Race, Gender, and Ethnic Preferences

A 2001 Survey of University of Delaware Faculty

By the Delaware Association of Scholars (DAS)

April 2002

 
Report
|| Summary || Background || Procedures ||
||Results: Overall || By Political Orientation || By UD College || Conclusions || Further Information ||

Announcements
|| Letter to UD Faculty and Administrators ||

Summary

A large majority of full-time UD faculty in this 2001 survey believes that the University grants race, sex, and ethnic preferences in faculty employment, but that it should not. Even liberal faculty tend to disapprove of preferences in faculty employment.

The faculty are somewhat less certain about whether UD grants preferences in student admissions, but most believe that it does. More liberal faculty disapprove than approve of preferences in admissions.

One in six UD faculty believes that race and sex preferences have lowered both faculty and student quality at UD. About one in eight believes that preferences have improved quality.

UD faculty opposition to race and gender preferences is nearly the same as that recorded three years ago and somewhat higher than that recorded in 1996 among faculty nationwide. UD faculty continue to be much more likely than the earlier national sample was, however, to report that preferences have degraded faculty and student quality.

Two in five UD faculty approve benefits for both gay and unmarried heterosexual partners, while approximately one in seven approves benefits for gay but not heterosexual partners. More than one in three disapproves benefits for any unmarried partners.

Background

A survey for the National Association of Scholars by the Roper Center made news in 1996 when it revealed that "a vast majority" of university faculty nationwide opposes race and sex preferences. Many university administrations, however, defended such preferences and continue to do so.

The Delaware chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has advocated preferences in faculty employment, but has refused to poll its members to determine whether they approve such preferences and want their union to encourage their use at UD.

In 1998, after some faculty expressed concern to the Delaware Associations of Scholars (DAS) that the University grants such preferences and that the preferences violate both civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution, DAS polled full-time UD faculty to determine whether they believe that the University grants preferences in faculty employment and student admissions, and whether they approve such practices.

Although the 1998 UD results were even more disapproving of preferences than the national Roper results, the UD chapter of the AAUP proposed that UD adopt an explicit race-based hiring policy. Under the AAUP's proposed policy, departments should hire their first choice and a short-listed minority (but only a minority) if the first choice is not a minority. In April, 2001, The News Journal reported that the UD administration supported the policy, and in May, 2001, the AAUP announced, "For the first time, the Administration publicly agreed to such a plan".

Prior to the recent contract negotiations with the University, the AAUP announced that it would press the University for domestic partner benefits for gay faculty. As with race-based hiring, the AAUP did not survey its members to determine whether they support such benefits.

Procedures

On November 26, 2001, DAS mailed a survey on race and gender preferences and on domestic partner benefits to all full-time faculty at the University of Delaware. The survey included six questions on race and gender preferences that had been administered to 800 faculty nationwide in the 1996 Roper/NAS survey. DAS added one question on domestic partner benefits. Copies of the questionnaire and cover letter are available on the DAS website.

As in 1998, the UD Graphic Communications Center provided address labels for all full-time faculty and carried out the actual mailing.

In 1998, 157 of 790 faculty returned the survey, for a return rate of about 20%. In 2001, 198 out of 1054 full-time faculty returned the survey, for a return rate of about 19%. Much of the one-third increase in full-time faculty between 1998 and 2001--from 790 to 1054--resulted from the conversion of non-faculty, professional lines to non-tenure-track faculty lines. In 1998, slightly more than 18% of the full-time faculty were non-tenure track. In 2001, the percentage jumped to almost 25%, as more professionals were converted to faculty.

The sharp increase in the percentage of non-tenure track faculty has had two likely effects on the survey. First, it has probably depressed the overall rate of return. Only one of the 113 non-tenure track full-time instructors returned the survey. (Approximately 130 assistant professors are also non non-tenure track full-time faculty.) Second, the high number of professional converted to non-tenure track full-time faculty is likely to have increased the percentage of respondents who say they "don't know" about faculty hiring or student admission practices.

Two in five respondents were full professors, while about a quarter each were associate and assistant professors.


||Results: Overall || By Political Orientation || By UD College || Top ||

Overall results





||Results: Overall || By Political Orientation || By UD College || Top ||

Results by political orientation

Faculty were asked which political orientation best describes them: liberal, moderate, conservative, or don't know/other. Where the groups' responses clearly differ, the major distinction is between liberals and all others, as it was in 1998.



#7) The AAUP favors benefits for domestic partners of homosexuals. With regard to benefits for gay domestic partners, I feel there should be:
2001 UD
Liberal
Moderate
Conser-
vative
Don't Know
Total
  • No benefits for either
  • No benefits for gay partners
  • Benefits for gay but not heterosexual
  • Benefits for both
  • Undecided
  • No opinion
(N)
14%
  0
19
61
  2
  3
(62)
41%
  1
11
29
15
  1
(80)
81%
  3
  3
  9
  3
  0
(32)
10%
  0
26
63
  0
  0
(19)
36
  1
14
39
  7
  2
(196)  


||Results: Overall || By Political Orientation || By UD College || Top ||

Results by college at UD

Sample sizes are small for all but the largest college, Arts and Science, rendering detailed comparisons unwise. However, several conclusions seem warranted.


2001 UD
Faculty Employment Student Admissions
Formal Informal Don't Know Formal Informal Don't Know (N)
  • Arts & Science
  • Agric. & Nat. Res.
  • Business & Economics
  • Engineering
  • Health & Nursing
  • Hum.Serv., Educ.& Pub.Pol.
  • Marine Studies
  • Total
19%
20%
46%
21%
  7%
33%
25%
24%
45
30
33
50
50
33
38
40
22
40
17
  7
43
33
38
27
20
25
42
21
14
39
38
26
33
25
33
36
36
12
25
29
38
45
17
29
50
42
12
36
  (85)
  (20)
  (24)
  (14)
  (14)
  (27)
   ( 8)
(196)
Note: Percentages do not add to 100% because percent responding "No preferences" is not included in the table.

1998 UD
Faculty Employment Student Admissions
Formal Informal Don't Know Formal Informal Don't Know (N)
  • Arts & Science
  • Agric. & Nat. Res.
  • Business & Economics
  • Engineering
  • Health & Nursing
  • Hum.Serv., Educ.& Pub.Pol.
  • Marine Studies
  • Total
18%
  8%
56%
23%
13%
38%
60%
25%
60
58
39
54
63
63
20
56
12
17
  0
  8
25
  0
  0
10
26
33
56
31
  0
31
40
30
30
25
22
38
25
38
20
30
35
17
22
  8
75
31
20
31
  (82)
  (12)
  (18)
  (13)
   ( 8)
  (16)
   ( 5)
(155)
Note: Percentages do not add to 100% because percent responding "No preferences" is not included in the table.
||Results: Overall || By Political Orientation || By UD College || Top ||

Conclusions

The 2001 DAS survey reveals pervasive opposition among fulltime faculty to UD's granting race, sex, and ethnic preferences. This opposition pervades virtually all groups examined, regardless of college or political orientation. Faculty more often favor race and sex preferences in student admissions than in faculty employment, but the survey revealed no pockets of strong support for either practice.

A majority of groups in all colleges reports that UD actually does grant preferences, usually as the result of informal rather than formal policies and procedures. Nonetheless, a quarter believe that the preferences are supported by formal institutional policy. There is a pervasive perception among faculty, then, that UD is carrying out policies of which its faculty disapprove. The AAUP's encouragement of such policies clearly contravenes the wishes of UD faculty. The 2001 survey thus reveals the same disjunction between advocacy of the AAUP and the wishes of UD faculty as did the same survey in 1998.

The opposition to preferences goes much deeper than mere partisanship because even liberals tend to oppose them. The high consistency of faculty perceptions across different colleges and political orientations suggests that preferences may, in fact, be routinely granted at UD. This possibility warrants serious investigation.

Overall, while a sizeable percentage disapprove of benefits for any unmarried domestic partner, more than half the faculty favor benefits for gay partners and almost 40% favor them for all unmarried partners. At the same time, unlike for preferences, the split between approval and disapproval is sharply skewed according to political orientation, with liberals clearly at odds with moderates and conservatives.

Further Information

Questions may be directed to Jan H. Blits, DAS President.
(302) 831-1649
c/o DAS, 130 Willard Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

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© URL=http://www.udel.edu/DAS/survey2002/index.html
Published April 5, 2002