The University of Washington found race was "inappropriately considered" in a recent faculty hire, it admitted last month.
The university released a statement on October 31, which outlined concerns about the faculty's hiring process in the University of Washington’s Department of Psychology last year.
"The review was completed in September and indicates that race was inappropriately considered and used in a way that is inconsistent with University policy in the hiring process for an assistant professor position in the department. Race was inappropriately considered in the hiring process even after some faculty received guidance from College of Arts & Sciences and University leadership that such considerations are inappropriate," the statement stated.
Dianne Harris, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, requested a review of the department’s hiring practices after several concerns were reported.
The review was conducted by UW’s Civil Rights Investigation Office, which included examining e-mails and other university records. After the review was completed in September, the results indicated that race was inappropriately considered in the hiring of an assistant professor position in the department and violates university policy.
The race-based hiring of the assistant professor was completed even after the faculty received guidance from leadership that such a practice was inappropriate.
The university's statement said the assistant professor had "no knowledge of the concerns raised" and that they were "unquestionably qualified."
"The successful candidate is unquestionably qualified, and we are proud to have them as a valued faculty member in the department and at the University. They had no knowledge of the concerns raised and have our full support and respect, which we have communicated directly," the statement reads.
The Department of Psychology faced several penalties after the investigation, such as being barred from conducting searches for tenured and tenure-track faculty positions for at least two years.
Furthermore, Department of Psychology staff will be mandated to receive training on hiring practices that are consistent with state and federal law and university policy. The department’s hiring processes will also be restructured.
"Dean Harris and members of College of Arts & Sciences leadership have apologized to the affected candidates," the statement continued, "The UW is committed to diversity — and committed to equal opportunity in hiring — while upholding University policy and state and federal law. Our students and our state benefit from a faculty whose knowledge and understanding represent the diversity of Washington state."
Based in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is a public research university that presides over 46,000 students.
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