To the Editor:

Here is another document to be added to “The Pottinger Papers” [Letters from Readers, May, commenting on Paul Seabury’s “HEW & the Universities,” February]. This is a job description sent to the placement office of the Association for Jewish Studies; its authenticity has been verified.

Seymour Singer
New York City



  1. Name and address of institution: State University of New York at Albany, Albany, N.Y. 12222
  2. Contact: Jerome Eckstein, Judaic Studies Department, Chairman
  3. Position available and brief description of duties: The department is searching for a Biblical scholar who is either female or a member of a minority group (Black, American Indian, Spanish Surname, or Oriental-American). If possible, we would like this person to be capable of chairing our Department—but this is not an essential requirement.
  4. Rank and salary: not stated
  5. Effective date: Sept. ’73
  6. Competency and preparation required: stated in #3.



To the Editor:

I thought you might be interested in the following correspondence. As a matter of professional ethics, I have deleted the name of the institution and the department chairman. The problem of reverse discrimination is so widespread, I don’t think one man or school should be made a whipping boy.

Richard J. Larschan
University of California
Berkeley, California



Department of English

January 10, 1972

Dear Mr. Larschan:

I have received your letter of January 4 regarding your candidacy here.

It is quite true that we have an opening here and that I have examined your dossier. It is very impressive indeed, and I wish I could invite you to come for an interview. At present, however, our department is interested in the appointment of a woman so we are concentrating on interviews of this kind.

I appreciate very much your interest in the College, and I know that with your excellent qualifications you will find a position of your choice. Naturally, I shall keep you in mind should any changes occur.

Best wishes to you for success.

Sincerely yours,



May 21, 1972

Ms. Bernice Sandler
Executive Associate and Director
Project on the Status and Education of Women
Association of American Colleges
Washington, D.C.

Dear Ms. Sandler:

Knowing your high regard for the truth (amply demonstrated—or at least proclaimed—by your letter in COMMENTARY rebutting Paul Seabury’s article), I was certain you would appreciate seeing the enclosed letter from—College. It was you, was it not, who wrote:

Well-qualified males will now have to compete with well-qualified women and minorities. Hiring that is in line with the government’s policy is on the basis of ability; the best-qualified person is hired regardless of sex or color or national origin, even if that person turns out to be white and male. The intent is not to give preference to any group, but to see that all groups are considered equally.

After my Acting Instructorship runs out, I should have plenty of free time to spend on making sure that the courts uphold “the intent” of which you have so eloquently spoken.

Richard J. Larschan
Acting Instructor



To the Editor:

Why does Elliot L. Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, leave out religious heritage when he lists in his letter those things over which victims of discrimination have no control? HEW should be protecting victims of religious as well as racial and sex discrimination (1964 Civil Rights Act, Section 703), but one would never know it from the agency’s actions.

Last October HEW conducted an investigation into discrimination in faculty hiring at Princeton University. Though it is well known in the university community that Princeton’s English department will not hire Jewish professors, the affirmative-action plan which was developed mentioned women, blacks, and Orientals, and ignored the problem of anti-Semitism. In addition, the New York HEW has so far refused to respond to my pleas for an investigation into religious discrimination in faculty hiring at Princeton.

There is, apparently, discrimination not only in the universities but in civil-rights- enforcement as well.

Arthur Cooper
Princeton, New Jersey



To the Editor:

. . . I have recently observed the subtle, or not-so-subtle, effects of affirmative-action programs in the personnel pages of scholarly journals. For example, a recent issue of a prestigious American scientific weekly contained three classified advertisements, out of a total of 17, which boasted references to the academicians’ added “qualifications”: “Female Planetologist,” “Minority Group Ph.D.,” “Physiological Psychologist, Ph.D., Chicano.” . . .

An equitable meritocracy is salubrious both to its members and to society as a whole; discriminatory affirmative-action programs are only a stop-gap measure . . . and they will in the long run benefit no one. . . .

Jeffrey Gustavson
Cambridge, Massachusetts



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