By: Peter Demestihas, Contributing Writer
Towson community members met in the College of Liberal Arts Oct. 26 to observe “Psychological Experiences of Power and Procedural Justice Among Faculty of Color,” a lecture given by associate professor Danice Brown and assistant professor Mariana Lebron related to Lebron’s current research on power constructs.
The lecture took a deeper look at how systems of power are much more intricate in their effects than what is just observed on the surface. Some of the major questions discussed in the presentation included, “Why are colleges dismissing people of color?” or in a more broad and rhetorical sense, “Do faculty of color matter?”
The problem, as explained by Lebron, is the combination of how people with power act toward subordinates and the perceptions of justice by both white and nonwhite faculty and staff.
For the purpose of clarity, she explained that the term “faculty of color” means, in this situation, all of the non-white faculty of the university.
Lebron then proceeded to discuss a more specific example of asymmetric power that occurs normally in everyday campus operation: faculty search committees and their roles in choosing prospects for employment.
According to Lebron’s research, these search committee staff members are not trained enough when it comes to diversity, despite them playing a very important role in employing staff members.
Lebron’s lecture explained that people with power can have distorted concepts of time and can underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete goals.
This “get things done” mentality, Lebron says, can also cause people in power positions to disregard the perspectives of others and rely more on quick judgements or people based on stereotypes.
The Multiculturalism in Action Brown Bag Series is scheduled to continue with a presentation next month on Nov. 16.