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University smacked down for banning men from applying for academic jobs

Didn’t even try to justify this ‘drastic’ step

I thought Mark Perry, the University of Michigan-Flint economist who files regulatory complaints against anti-male university programs in America, had found some crazy examples of bias.

Then someone showed me what was going on in the Netherlands.

Eindhoven University of Technology banned all men from applying for all academic jobs for 18 months in a blatantly illegal bid to raise the percentage of female academics (in this case, scientists). The Dutch College voor de Rechten van de Mens, an “independent administrative body” that serves as a human rights council, said it violated the country’s law on “equal treatment,” the English-language DutchNews reports.

Though the ruling is not legally binding, it “can be used as evidence in any eventual court case,” according to the news outlet. The Dutch antidiscrimination nongovernmental organization RADAR said last fall it had received nearly 50 complaints about the Eindhoven policy.

The illegal plan was put into place a year ago:

If a vacancy fails to attract suitable candidates within six months, it is opened up to men. Female newcomers are also given an extra starter package, including €100,000 which they can use for their own research and a special mentoring programme.

MORE: University bans men from applying for jobs

It didn’t even make distinctions between parts of the university with few female academics and those without a shortage of women, the council noted. Eindhoven could have taken the approach that Delft University used several years ago, creating several female-only jobs and explaining “why such preferential treatment was necessary for these specific functions,” but it didn’t.

A translated version of the council’s announcement of its verdict says the university gave “almost absolute priority” to women in violation of European Court of Justice case law. Such a “preference policy must be in proportion to the goal of more female scientists” and must explain why “this goal cannot be achieved by means of less discrimination.”

The council gives the university several tips on how get more women in the door without, you know, telling men explicitly they can’t apply. They sound like common practices in American universities:

Organize the recruitment and selection procedures in such a way that gender stereotypes are less likely to work through in the selection of personnel. … Internal career development and coaching programs for women by more experienced colleagues … Think of reserving training and research money for female scientists. This makes it more attractive for a faculty or research institute to attract them.

The university’s English-language response to the ruling shows no hint of apologizing to men for banning them from jobs for the past year. Eindhoven “remains committed to improving its gender balance” and is “studying the findings” so that it can “reassess its approach to improve the gender balance in its faculty.”

President Robert-Jan Smits said the illegal program was “very effective,” resulting in 48 women hired as faculty. It will keep pursuing its “unaltered” goal of 30 percent female faculty within five years. The university justified blatant sex discrimination on the grounds that its failure to draw women before this “drastic” step (as the council called it) was “unfair to women” and “hurts science.”

You know what else hurts science? Banning qualified people from applying for science jobs based on their genitals.

MORE: Public university opens girls-only STEM camp to boys to resolve investigation

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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