In the age of diversity, the ideals of equity and inclusion are apparently more important than winning games
Just last week, the NCAA crowned its new men’s and women’s basketball champions. The Baylor Bears and Stanford Cardinal won their respective championships by winning games — but there appear to be some campus administrators that would be willing to hand out trophies for a more important metric: whether a team has a culture of diversity.
On April 7, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began its search for a new athletic director by posting an advertisement for potential candidates. Legendary AD Barry Alvarez, who first as football coach then as the athletic department’s top administrator, hoisted Wisconsin into national prominence, is retiring, leaving the powerful job open.
Of course, the public advertisement for the job is a joke — the school will likely target someone that has worked at a high level in an athletic department before, and the idea that a local insurance claims adjuster will see the job, apply, and get it is preposterous. Posting it publicly is simply a formality required by state law.
But the posting itself is interesting in what it claims to value. It begins with a cursory description of what the new AD’s duties will be, but then immediately launches into a more extensive discussion of how the new employee should uphold diversity within the program.
“Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison,” the notice reads. “We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.”
It goes on:
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.”
In the section relating to relevant work experience required, it says the new AD must have “Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
In the legalese at the end, the posting notes the University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, and that they “promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.”
At no point in the job description does it mention, y’know, actually fielding winning teams. The notice mentions the word “diversity” nine times, yet makes zero reference to a new AD being able to create a “culture of victory” within the department.
Of course, diversity is a good thing and any important administrator on campus should be willing to promote it. But the Wisconsin job notice makes it sound as if the new hire will be the new Dean of Diversity and Inclusion who happens to manage a $160 million dollar athletic department budget on the side.
Perhaps the desire to hire someone that can field winning teams is assumed, and therefore the school believes there is no need to mention it in the job description. But so is the desire to hire someone who treats people of all races equally and with dignity – only schools are now so horrified of the latter, they have to slather every public document in legalese to pacify the diversity police.
It would seem all these cogs would work together — a good AD will foment a diverse department where everyone is respected, and as a result, the teams win games and donors keep cutting large checks. Needless to say, if he or she doesn’t respect diversity, there will be a new job posting very soon.
IMAGE: Brook Ward/Flickr