Letters to the editor

Article on gender bias was inaccurate about faculty pay

To the Editor:

Your front-page article of last Friday that ran under the headline “Female profs still paid less” gave the strong impression that gender discrimination in salaries still exists at Yale. This is not the case. Far into the article there was a quote from physics professor Ramamurti Shankar pointing out that on average the female faculty are younger than the male faculty since their numbers have grown substantially over the past decade. Since salary is tied to age, unless one corrects for this factor (which the data quoted in the article do not) meaningful comparisons cannot be made. In fact, the Provost’s Office and the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (which I chaired in 2002-2003) regularly requests such an analysis from the Office of Institutional Research. I quote from the most recent CESOF report: “In summary, once one controls for experience, division, and rank, there is no statistically significant difference between the salaries of men and women in the FAS ladder ranks.” This conclusion holds for at least the past five years. The reports and details of the regression analysis are available on line at www.yale.edu/cesof.

From my experience as department chair and as director of the Division of Physics Sciences, I have seen nothing but extreme sensitivity to any hints of gender bias from the administration, and great enthusiasm for increasing the number of women on the faculty at all levels.

A. Douglas Stone

Oct. 28

The writer is the Carl A. Morse Professor of Applied Physics and Physics.

Facts were lacking in column on ‘radical’ environmentalism

To the Editor:

I was once a radical environmentalist: I used to support wind power. I applaud Katherine Booth (“Extreme environmentalism is impractical,” 10/26) for showing me the error of my former ways. As an environmental studies major, I’ve looked up the statistics per her suggestion and am appalled to learn that “wind turbines and solar panels don’t produce nearly the power [I] thought.” A paltry 23 percent of Denmark’s energy comes from the breeze, and you know those pinkos aren’t consuming nearly enough. Here in America, the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area in California, a single wind farm, produces the energy to power only a quarter million homes. I now agree that building “a million wind turbines” in any of our national parks is utterly nonsensical. Instead, as Booth suggests, we should consider more nuclear power and increased oil drilling. Why should I care that nuclear waste remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years? That’s a concern for future generations. The Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, along with the rest of our national parks and protected areas, should be opened up to the benefit of petrol companies. In fact, let’s up the subsidies while we’re at it. And don’t forget coal. The United States has the world’s largest reserves. We’ll just strip-mine it all right out of the ground. I’d sooner have black lung than suffer the ungodly sight of black photovoltaic cells on my roof. Plus, instead of constructing wind turbines on the Yale campus, certainly a major eyesore, we can locate all the coal and oil smokestacks and, of course, the nuclear plants, in poor neighborhoods. That way we won’t upset any students or faculty. Talk about solutions that make sense.

Bjorn Fredrickson ’07

Oct. 26

The writer is in Branford College.

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