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Why doesn’t Eastern’s hiring practice match its curriculum?

“Faith, Reason and Justice.” We’ve all heard this motto time and time again at Eastern. In fact we spend a whole semester studying these important principles in INST270.

But does Eastern University really follow its own mission statement?

In INST270, the concept of “tokenism” is a vital portion of the curriculum. For those who have yet to take INST270, or merely forget the definition (as I did), the definition of tokenism, according to Answers.com is, “The policy of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration.”

Basically, in terms of equal opportunity employment or affirmative action, minorities are rewarded jobs in order to make an organization appear diversity-minded, while in actuality these hires doing nothing to change the racial or social inequalities in an organization or company.

So here’s where my story begins. Late one night, out of sheer boredom, I started to browse the Eastern website. Eventually, I found myself at the job listings section and I started to read the job descriptions. I found something very peculiar. Some of the job listings said, “Minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply,” while some did not. I wondered why minorities were “particularly encouraged to apply” for certain jobs and not others. I set out to find a correlation.

I looked at all the job listings to see which ones included the minority statement. Some of the listings were for education chair, educational leadership professor, biokinetics professor, senior instructor in marketing, senior instructor in finance and senior instructor in economics. But the two administrative assistant jobs, the office manager job, the electrician job and the assistant athletic trainer job all did not “encourage” minorities to apply.

What does this say about Eastern’s hiring practices?

It seems to me that all the “high profile” jobs (chairs, professors, etc.) are searching for minority candidates, while the support staff jobs (secretaries, electricians, etc) can go to anybody.

If Eastern is trying to create a diverse and multi-cultural workforce, shouldn’t that policy be applied to all job listings? People of all colors should be equally considered for all jobs. Anything else is a dangerous flirtation with tokenism.

Even though the support staff may never have their photo in Eastern’s Spirit magazine or have their work published, they still should be able to be a part of a diverse workforce.

If Eastern is truly concerned about equality and “Faith, Reason and Justice,” equal hiring practices should be applied to all jobs. Tokenism is superficial and, in the end, will just reinforce racial stereotypes.

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