Kansas University officials say they're worried about their inability to attract more minority faculty and are trying to figure out what they might be doing wrong.
But administration critics say the professed concern is only window dressing, not a real attempt to address the problem.
"We need to get more minority applicants in the applicant pool," KU Provost David Shulenburger said Wednesday. "Folks in my office and folks in the (Equal Opportunity) Office will sit down with the deans to figure out a strategy to increase minority recruitment."
Shulenburger said he is reviewing information on minority faculty recruitment submitted by deans and department heads.
He requested the information in late July or early August, according to a memo to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department heads, a copy of which was provided Wednesday to the Journal-World.
In the memo, college managers were asked to list instances when prospective minority faculty members were and were not offered campus visits during recruiting for this academic year.
Members of the KU Sexism and Racism Victims Coalition say the effort is in response to complaints they filed with the federal government about minority hiring and retention at KU.
"They've not been doing tracking of minority hiring," said Ray Pierotti, associate professor of environmental studies and a coalition member. "This is an effort to appear to be addressing the problem."
Pierotti and his wife, former professor Cynthia Annett lost a lawsuit against the university earlier this year which turned on allegations KU discriminated against minorities.
Three black faculty members, one Native American and eight Asian or Pacific Islanders were hired for this year.
The total number of minority faculty members is 166 for this year. The total number of faculty members for the Lawrence campus is about1400.
"We want to raise the proportion of minority faculty to the same percentage as minority faculty across the nation," Shulenburger said. "It's a long-standing goal."
Of the 551,000 faculty employed nationwide about 12.6 percent are minorities.
For the Lawrence campus that number would equal about 176 faculty members out of 1,400. In 1995, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway set the goal of recruiting 200 minority faculty members by the year 2000.
In June, the coalition complained to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that KU was not living up to a 1995 agreement to bring university programs into compliance with an executive order mandating nondiscrimination at institutions, like the university, which receive federal funds.