Friday, September 26, 2014

I Call Bullshit

So I haven't paid attention to the Gourmet Report for ages. But I have a few questions.

There are 56 people listed as members of the "advisory board" as of this posting.
  • Why are FOUR of the board members (7%) from NYU? Which just so happens to be the #1 department? (Go them!)
  • Why are FIVE of the board members (nearly 10%) from Rutgers? Which just so happens to the #2 deparment? (Go us them, too!)
How can it possibly be appropriate that NINE members of the board, 16%, or ONE IN SEVEN, are from the "top two" departments?
  • Two more of the board are from Princeton.
How can it possibly be appropriate that ELEVEN of the 56 "board members", i.e., 20% (after rounding = 19.64% before) are from the "top three" schools?

I have a lot of friends among that group. So, to you, I ask: WTF?

Let's move on.
  • Two more are from Harvard (though one of them is not a member of the philosophy department);1 one is from Pitt; one is from MIT; two are from Yale; and one is from Stanford.
So, summing up, NINETEEN of the 56 board members, or 34%, more than a third, come from the "top ten" schools.

How is this not a problem? Whether there is in fact a conflict /of interest here is irrelevant. As has often been said, it is enough if there is an appearance of such a conflict.

Moving on again....
  • Two are from UCLA. Three are from CUNY. We have one each from Cornell, Notre Dame, Chicago (not including Leiter himself), and Texas.
  • So TWENTY-EIGHT members of the board, exactly half, come from the top twenty-one (due to ties) departments. 
This is a systemic issue, not a personal one. There's no reason that any particular person from NYU (Rutgers, wherever) shouldn't serve on the board. But there is a very good reason that FOUR or even FIVE of them should not do so.  Did no one notice this? Did it just not bother them? Or what?

I really would like to know.

[Added 9/29] I note further that only 9 of the 56 board members are women.



1 Although no-one has contacted me to say so, this was previously stated in a way that might reasonably have been interpreted as making a negative comment about the person in question. I regret my poor choice of wording and hope I gave no offence.

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