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In considering the question of discrimination in faculty hiring, the Presbyterian commitment of the college must always be kept in the foreground.
Because Hanover is a church-related school, the administration has a responsibility both to that church and to the students who enroll here with knowledge of the relation.
President John Horner is, in the last analysis, responsible for the hiring of all faculty and staff members, and is accordingly held accountable for this by the Board of Trustees of the College. When a vacancy occurs in a department, the chairman of that department and the Academic Dean determine, together the qualifications of any person hired to fill the vacancy.
Academic degree, experience, area of specialization, age and salary expectancy are discussed. Decisions are made in each case with such considerations as the maintenance of a strong, well-balanced department with regard to rank and particular field of interest, and the avoiding of the mass retirement of all members of a department by insuring a reasonable age distribution. The idea is to hire the best possible man for the money available.
When this job description is complete, the President, Academic Dean and department personnel, contact placement offices and departments of graduate schools all over the country, selecting schools they have found from experience to be representative of specific strengths to meet the needs of the moment. President Horner describes the search as "aggressive": an active attempt to find the man who is most capable of doing a particular job.
After unsatisfactory credentials have been eliminated, the Academic Dean, and the head of the department concerned interview and evaluate the most promising candidates for the position. A recommendation is then submitted to President Horner, who in turn presents it to the Board of Trustees. The President is himself responsible for the fixing of rank and salary, largely determined and limited by the budget funds available for hiring.
There is virtually no racial discrimination in the faculty hiring policy. Religious discrimination exists necessarily, although to a lesser extent than in many church-related colleges. President Horner was, in fact, instrumental in making the employment of non-Presbyterian faculty possible, and under his administration the religious representation has diversified.
According to President Homer, there is "nothing of a binding nature" in the contract signed by faculty members affirming a religious commitment. But an avowed atheist, even though his brand of atheism were nonaggressive, would probably not be hired. The rationale is logical: this school has a commitment, and unless a faculty member can embrace at least the basic tenets of that commitment he belong neither at Hanover nor at any other church-related institution.