Canada Research Chair Quotas Opposed

September 2003

In a front page article of the June 26 edition of SFU News, it was reported that VP-academic John Waterhouse plans to apply a quota system for the remainder of SFU's appointments under the Canada Research chairs program. While I share the concern that this program may have been remiss in allowing departments to make appointments without advertising properly, I doubt that the outcome would have been very different in terms of the male/female ratio. The bulk of the program's positions appear to have gone to science faculty, and women do not choose science nearly as often as men, and do not achieve outstanding success as often.

In any case, instituting a quota system for women is not the appropriate solution even if the current procedure were flawed. This is especially important since the program's guidelines stipulate that "excellence is the defining criterion" (not group identity). A quota system violates the merit system, the program's guidelines, and presumably also policies negotiated with the SFU faculty association. It should be unacceptable to all faculty.

Doreen Kimura
Visiting Professor

From Simon Fraser University News, July 10, 2003.