White Professor Wins Reverse-Bias Case Vs. J-School p.12

By: Mark Fitzgerald In what is believed to be the first successful reverse-bias lawsuit against a journalism school, a federal jury in Ohio awarded $122,500 in damages to a professor who said he was denied a teaching position at Bowling Green State University because he is a white male.
U.S. District Judge James Carr is to decide soon whether John K. "Jack" Hartman must be offered a journalism teaching position at BGSU as a result of the March 6 verdict by an all-white jury of four men and four women.
Though his lawsuit named only Bowling Green as a defendant, Hartman said the verdict is a rebuke of the diversity requirements imposed on journalism schools by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communi-cations.
"Bowling Green's journalism department was put on probation by the accrediting council in 1992 because it had no minority members. So it hired a minority member and subsequently regained accreditation," Hartman said. "We showed from documents at trial that the university said, 'You wanted a minority, we got you a minority,' " he continued.
When another teaching position opened in 1994, Hartman argued in his lawsuit, the university had no intention of filling it with anyone other than a minority member.
That intention was underscored, Hartman's lawsuit argued, by the fact that the position was funded from Bowling Green's "Minority Enhancement Fund."
"That money was not available if I, a white male, had been hired," Hartman said. "Hence, the fund had a discriminatory effect. .. . . The journalism department concocted a job description and a biased hiring process that resulted in the hire of a . . . minority woman."
During the five-day trial in Toledo, Bowling Green argued that the person ultimately hired, Debbie Owens, was more qualified than Hartman to teach the position, which was advertised as "Journalism: Diversity in the Media."
Owens is a black woman, and her position will not be affected by the lawsuit verdict, both sides said.
"It was a case of qualifications for this particular position. It was never about" racial discrimination, said university spokesman Cliff Boutelle. "No decision on whether to appeal has been made at this particular time. Our reaction is disappointment that the jury ruled against the university position in this case."
Hartman, who lives in Bowling Green and earned three degrees from the university, is a tenured professor at Central Michigan University and author of The USA Today Way.
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