Insider's take on Amy Bishop's gender-discrimination case

While some readers are likely to be growing weary of the Amy Bishop case, this topic has generated two (1, 2) of the longest and still-active comment threads this blog has seen since my most highly-read personal post.

So, I was going to limit any further posts here to topics that haven't been beaten to death elsewhere.

But here's an interesting take brought to my attention overnight by commenter mitch: Slate's writer for their Double X feature on women's issues, Emily Bazelon, has put up her e-mail exchange with UAHuntsville history professor, Sam Thomas, following her comments on last week's Slate's Political Gabfest show.

With Thomas officially on the byline, they discuss that while it is tempting to view Bishop's extreme actions as a "manifestation of some women's frustration with unequal treatment in the workplace," this is one case where gender issues are truly off the table.

I don't want to excerpt the exchange because it wouldn't do justice to the context in which arguments are presented. I just found it to be a unique take that doesn't beat the same old horse.

Go read here.

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this situation is terrible, we can not give importance to something as inappropriate, we have many important things to be treated as health care, cancer, AIDS, chronic diseases, there are thousands of people who suffer from them and are much more important than a bishop who prostituted themselves online, do not think so?

By Sunderland (not verified) on 26 Feb 2010 #permalink

Yuck. I found the whole "No, YOU'RE right!" tone of that article kind of nauseating.

There's rarely any *evidence* of sexism in any tenure or hiring decision. That doesn't mean it didn't play a role, even an unconscious one, in the decision. I also found it bizarre and creepy that she supposedly didn't KNOW she wasn't getting tenure? Was she really in denial, or did they really not tell her?

I find it very suspicious that they're having to dig deep to justify the decision. It's not as if she didn't have grants, hadn't published, hadn't spun off a company, gotten average teaching evaluations. If the collegiality thing is the ONLY reason - doesn't that sound a bit sketchy?

I'm the LAST person who would say that we should keep bat-shit crazy PIs around, but on the other hand, the idea of formalizing vague criteria like "collegiality" for hiring and tenure is exactly what's wrong with the popularity contest that we call science.

She had one grant and very very few and kind of crappy publications (in one case utterly worthless).

Yes they might have denied her tenure on the basis of collegiality.

Maybe they had to invent some sort of collegiality criteria because she was "bat shit insane" and they wanted rid of her for personal safety reasons?

Were they wrong?