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Sotomayor @ Princeton: "Uniform Treatment of All Candidates"

1:10 PM, May 26, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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After launching a public campaign to force Princeton University to hire faculty and administrators of "Puerto Rican or Chicano heritage," Sotomayor finally got her way. But she wasn't finished complaining. Despite being appointed to a student advisory board that would counsel the University on the hiring of a "minority dean," Sotomayor was ultimately unsatisfied by the appointment of Luis Garcia as Associate Dean of Student Affairs in September 1974. Sotomayor had a litany of complaints ranging from the manner in which the advisory board was selected to the manner in which the candidate was selected.

The Daily Princetonian bullet-pointed the complaints:

  • candidates for the "minority" position seem to be subjected to closer scrutiny than those for comparable positions.
  • some of the candidates seemed to receive preferential treatment during the selection process.
  • no Asian or American Indian candidates were recruited or considered.
  • the members of the advisory committee were chosen by [Dean] Simmons herself rather than by the minority organizations they seemed to represent.

The same day, Sotomayor wrote another op-ed in the student paper explaining her frustration:

In an effort to broaden and legitimize the decision making procedure, Dean Simmons asked us as members of the various ethnic and racial minorities to participate. We were given resumes of each of the major candidates considered; we interviewed them; and we were asked to summarize our feelings as to their qualifications. As this procedure continued we grew more and more disillusioned--not with regard to the caliber of the candidates, but with the process in general. Finally, when asked to make our recommendations, we issued instead a list of our grievances and asked that a decision be deferred until they were answered satisfactorily.

Ironically, the piece closes with this:

And finally, concerning the appointment process, the procedure established should insure uniform treatment of all candidates. A candidate's background or the position he or she seeks to fill should be no reason for preferential treatment on the part of the university.

Does anyone dispute that Sotomayor has been the recipient of preferential treatment for most of her life? She played a role in the hiring of a dean at Princeton -- how many alums got that kind of treatment while they were undergraduates? According to the president, Sotomayor's background is now the very reason why she has been nominated to the Supreme Court. And Sotomayor ruled against uniform treatment of all candidates in the Ricci case, which is sure to be a focus of her confirmation hearings. So now that Sotomayor is the candidate, does she want to be treated like everyone else, or does she want special treatment?

Update: Links to the original articles taken down at the request of the Princeton University Library.