Look, we’ve all been there, and job hunting is absolutely zero fun. There is nothing more agonizing than waiting for a response from an application you filled out weeks ago or hearing, “we’re considering a lot of people and we’ll let you know” as you leave an interview.
What can be even worse, however, is happening across that perfect job posting in your search and coming across a line item in the description that disqualified you from even applying.
Usually, this is down to necessary skills and experience. No matter how much you may want that VP of Communications job you might need a bit more on the old resume than two semesters working at the campus library.
However, what about a job that you would never be qualified for? What about a job that your skills are perfectly qualified for, but your skin color isn't?
Whites Need Not Apply
This is the case that is drawing so much fire for the University of-of Louisville. The school posted an ad for a professor and they specifically said that the position can only be filled by an “African-American or Native American Indian.”
Now, this might be okay if the posting was for a professor for an African-American or Native-American specific class. A course of study in Native American history, for example, would be much more impactful to students if it were taught by someone with a personal connection to the subject.
However, the posting was for an assistant professor in the university’s physics and astronomy department.
University spokeswoman Cindy Hess told Inside Higher Ed that the posting was an "error" and that, "We did not intend to exclude any group or persons from applying for the position...we welcome all candidates from all backgrounds for all open positions."
The posting was taken down soon after the complaints were raised and will be reposted without the offending restriction.
How Is This Different From Affirmative Action?
The difference between this incident and typical affirmative action policies is that affirmative action is an organization’s slant towards increasing the diversity of a given group, not a blatant restriction.
An applicant’s race may give them an edge if a hiring manager is comparing two equally qualified candidates. But a person’s race can never be the sole reason they are considered, and it can never be the reason that a qualified person is barred from applying for a job they are perfectly qualified for.
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