Journal of Higher Education Management
Professor of Business Administration David Griffith is one of two writers of an article included in the recent Journal of Higher Education Management – Vol 36(1) as published by the American Association of University Administrators.
Griffith joined with Bryan McKinney of Ouachita Baptist University’s business faculty to write “Using Disparate Impact Analysis to Develop Anti-Racist Policies: An Application to Coronavirus Liability Waivers.”
Professor Griffith says that the goal of the paper is to analyze coronavirus liability waivers to determine if a nominally race-neutral policy could have a disparate impact on Black and Hispanic students and therefore contribute to systematic racism.
As experienced college administrators and professors, McKinney and Griffith are keenly aware that police killings of Black Americans and the Covid-19 pandemic have created a painful environment on many college campuses.
Griffith says, “For many of our students, the images of extralegal killings of Black Americans by police highlight their perceptions that systematic racism exists in the higher education system as well as the justice system. The significantly higher Covid-19 pandemic death rate for Black and Hispanic Americans intensifies this perception. From our experience teaching and advising students, we know that nominally race-neutral academic policies such as admissions, financial aid, scholarships, probation, and registration priority often have unintentional negative impacts on Black and Hispanic students. Our paper shows how the legal principle of disparate impact analysis, commonly used in employment law to mediate implicit racial bias, can be adopted to reduce systematic racism in the education setting.
“In particular,” Griffith said, “we find that coronavirus liability waivers in the education sector, adopted by many colleges and universities to lower potential liability from illnesses and deaths related to the Covid-19 pandemic, harm Black and Hispanic/LatinX students more than White students. Our analysis demonstrates that education administrators can use disparate impact analysis to support racial equity and reduce the undesirable effects of nominally race-neutral policies.”
A member of the Austin College faculty since 2006, Griffith holds The Jack B. Morris Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. He recently completed service as dean of the Social Sciences Division.