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Mark Moyar: Complains he was discriminated against for his political views

Historians in the News




What does "diversity" mean at the University of Iowa?

Its nondiscrimination statement provides a roll call of categories: "The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination ... on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference." The listing is customary - except for the final entry. Most people haven't heard of "associational preference," and it never comes up in discussions of affirmative action, workplace harassment or other issues.

But last May the question did arise, and in response an officer in Iowa's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity named Jan Waterhouse clarified its meaning: "Associational preference within the University policy has been interpreted to include political affiliation."

So why, then, does the history department in the university have 27 registered Democrats and 0 registered Republicans? The most obvious political affiliation, party membership, falls completely on one side. Despite the sizable Republican population of Iowa, not a single representative has made it into the history faculty ranks.

Think of what would happen if other diversities suffered the same disparate outcome. A department of all men would spark an outcry, and rightly so. But nobody seems to worry about the political skew. Waterhouse's statement appears in a response to a complaint of discrimination on "associational preference" grounds filed by a candidate for a history post.

His name is Mark Moyar, a historian with an impressive record: bachelor's degree from Harvard, doctorate from Cambridge; two books, one with Cambridge University Press; laudatory recommendations from distinguished historians; and a growing record of public commentary in national periodicals. He is also a conservative, and his thesis about the Vietnam War - that it was a noble cause that could have triumphed had the United States supported its allies more vigorously - falls well on the right side of things.

When Moyar was passed over for the job and discovered that others selected for interviews had demonstrably inferior records, he assumed that political affiliation did indeed affect his candidacy. He asked the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity to investigate. The office concluded that there was no evidence that Moyar's application "was evaluated differently because of his political affiliation and/or conservative ideology."...
Read entire article at Mark Bauerlein in the Des Moines Register

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