Recently a group of faculty from underrepresented groups held an online meeting with Christina Drale, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The faculty members aired a number of grievances including:
- The number of students from underrepresented groups is rising but the number of faculty from these groups is declining.
- Black and other minority faculty are paid less than their White colleagues.
- No members of the chancellor’s cabinet are people of color.
- Black faculty’s scholarship is not regarded as substantive and this has had a negative impact on promotion and tenure decisions.
One participant in the meeting noted that since the university was founded in 1927, only six Black scholars had reached the rank of full professor. A 2014 university report listed 60 Black scholars among 803 total faculty. A recent analysis found that 28 of the 443 full-time faculty members are Black.
A participant in the meeting told JBHE that the “university is stonewalling. Chancellor Dr. Drale suggested that sensitivity training be mandated to solve issues of systemic and historic racial inequity, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Training alone will do nothing to change the structure of the institution, nor would it do anything to correct historic inequities in pay, promotion, or the treatment of Black and Hispanic faculty and staff.”
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock enrolls nearly 8,000 undergraduate students and about 2,800 graduate students according to the most recent data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 25 percent of the undergraduate student body.