Affirmative Action Committees All The Way Up?

At the University of Oregon the search for a new Athletic Director is finally underway.

EUGENE, Ore. — While the search for a new basketball coach is over, the hunt for a new athletic director is just ramping up.

An affirmative action committee approved the university’s selections for an AD search panel. That panel is lead [sic]by Dr. Robin Holmes who also serves as vice president for student affairs.

Since this report raises the obvious question — did another, higher affirmative action committee approve the membership of the affirmative action committee? — I was of course reminded of the famous answer to a similar question: turtles all the way down.

The most widely known version appears in Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever”, said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

At the University of Oregon, and no doubt all similar institutions, final authority presumably rests with affirmative action committees all the way up.

Say What?