Volume 93, Issue 10

Wednesday, September 15, 1999


Western Prof asks for rights probe

Saugeen yet to find USC representation

Student dies in early morning tragedy

Dean looks to restructuring funding of Mustang sports

Guelph students left out in cold

Two new businesses infiltrate UCC

News Briefs

Buzz Mecca

Caught on campus

Western Prof asks for rights probe

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A Western professor has called in the Ontario Human Rights Commission to make his case against a discriminatory advertisement.

The advertisement in question was a recent job posting at Wilfrid Laurier University which called for developmental psychologists to submit their resumes.

Clive Seligman, a Western psychology professor, had a problem with the advertisement when he realized the ad stated male applicants need not apply for the position. Seligman filed a complaint with the OHRC over the summer, which is still under review.

Although he himself is not applying for the position, Seligman said by not allowing male applicants, the school is falling victim to the gender equity problem it is trying to solve. "I think it's crazy. It's wrong to give anyone a benefit for their sex," he said.

Seligman explained the need to hire more women would only be valid if female professors were victims of discrimination. He said the psychology department at Laurier, comprised of 18 male professors and four female, reflects the provincial average.

"For the last 30 years, you can't find evidence that women are being disadvantaged," he said, adding workplace statistics dating back to 1987 show the number of female professors at Laurier to be average for Ontario's universities.

Seligman said as more women become graduates and undergraduates, more will also become faculty. Current numbers on female profs are not affected by discrimination, he said.

"Basically, all we're doing is setting a precedent for discrimination. It just seems to me very bizarre, perverse, illogical and against the law," he said.

Steve Lupker, a psychology professor at Western, said he agreed the exclusion of male applicants from the position was wrong. "It's not a preferential decision – they've made an exclusionary decision," he said.

Francois Larsen, spokesperson for the OHRC, confirmed the process of filing the complaint was not yet complete. He also said the advertisement falls under the "special program" section of the Human Rights Code.

"The "special program" is a section of the code that allows people to proceed with actions that may seem discriminatory but promote equality. [The program] is made to assist disadvantaged persons or groups or achieve equality," he said. "It's a very tricky situation."

Although Larsen would not say at what stage in the OHRC's review the complaint was in, he did explain there would first be attempts at mediation before any penalties were dealt.

Michael Strickland, media relations representative for Wilfrid Laurier University, said the school has yet to receive any official word from the OHRC. "When we do receive [official notice], we will address it in due fashion," he added.

According to Seligman, the whole situation does not make sense. "We're not talking about hiring someone to work in a women's locker room – we're talking about hiring a professor," he said.

"Every Canadian ought to have the right to be taken seriously based on their credentials."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999