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Amy Bishop, Tenure, and Disparate Impact
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February 16, 2010, 12:00 AM
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The latest school shooting is by Amy Bishop, a left-wing white female professor from Massachusetts, who was apparently shooting up her tenure committee because she was denied tenure at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her victims included three minority professors, (Gopi K. Podila, (an immigrant from Andhra Pradesh) Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, all dead) and two white ones—Joseph Leahy and staffer Stephanie Monticciolo, seriously wounded. A Hispanic named Luis Cruz-Vera was lightly wounded.

Given the nature of her politics and employment, she`s unlikely to be white racist, and the racial element is being more or less ignored. (See not being mentioned at all on this list of possible motives.)

Someone called Doctor Cleveland at Dagblog would like to see it played up: Not About Tenure. Seriously.

On the other hand, the media has had no interest at all in the question of race, although Bishop shot almost every non-white faculty member in the department. (She also shot and wounded two white victims, a professor and a staff member.) She killed both African-American professors in the department (one of whom was too junior to have had anything to do with Bishop`s tenure decision). She killed the department chair, who was ethnically South Asian. A Latino faculty member was wounded. There may only be two non-white faculty left in the department. Whether she intended it or not, Amy Bishop effected a racial purge of the Alabama Huntsville biology department. But the press isn`t interested in asking whether or not she intended it. Perhaps the question isn`t exotic enough.
I think what`s happening here is what`s called "disparate impact." When a white professor at an American university is denied tenure, the people on the committee that are shutting him or her out are likely to include "people of color."

That`s what affirmative action is all about.You get "affirmative" people on the tenure committee or the Human Resources Department, and they affirm more people like themselves, or if not exactly like themselves, at least different from white people.

So she probably wasn`t shooting them because they were black or Indian, but because they had denied her tenure.

And they had denied her tenure because...? Possibly because she was white. That`s really how  affirmative action works. There`s an extreme shortage of posts in academia, compared to the number of Ph.D`s out there.

That makes for a number of "Invisible Victims"—white associate professors who are denied tenure to make room for the minority candidate. That doesn`t mean, obviously, that she was in any way justified—most white people react to that kind of treatment by leaving academia and getting a real job.