Reverse discrimination?

Joe Vigneux’s account of how he was treated as a CHANCE counselor sounds very plausible. Apparently the University administration agrees, since they offered him a fairly substantial cash settlement to drop his claims quietly. Now that the story has broken (in the Northern Star, Monday, Jan.13; follow_up story Wednesday, Jan.15), there is probably no way the administration can save face. The case points out how they failed to convey to the university community that they will not tolerate official discrimination even when it is directed against white males.

The university’s policy on discrimination has seemed to be guided more by a desire to placate certain political constituencies than by a concern for individual justice. The result has turned out to be unsatisfactory even from the point of view of public relations.

Assuming they cannot refute Vigneux’s claims, the top administrators have an unenviable choice: concede defeat, and raise the question why they were so slow to act against discrimination; or continue to stonewall and run the risk of losing in court. The latter would be particularly disastrous, reinforcing the impression that they condone official discrimination against white males. Their best hope is to stall and hope Vigneux tires of the legal rigamarole. Indeed, few private individuals have the resources in time, money, energy and determination to press a suit against a big public institution such as NIU. Those who are concerned about possible reverse discrimination at NIU must hope that Joe Vigneux is one of the few.

James Hudson

Associate Professor