What To Conceal to Get a Faculty Job
Yesterday, I received an email from a friend, who will enter the fray this fall. He asked me and various other law professors to comment on his application form and CV, both of which include several items suggesting that he is both (1) Mormon and (2) Republican. The following is one of the responses that he received:The responses to this post are interesting, and those who wrote were far from agreeing that concealing conservative religious and political views is necessary.There’s no doubt that being a Mormon and a Republican are both negatives for a substantial slice of the professorate. That means that you will have a certain number of people who’ll never support you and a larger number who start with a prejudice against you. Often this is a small number at a particular school, but at the preliminary screening level it’s often the case that strong opposition from one member of the Appointments Committee is enough to knock you out. I know of a case where one extremely strong candidate didn’t get a all-back at a lower-tier school because one member of the Appointments committee said that she simply couldn’t even consider hiring someone who’d worked for Justice Thomas. It’s obviously possible to overcome this bias, but you’re starting with a handicap.
But a bias is clearly sufficiently widespread to make doing that prudent.