The University's official response was that it hadn't asked anybody to submit to the test yet but would find the policy useful if it wanted to. Right. Whatever the rationale, the policy will be trashed on November 21 by a Federal law barring employers from requiring DNA testing by employes.
Too late. The damage has already been done by an indefensible policy lapse rooted in the Board's (and University's) legal counsel, Ted Mallo. He's been around for a long time and should have known better before it inherited this mess. More than a local mess. It sent a terrible message to academia that UA had broken ground as the first American university to turn to possible DNA testing. Such tests, of course, can open up a person to all sorts of problems, including access by health insurance companies on the prowl for finding a preexisting health condition. Even the DNA of prehistoric skeletons can reveal much about the owners.
The CBS reporter went to the trouble of contacting UA constitutional and criminal law professor William Rich for his reaction. It wasn't complimentary to the Board. Noting that the Faculty Senate had not been consulted about the new policy, Rich said: "I think it goes far
far beyond any imaginable justification for requiring DNA samples from job applicants, and I wonder just what the rationale for it was."
If there are a lot of red faces about this issue, there should be. It will take the entire University some time to recover from the nationally reported damage to its claimed image as a progressive institution of learning.