Academic Discrimination in Iowa
by Tom Donelson on November 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM
In Iowa City, there was a major court case. On the surface, University of Iowa College of Law may have been spared as Teresa Wagner did not win her case of proving discrimination against her by the University. A federal jury rejected Ms. Wagner First Amendment claim that she was denied a faculty position due to her conservative views but was deadlocked over the Equal Protection claim that less qualified candidates were selected over her.
The Des Moines Register interviewed jurors and found that while the jury was deadlocked, they did see hiring bias but felt that the University, not the former Law School Dean, was responsible. the Jury were conflicted about holding the Dean responsbile but had no doubt that the university should have been held accountable. However, Federal law does not recognize political discrimnation against institutions like University of Iowa. The Jury forewoman noted, “I will say that everyone in that jury room believed that she had been discriminated against.” A new motion has been filed by Ms. Wagner for a new trial in a case that could have implications in the academic world.
In an editorial, the Des Moines Register editorial board wrote, "Regardless of the outcome, this case raises questions about the hiring policies at the University Of Iowa College Of Law, and perhaps in the university as a whole. The U of I respects the goal of diversity for race, religion and gender, but it should show the same respect for diversity of political thought." What this case showed is the academic bankruptcy of an institution that can’t tolerate dissent to their world view and that while diversity is the buzzword, the reality is that diversity doesn’t mean a diversity of ideas.
In the legal world it matters since many lawyers have been trained in a progressive worldview, as far as the Constitution is concerned, such that the Constitution is a living document that needs to be interpreted by contingency of the times as opposed to its true meaning. In Iowa, a governor is limited to who he or she can select as the governor is limited to a slate of nominees approved by the judicial nominating commission. This gives state lawyers a significant hand in appointing lawyers and it assures that any lawyer trained by the University of Iowa law school possibly brings a leftist worldview into the procedure and makes it more difficult for conservative judges to be selected.
When the Iowa Supreme Court approved same sex marriage as being protected by the Iowa Constitution, this led to a war on the Court. In 2010, three judges up for retention were removed from office and in 2012, a fourth judge survived but received only 54% of the vote in a vote that normally is close to 99% The argument for the retention of the judge was that social conservatives introduced “politics into the judicial process”, but the reality is that politics is already part of the process. When a conservative scholar has to sue to ensure her equal protection, and there is massive resistance to have one conservative as part of the Iowa law school faculty, that makes a lie that Iowa's selection is nonpartisan and non-political. It simply means that partisanship is hidden from public view.
The Teresa Wagner case continues but it does expose that Academic world talks of diversity is hypocrisy as the key aspect of university, exposing students to a variety of ideas, is becoming non-existence and our modern academic world in many specific disciplines is less of a place to learn but a place to be indoctrinated.