Colorado to Resume Graduate Admissions (updated)


The Department of Philosophy at the University of Colorado will resume admissions to its graduate program for the 2015-16 academic year. Admissions had been suspended last year following the site visit report of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women (previously). From the university press release:

The move follows the enactment of reforms and changes begun last November across 10 major areas to address issues of discrimination, harassment and a combative work culture that previously existed inside the department…. Over the course of the last nine months, the department’s faculty “had willingly participated in numerous facilitated department workshops, as well as activities and exercises to build the culture. They also took many other measures to address issues of harassment and discrimination, create a more positive and inclusive workplace, and improve instruction of and interaction with students at all levels.” 

A statement from graduate students in the department was included in the press release:

“As the graduate student representatives to the Climate Committee, we are pleased that the philosophy department has taken the necessary steps to reopen graduate admissions. We hope that this development will encourage even more progress towards improving our department’s climate. We would like applicants to know that there are already practices in place to support incoming students. Specifically, we intend to work with other graduate students, other members of the climate committee, and departmental and university leadership to enhance and to strengthen several current mentorship programs wherein incoming graduate students, as well as undergraduates, are paired with faculty and senior graduate students. We are committed to helping incoming students integrate into the academic and social life of the department.” 

The university released a list of reform measures taken in the department along with the press release.

UPDATE (10/16/14): The Daily Camera has an article on this story, with some review of the main issues and quotes from some of the parties involved, here.

guest
6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
concerned
concerned
7 years ago

I am a friend of several CU alumni. I’ve heard that many of the graduate students there are unaware of the fact that the allegations of really awful faculty misconduct extend back many years — and also that many of the students are planning to attend a November meeting in support of the professor who the university is considering firing for taking it upon himself to “investigate” the handling of allegations of sexual assault. Some CU alum are afraid to speak up, out of fear of retaliation within the profession. I’m concerned that, although progress has no doubt been made, the problems are far from over. Does anyone know whether and how the student who was allegedly sexually assaulted has been supported by the department? If the “investigating” professor is retained, how would the department prevent that from having a negative impact on the allegedly assaulted student?Report

Anon
Anon
Reply to  concerned
7 years ago

I share your concerns but am unsure of the answers. I am also concerned that we have a culture such that those with significant and relevant understanding feel they cannot share their views without fear of retaliation.Report

anon
anon
7 years ago

At the very end of the list of reforms, they describe one of their new hires as ‘a female faculty member.’ I get it, they’re trying to hire women, and I’m glad they have, but this wording made me cringe. It’s in the vein of ‘woman artist’, ‘female composer’, or, what is nowadays almost unheard of, ‘female doctor’ or ‘woman lawyer.’ You would *never* say (I hope) ‘we’ve hired so-and-so, a black faculty member.’

Though I’m sure this was not the intention of the author of this document, the ‘female’ qualifier has the function of making this person seem somehow a special or exceptional kind of faculty member (and not in a good way). Better to leave off that qualifier altogether.Report

anon p
anon p
Reply to  anon
7 years ago

“You would *never* say (I hope) ‘we’ve hired so-and-so, a black faculty member.’”

Many philosophy departments might say that — if they actually hired one (in which case, the occasion for saying it would be remarkable). How do we know this? Because they routinely say that they did NOT hire one — supposedly because no “qualified” enough black person could be found due to “the pipeline problem.” Such claims can sometimes be found online, in documents submitted to a public university’s “equal opportunity” office. Of course, that such claims are commonly made is not news within philosophy departments.

Also routinely said is that whatever impolitic thing would never be said about blacks. This is a tedious and insidious meme — given the misleading assumptions it betrays and misimpressions it sustains. Some people need to stop reflexively using blacks as the go-to contrast case of how other groups would not be mistreated.Report

anon2
anon2
Reply to  anon
7 years ago

I think you’re right in general, but I also think the criticism may be misapplied in this instance. Imagine the following exchange:
“Okay, Colorado, tell us – what have you done to resolve the gender issue in your department?”
“Well, among other things, we’ve hired a new faculty member, whose research combines philosophy and psychology.”

That doesn’t really answer the question.The gender of the new hire seems relevant in this context.Report

anon
anon
7 years ago

let’s hope they’ve actually gotten their shit together.Report