De Anza Academic Senate concerned with non-diverse hiring practice

Andrew Jaramillo, Staff Reporter

Faculty members and staff argued about outdated and inefficient hiring practices during the De Anza College Academic Senate meeting on Nov. 18.

During the meeting, Academic Senate Vice President Mary Pape sought out members for a hiring committee to replace the interim director of psychological services, William Firmender.

Upon revealing the list of volunteers Pape had recruited so far, members of the senate immediately noticed the lack in diversity.

“They’re all women, and I’m uncomfortable with that,” English professor Veronica Avila said, removing herself from the list of candidates minutes after volunteering.

“I want to be a proponent of diversity in every aspect,” Avila said in response to Pape, who urged her to reconsider her withdrawal.

Director of Professional Development Dawn Lee Tu said she was offended and concerned with the outdated system Pape used to select members.

“I personally feel really uncomfortable with how we’ve been doing it,” Tu said.

“Is there no procedure on determining and assessing diversity for a hiring committee that is beyond looking at names and gender?”

Part-time kinesiology and health professor Mary Donahue offered her own experience as part of a non-diverse hiring committee before.

“One of the candidates came in and sat down and said ‘you’re almost all women,’” Donahue said.

She said that the diversity of a committee has an effect on the hiring process and the eligibility of an interviewee.

“It does make a difference in the mind of a candidate.”

Members of the senate said they agreed on how vital a better system for selecting members for a committee should be.

“We should really deal with this in a much more serious way,” said Ishmael Tarikh, part-time political science professor.

“It’s going to take some effort to come up with a process that’s consistent.”