Hispanic faculty found to be underrepresented, underpaid

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Photo Credit: Renee Koite | Daily Texan Staff

Hispanic professors at UT are the lowest paid faculty and have often been excluded from higher positions, according to an ongoing committee analysis.

The Independent Equity Committee consists of eight Hispanic professors from the College of Liberal Arts. History professor Alberto Martinez, the committee’s chair, led the data collection with history professor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra. According to their report, Hispanic faculty earned 4.6% less than their white counterparts in 2016.

The committee’s report focused on four departments in COLA: anthropology, history, sociology and psychology. They found 69% of Hispanic professors in those departments were at the bottom of the salary scale, and 77% of these professors were in the top 10 of the most published faculty in their departments.

“The information we have gathered is appalling,” Cañizares-Esguerra said. “In short, there is evidence of extensive marginalization to Hispanics.” 

To determine who receives salary raises based on merit, the psychology department evaluates professors’ peformance through their Merit Review Committee. Faculty members who receive an “exceeds expectation” score are suggested to the dean for merit raises. 

Psychology professor Francisco Gonzalez-Lima has received as much funding in grants as the other six faculty members in his department combined and published more articles than his five white colleagues who received an “exceeds expectations” score. However, he received a “meets expectations” merit score. 

 

“We are invisible, our accomplishments are invisible,” Gonzalez-Lima said. “What we concluded was that it is social capital and not merit that truly determines your salaries and your merit raises.”

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost also reported 63% of Hispanic professors achieved tenure over the past ten years, which is the lowest rate compared to other races. However, over the past five years, 86% of Hispanic professors achieved tenure — at the same rate as white professors.

“The University has issues to work on, but they’re not straight forward,” said Ted Gordon, vice provost for diversity.

Recently, the committee discovered of the 130 positions for deans, vice deans, associate deans and assistant deans, only 10 of these positions were held by Hispanics. There are only five Hispanic faculty members who are a department chair and only two Hispanic faculty serve as deans. Cañizares-Esguerra also said endowed chairs have the highest status in the University, and there is only one Hispanic in this position. 

“When it comes to structures of power and hierarchy in this University, Hispanics are not only the lowest paid faculty of the entire University, but they are the ones who have the least power,” Cañizares-Esguerra said.

Gordon said the committee’s information collected is not official University data, so there are some issues with it. Gordon said UT’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity is collecting data about Hispanic faculty to make recommendations to the provost.

“I’m not saying that their data is not valuable, or I’m not even saying it’s wrong,” Gordon said. “I’m saying it’s not complete, but I would also say that their data is good as an indicator of the things that we need to work on, and that’s why we’re working on them.” 

Despite this, Martinez said the data showed Hispanic underrepresentation was a systemic problem. 

“It’s not individual … its general and systemic,” Martinez said. “And only if you prove that it’s general and systemic do people say ‘Oh wow, it is a problem. We have to deal with it.’”