Why the Mirror Image Rule Still Matters
This story, which took the academic world by storm, demonstrates the continued vitality of the mirror image rule:
“[A philosophy tenure track job] candidate . . . sent the following email to search committee members at Nazareth College, in Rochester, N.Y., after receiving a tenure-track job offer in philosophy:
“As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]
1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years.
2) An official semester of maternity leave.
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.”
She ended the email by saying “I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.”
In a reply, the search committee said it had reviewed the requests, as had the dean and vice president of academic affairs.
“It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered,” the email continues. “Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.”
The search committee ended by thanking the candidate for her “interest” and wishing her “the best in finding a suitable position.”
As many have pointed out, an employment lawyer might be able to make some hay if emails within the department discussed #2 in any detail. (Which they likely did, since academics have no email discipline.)