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Sun Jul 12, 2020, 06:28 AM

Black, brown faculty air grievances with UA Little Rock chancellor

Members of the Black and Brown faculty committee at UA Little Rock met virtually with UA Chancellor Christina Drale today to address what they see as systemic racism that keeps their salaries lower than white faculty and stymies their advancement. Many have filed individual complaints; they have decided to come together to make a case so that the university cannot say that suspected incidents of discrimination are isolated.

Among the many other talking points: While the number of minority students is increasing, the number of Black and Brown faculty is declining. Several Black and Brown faculty have had to appeal to obtain tenure or promotion, and their scholarship is unfairly scrutinized and discounted. Black and Brown faculty they share disproportionately in the burden of minority mentorship and their work in that area is discounted in considerations for tenure and promotions. A Racial Climate survey shows distrust of administration by Black and Brown faculty. Federal discrimination laws are ignored.

During the one-and-a-half-hour Zoom meeting, attended by more than 200 staff and faculty, Drale acknowledged such problems as an all-white cabinet (which at least now includes women, she noted), the need for training and education about diversity that starts at the top, the need for a change in policies that “outlive this moment” of widespread protest of racism in the country, that fact that student evaluations of their teachers are harsher on black and brown faculty (and women, too, Drale noted), and that the diverse student body needs to see themselves reflected in the faculty.

However, Drale said she was unaware of the issue of pay disparity. Dr. Brian Mitchell, an assistant professor of history at UA Little Rock, responded that that issues raised by the Black and Brown Committee, including the pay disparity, had been presented to the administration last semester and “we have received not specific reply to those concerns and issues.” Mitchell said there are few Black and Brown faculty who say they’ve experienced no discrimination, and that they feel isolated and ignored. “There is a snowball of problems within the university and I don’t feel the university is addressing them at all.”

Read more: https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2020/07/10/black-brown-faculty-air-grievances-with-ua-little-rock-chancellor

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