The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Letters

April 14, 2014

Equal pay and diversity

Equal pay for equal work, what does that mean? If you believe it means all people, male or female, performing the same job should receive the same amount of compensation, I disagree with you. Equal pay for equal work should occur only if individuals, male or female, are performing the same job at the same measured performance level. There are several factors that should determine the compensation being paid two or more employees performing the same job. Qualifications and performance are the two most important. Gender and seniority should not be determining factors.

Individuals being hired for or promoted into a job should be compensated based on their qualifications for that job. Once in the job, pay increases should be based solely on job performance, and not any other factors like gender or seniority. It is erroneous to assume the longer a person is in a job the better he or she will perform it.

Merit pay increases reward good performing employees and help motivate them to continue to work hard and hopefully prepare them to accept more responsibility. Across the board pay increases are not fair to good performing employees and inappropriately reward average or marginal employees. And, don’t think that good performing employees don’t know when their fellow worker(s) performing at a lesser level receive the same amount or percent of increase that they receive. Good performing employees will not accept this disparity and will soon be looking for other employment or will become disheartened and will not continue to perform at their highest level.

Diversity

The April 4 issue of The Bucknellian, the weekly student newspaper, contained the following front page headline, “University Strengthens Commitment to Diversity.” The lead paragraph states, President John Bravman released the University’s new five-year plan on March 31, which focuses on the improvement of diversity in relation to all aspects of campus life. I commend President Bravman for taking this action to improve campus life.

By definition, diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means that each individual is unique, and recognizes our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. From everything I’ve heard, read and observed, the university is performing quite well in achieving diversity in most of the aforementioned areas.

As a conservative, I’m especially interested in the university’s plans to strengthen its commitment to diversity in “political beliefs.” I believe it is safe to say that more than a few faculty members are registered as Democrats. Can I assume that the university will now make a conscious effort to increase diversity of “political beliefs” in the classroom by hiring more Republican, as well as Libertarian, faculty members? Can I assume that the university will make a conscious effort to foster the diversity of thought and critical thinking in the classroom that provides a balanced approach to the examination of topics? Also, most speakers brought to Bucknell to address the campus community are of the Liberal ideology. Can I assume that the University will now make a conscious effort to bring more conservative, as well as Libertarian, speakers to campus in an effort to provide students with an opportunity to hear other sides of important issues? Only time will tell.

Diversity on a college campus is more than just recognizing individual differences and accepting and respecting those differences. I believe a conscious effort needs to be made to ensure that no single religious belief, political belief, or ideology is presented to students as the best one or right one. This will only happen when faculty members no longer interject their personal beliefs in the classroom and a richer climate of diverse thought is achieved. After all, students attend college to learn how to think, not to be taught what to think, especially when it comes to their religious beliefs, political beliefs, or ideologies.

Bob Harder is a board member for the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives.

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