If you’ve spent any time in Cambridge, you know that Harvard prides itself on diversity. Yet according to a new report by Kaustuv Basu at Inside Higher Ed, Harvard may have engaged in stealth discrimination based on age and employment status, by couching a job opening in terms which would have excluded many older or long-term unemployed applicants.

A recent job posting for an assistant professor of comparative literature set off a firestorm by specifically requiring applicants to have received a Ph.D. in the last three years.

When news spread last week about a Colorado State University job ad for an assistant professor of English that specifically asked for candidates who earned their Ph.D.s in 2010 or after, many academics felt that this was discrimination against those who have been on the market for several years, perhaps working as adjuncts. The university quickly reworded the requirement, and said it was looking for an “entry-level” candidate.

It turns out Colorado State is not the only university publishing job candidate requirements that actually anger potential job candidates. Twitter, or at least the part inhabited by some faculty members, was abuzz Friday after news surfaced about a job opening for a tenure-track assistant professor of comparative literature at Harvard University that specified the “Basic Qualifications” for the opening as:  “Applicants must have received the Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the past three years (2009 or later), or show clear evidence of planned receipt of the degree by the beginning of employment.”

The responses to the ad were scathing.

“I don’t enjoy this feeling that I’m like a fruit that will only be ripe for about 3 years, before being dropped into the cider bucket. #PhD,” said a Twitter post from Melonie Fullick, a Ph.D. candidate working on research in post-secondary education, policy and governance at Canada’s York University and Inside Higher Ed blogger. Others also joined the chorus of indignation.

When contacted Friday morning, David Damrosch, chair of comparative literature at Harvard, said his department was looking for candidates who were in the beginning stages of their career. Damrosch said that in his experience, a job search for an entry-level candidate rarely ended with a new hire who had a doctoral degree from more than three years ago. “It is a fact of the profession for the most competitive jobs. It is regrettably true,” he said.

When told that some potential job candidates viewed such job postings as discriminatory, he said that “we are certainly willing to revisit the issue.”

Just a few hours later, Damrosch said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that the department was revising the listing.