Report Finds Presidential Searches at Public Colleges Favor White Men

Despite growing diversity among California’s college students, the leadership hiring process at many public colleges and universities still favors white men. That’s according to a new report commissioned by The College Futures Foundation, titled Whiteness Rules: Racial Exclusion in Becoming an American College President  

The report examined college president searches at California’s public higher education institutions, including the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC) systems. It found structural biases that impede an inclusive presidential hiring process, as well as a lack of transparency around presidential searches. 

The report offered solutions to remedy the problem. These include assembling and training search committees, hiring race-conscious executive search firms, increasing evaluation and accountability throughout the recruitment process, and assessing/improving job announcements.

“With two open Chancellor positions at the California State University system and the California Community Colleges, and active college president searches underway throughout the state, the time is right for California’s public higher education systems to play an important role trailblazing equitable hiring practices in their leadership positions,” the researchers said.

The report was released on the same day oral arguments began in two affirmative action cases before the United States Supreme Court. A majority of the justices indicated they may deem race-conscious policies unconstitutional, which would jeopardize DEI-based hiring practices at colleges across the U.S.