Newspaper reports on the recent discussion on "Anti-Mormon feelings at the University of Utah" caused me to recall my own experience with the university's anti-Mormon bigotry.
In 1959 I was completing my Ph.D. in English at the University of Chicago and was job hunting at the meeting of the Modern Language Association during the Christmas season. I arranged for an interview with the chairman of the U.'s English department, who was there meeting with people that might be suitable hires for his department. Soon after our interview began, he learned that I was a graduate of Brigham Young University and a Mormon, whereupon he told me that it was the policy of his department to not hire Mormons. He offered no further explanation, nor did he inquire any further as to my interests and qualifications.I am aware that there have been a few inactive Mormons in the English department at the university whose tenure extended back to the 1940s or 1950s, but its hiring record since my abortive interview would show that its policy of not hiring Mormons has remained consistent during the past 35 years. I am told that the same policy is tacitly in force in several other departments in the humanities and social sciences.
It is commendable that the University of Utah has sought in recent years to create a diverse faculty without regard to race, ethnic origin or gender. But is it not strange that its commitment to equal opportunity and non-discriminatory hiring has not extended to the religious group that constitutes about 70 percent of the population of the state that it was created to serve?