—150 of whom will come from the new social justice-focused initiative.
The initiative will “include the goal of 100 underrepresented and BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) hires in all fields of scholarship,” Johnson said of the university’s hiring plans.
The remaining hires will be “scientists, artists, and scholars whose work addresses social equity and racial disparities in fields such as health care, education, justice and public safety, resources and the environment, the arts and creative expression, economic opportunity, and leadership,” she said.
While OSU dubs the initiative as helping to “ensure equity in terms of pay, promotions, and career advancement for women and underrepresented minorities,” Mark Perry, finance and business economics professor at the University of Michigan, told The Epoch Times that it violates two federal civil rights laws.
If OSU hires 100 underrepresented and black, Indigenous, and people of color by discriminating in favor of those groups, and by discriminating against faculty candidates who don’t meet those criteria, it would be violating both its own policy of non-discrimination and federal civil rights laws, specifically Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Perry said.
Title IX prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, while Title VI prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
“It’s my opinion that OSU would be in violation of federal civil rights laws if they make hiring decisions for the RAISE initiative by giving preferences to faculty candidates on the basis of sex, color, race, ethnicity, etc.,” Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Epoch Times.
Perry said that OSU is already under federal investigation by the Office for Civil Rights “for its discriminatory practices,” over nine single-sex, female-only programs that followed after he filed a complaint in July 2019, and subsequently in October last year.
He said he also believes, based on calculations he made from publicly available salary data, that if 150 faculty members were hired under RAISE, it could cost about $23.6 million a year.
OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
James Moore, chief diversity officer and vice provost for diversity and inclusion, has praised the move as an “opportunity for the university to produce a groundswell in terms of diversifying the faculty.”
“Diverse faculty attracts diverse students,” Moore said. “People gravitate to people who share similar experiences. And sometimes, those experiences are deeply connected to race, gender, geography, religion—a whole number of things.”
OSU has a long history of violating federal civil rights laws by operating at least 20 programs that discriminate on the basis of sex, color, and race in violation of Titles VI and IX, said Perry.
“Either OSU is unaware of federal civil rights laws or it thinks it’s above the law; either way, it’s a sad indictment of OSU’s practices of brazenly violating the civil rights of thousands of its students, staff, and faculty,” the professor added. “So the fact that OSU’s RAISE initiative will continue its longstanding tradition of violating Title VI and Title IX shouldn’t be too surprising.”