The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Oh, Wow — Psychologist I’ve Frequently Cited Files Discrimination Suit

Posted on | April 1, 2017 | Comments Off on Oh, Wow — Psychologist I’ve Frequently Cited Files Discrimination Suit

Jennifer Freyd is the psychologist responsible for identifying a syndrome known as DARVO — Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender — based on her work dealing with perpetrators of sexual abuse. Her insight came to my attention while I was coping with the fallout of the Kaitlyn Hunt case, where supporters of the convicted sex offender, who had claimed to be the victim of homophobia after she molested a 14-year-old girl, engaged in heinous abuse against those who supported Florida law enforcement’s prosecution of the case. Given my familiarity with Professor Freyd’s work, this story caught my attention:

University of Oregon Psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd [March 18] filed a sex bias lawsuit against the U of O for pay discrimination.
Freyd is a full professor who’s been at the University for 25 years. She has a national reputation for her work in the psychology of trauma and on behalf of sexual assault survivors. Freyd’s lawsuit alleges that over the years she’s received considerably lower pay than her male colleagues. Attorney Jennifer Middleton represents professor Freyd in the lawsuit.
Middleton: “According to her own department studies, she’s paid $50-thousand a year less than her comparable male colleagues. So, this seems like a clear instance of sex discrimination in pay and we’re seeking pay equity for her.”
The lawsuit seeks back-pay and damages of a yet undetermined amount. Middleton says the Psychology Department has found that on average female professors are paid $25-30 thousand less than their male peers. She says Freyd tried for years to get the department to rectify the situation.

Why is a liberal-controlled university in a Democrat-controlled state like Oregon engaged in discrimination against women? Another story:

The UO said Freyd, of Eugene, collects $155,237 a year in salary and another $70,544 in benefits.
“While we’ve not yet received the formal filing, the university is aware of Professor Freyd’s allegation,” Tobin Klinger, a school spokesman said in an email. “Although Professor Freyd’s pay places her in the top 13% of all tenure track faculty at the UO, we are committed to paying our faculty commensurate with their achievements. We will look closely at the case in the coming days.”

Professor Freyd makes more money than 87% of her peers, and her salary is more than three times the median household income in Oregon. If indeed she is paid less than male professors in her department, then the university is paying those guys way too much money. Whatever the result of her lawsuit may be, at least it might help taxpayers in Oregon learn more about the way their tax dollars are being spent. Why should state university professors — government employees — be making so much more than the taxpayers who are footing the bill? Is there a shortage of people with advanced psychology degrees in Oregon, so that the university must offer lucrative salaries to attract qualified instructors?

Probably not. In 2014, American universities awarded 8,657 Ph.D.s in the social sciences, which include psychology, and more than 30% of those newly minted Ph.D.s had no commitment of post-doctoral employment. The academic job market is looking pretty grim these days:

Across disciplines, academic jobs are in short supply. “In the social sciences, about 40 percent of doctorate recipients end up in nonacademic positions,” says Robert Sowell, PhD, vice president for programs and operations at the Council of Graduate Schools. . . .
Traditional tenure-track jobs in academia are increasingly rare, and several experts point to funding as a big factor in that trend. “The real issue right now is the economy,” Sowell says. “Institutions are cutting back.” . . .
Part-time positions, in particular, save colleges money because they often don’t include health benefits. In 1975, 57 percent of faculty at all U.S. degree-granting institutions held tenured or tenure-track positions, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics. By 2009, just 30 percent of faculty could say the same. Meanwhile, the proportion of part-time faculty swelled from 30 percent in 1975 to 51 percent in 2009.

Tenured professors are extremely fortunate to have their full-time jobs, considering that every year many thousands of students get Ph.D.s and enter the already overcrowded pool of would-be professors. Women get the vast majority (77%) of bachelor’s degrees in psychology, and women also get more than two-thirds of new Ph.D.s in psychology. So here we have Professor Freyd, a woman in a female-dominated field, a tenured professor earning more than 87% of her peers at the University of Oregon, who claims to be a victim of sexist discrimination.

There is a word for such a claim, and I don’t have a Ph.D. in psychology, but I know crazy when I see it. Everybody remembers psychology professor Deborah Frisch, right?

The former University of ­Oregon professor released from jail [in March 2015] after pleading guilty to making a false report against a Eugene police officer is again behind bars on similar charges.
Deborah Ellen Frisch, 53, is facing a charge of initiating a false report and a probation ­violation in the previous case. . . .
Frisch, who has a doctorate in psychology, was arrested in February for three counts of stalking after police accused her of repeatedly harassing a city police officer, another city of Eugene employee, and the director of a local nonprofit agency. . . .
For several years between 1988 and 2001, Frisch taught at the UO psychology department. She then taught at the University of Arizona but resigned in 2006 after writing inflammatory online comments to a conservative blogger.

Just a few recent news items:

  • September 2015: Simmons College psychology professor Alyssa Azotea was arrested on child pornography charges. Police said Azotea engaged in online conversations with a man in which “images of children” were shared.
  • April 2016: Ohio State University psychology professor Keith Markman was charged with burglary and assault after police said he forced his way into an ex-girlfriend’s home and attacked her.
  • July 2016: Former Webster University psychology professor Norma Patricia Esparza is sentenced to six years in prison for her role in the 1995 murder of a man she accused of raping her when she was in college.
  • September 2016: Former University of Nebraska psychology professor Joseph Benz was sentenced to five years probation on federal child pornography charges. Investigators say Professor Benz had more than 20,000 images and videos of child pornography.
  • December 2016: Former University of California Riverside psychology professor Michael Lamar Vanderwood was sentenced to nine years to life in state prison for torturing his wife.

Look, I’m not trying to say all psychology professors are dangerous criminals, but after you see enough dots, you start noticing a pattern.



Comments are closed.