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Friday, October 22, 1999Only 'feminist, anti-racist' need apply
An advertisement for a tenure-track position at the University of Toronto has sparked controversy by stating that only candidates with a "feminist and anti-racist perspective" need apply.
The ad, which ran in the August bulletin of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, has led to heated correspondence between a senior administrator and Thomas Pangle, a political science professor, who says the ad "makes explicit what I had thought was usually only implicit, namely, that ideological conformity was the chief prerequisite for such a position at our university."
The advertised position would be held jointly in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Studies at New College.
In a letter to David Clandfield, principal of New College, Prof. Pangle wrote that the requirement is as objectionable as a demand that an applicant be a "Marxist, existentialist or a socialist.
"It is one thing to seek a scholar and teacher who is an expert in the study and teaching of one or another of these ... perspectives," he wrote. "It is something totally different to make as a discriminatory qualification for such study and teaching the sharing of the ideological or philosophic or political perspective."
Copies of the letters were given to the National Post by Prof. Pangle.
In reply, Prof. Clandfield wrote that Prof. Pangle misinterpreted the ad. "The perspective alluded to here refers to established fields of study in the academy, supported by academic journals, research centres, symposia and granting agencies." He also noted that the university has established a Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies.
Prof. Clandfield said in an interview that Prof. Pangle is mistaken in saying the university was looking for a candidate with a particular ideology. The university is seeking a candidate with a "perspective derived from work in the fields of feminist studies and anti-racist studies, not sharing a feminist ideology," he said. "There are many feminist points of view."
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