Friday, August 31, 2007

U of L, UK seek higher diversity

Schools compete for all minorities

By Nancy C. Rodriguez
nrodriguez@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

Nat Irvin II was a professor at Wake Forest University for 10 years before coming to the University of Louisville this year.
"The thing that really impressed me was the leadership of the institution," said Irvin, the Strickler Executive-in-Residence Professor of Management in the College of Business. "It was a good fit for me."
Irvin's hiring -- and that of 13 other African-American professors -- has helped U of L continue its five-year trend of increasing diversity among its roughly 1,200-member faculty.
Since 2002-03 the university has seen the number of full-time black members grow from 61 to 98.
They now account for more than 7 percent of the entire faculty, according to preliminary numbers made available this week.
The university also has hired 26 Asian and five Hispanic professors.
"We feel really very blessed that so many people have wanted to come here, because they contribute a lot to our community," said U of L Provost Shirley Willihnganz.
University of Kentucky officials also are projecting an increase of 10 African-American professors -- the largest number of hires since the 2002-03 school year.
That brings the number of blacks among the 2,200 faculty members to 81 -- more than 3 percent.
The university also hired five Hispanic faculty members this year, bringing the total to 33.
The number of Asian faculty -- which was 194 last year -- was not available.
"The goal always is to show as much diversity as we can across the board. ... We're committed to doing so," said UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy.
Under Kentucky's equal opportunity plan and an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, the state's eight public universities and 16 community colleges must show that they are making progress in increasing their numbers of African-American students, faculty and staff.
Each institution has its own objective.
For example, U of L's is to have at least 7 percent black faculty; UK's is 3 percent.
Both say that they met their goals.
All the universities are compiling final numbers on minority faculty members, which will be forwarded to the Council on Post-Secondary Education for a report in January.
Failing to make progress in diversifying the faculty -- and in other areas as well, including enrollment -- can lead to state restrictions in implementing new academic programs.
The universities are judged on eight areas pertaining to diversity, and the community college system is judged on four.
U of L was the only university to show progress in all eight areas this past January, according to state officials.

[To read the entire article, go to: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070830/NEWS01/708300422/1008 ]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Report From Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA Asserts Racial Inequality Growing in America's Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Gary Orfield (310) 267-5562
August 29, 2007

Findings indicate resegregation accelerating even before U.S. Supreme Court's June 2007 decision limiting desegregation policies

LOS ANGELES ¬– The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, one of the nation's leading research centers on issues of civil rights and racial inequality, today released a report examining the growing racial inequality in America's public schools. Offering evidence on how to realize the benefits of integration, the report, Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation and the Need for New Integration Strategies, comes as school districts across the U.S. face the challenge of responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s new limits on desegregation plans.

Co-authored by Civil Rights Project Co-director, Gary Orfield, and Researcher Chungmei Lee, the report shows that resegregation was accelerating long before the Court's June 2007 decision, particularly in the South, where new 2005-06 school year data shows an historic reversal in the region's desegregation leadership.

"Nearly two decades into the resegregation its earlier decisions helped create, the South is losing its huge gains in race relations in the civil rights era,” said Orfield. “The country is likely to become even more separate -- shutting out rapidly growing Latino and Black populations from the strong schools and interracial experience they and our communities need if we are to be an economically and socially successful society. This goal is so important that educators and community leaders must find ways to support integrated schools in spite of the new limits."

The report concludes that for the first time in more than three decades, the South no longer has the nation's most integrated schools and desegregation there is in rapid decline. The report also suggests that the frequently proposed use of social class desegregation as an alternative to assignment by race will be unsuccessful because of a declining relationship between segregation by race and poverty.

- More- Additionally, there is a substantial increase in multiracial schools where such policies would be far less likely to help integrate highly segregated black and Latino students.Findings also show that segregation has been increasing in all parts of the country before the recent court decision, largely because of a series of earlier negative rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in the l990s.

Orfield commented on the massive evidence presented in briefs by researchers to the U.S. Supreme Court last fall. That evidence demonstrated the inequalities of segregated schools along with the educational and social gains found in desegregated schools. Orfield described the Court's decision as an "historic blunder ignoring much more powerful evidence than what was before the Court at the time of Brown v. Board of Education, and sending the country back on a path that failed in thousands of communities embracing 'separate but equal' for six decades before Brown."

The report notes that the Supreme Court decision will invalidate many desegregation plans that currently exist outside the South, and points out that a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education to change the racial categorization of students, if adopted, would make it impossible to effectively measure the impact of the Court's decision on school desegregation. It concludes with recommendations for school districts and communities that are trying to preserve racial diversity given the constraints of the Court's new decision.

Additional Key trends:**White enrollment is down from 80% to 57% of U.S. students from 1968-2005; Latino enrollment has nearly quadrupled.**The percentage of U.S. students poor enough for free lunch has soared and all groups of students now attend schools with higher percentages of poverty than in the past.**Latino students are more segregated than black students, but both groups have a very high and growing isolation from whites.**Asians experience by far the most desegregated schools; whites are the most segregated from other groups.**There are now ten states where less than half of students statewide are white, and most non-white students live in these states.**Black students are now the fourth largest minority group in the West, following Whites, Latinos, and Asians. Black students tend to be segregated in schools with more Latinos than fellow blacks.**There is a powerful relationship between segregation and dropout rates.**America's large suburban school districts are rapidly becoming more diverse and segregation is rapidly spreading into the suburbs...

The report, based on federal school enrollment data, is the latest of more than twenty reports issued under Professor Orfield since the first in 1976, after the federal government stopped issuing regular reports on the progress of desegregation in the nation's schools. The full text of the report is available at: http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Civil-Rights Panel Wants Law Schools Required to Disclose Key Affirmative-Action Data

By PETER SCHMIDT
Washington

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights plans to issue a report today calling for federal and state officials to require law schools to disclose detailed information about their use of affirmative action in admissions and the short- and long-term success of the minority students they enroll.
The report also urges the section of the American Bar Association that accredits law schools to drop a requirement that law schools seeking accreditation demonstrate a commitment to diversity, with a majority of the commission's members arguing that such a requirement infringes on the schools' academic freedom. Among its other recommendations, the report calls for the National Academy of Sciences or some other entity to finance research on the effect of law schools' affirmative-action policies, and it urges state bar associations to cooperate with such studies.
[To read the entire article, go to: http://chronicle.com/daily/2007/08/2007082801n.htm (subscription required). To see the Civil Rights Commission report, go to :http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/AALSreport.pdf and for the Commision's media advisory, go to: http://www.usccr.gov/index.html .]

6th Circuit court says affirmative action appeal is moot

MLive.com (Michigan)
8/28/2007, 5:55 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to letting Michigan voters decide an anti-affirmative action ballot proposal in November 2006, ruling that the issue is moot.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied the appeal by opponents of the constitutional amendment despite agreeing that the measure "found its way on the ballot through methods that undermine the integrity and fairness of our democratic processes."
The three-judge panel, however, said the chance to keep Proposal 2 off the ballot "has long since passed." The measure, which was approved by voters, bans preferential treatment based on race and gender at public universities in Michigan.
Before the 2006 election, U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow in Detroit ruled that opponents proved the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative "committed voter fraud in obtaining signatures in support of the petition." But they did not prove the MCRI violated the federal Voting Rights Act by depriving minorities of equal access to the political process, he said.
The 6th Circuit later refused to grant an injunction to keep the anti-affirmative action proposal off the ballot.
On Tuesday, the appeals panel ruled that opponents of the measure wrongly tried to appeal on a different issue. Other lawsuits challenging all or parts of Proposal 2 continue in federal courts.
[http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/michigan/index.ssf?/base/news-46/118833811645130.xml&storylist=newsmichigan ]

Damned or Doomed—Catalyst Study on Gender Stereotyping at Work Uncovers Double-Bind Dilemmas for Women

Catalyst
Study examines how a "men-as-default-leaders" mindset derails women’s advancement to business leadership

NEW YORK, NY (July 17, 2007)–Gender stereotyping, one of the key barriers to women’s advancement in corporate leadership, leaves women with limited, conflicting, and often unfavorable options no matter how they choose to lead, according to The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don’t, a study released today by Catalyst, the non-profit organization working to advance opportunities for women and business. This report, the third in Catalyst’s in-depth series examining the pervasive and damaging effects of gender stereotyping in the workplace, focuses on the consequences of gender bias and three specific “double-bind dilemmas” frequently experienced by women business leaders. The study also suggests organizational solutions to counter the persistent effects of gender stereotyping.
Catalyst findings strongly suggest that gender stereotypes lead organizations to routinely underestimate and underutilize women’s leadership talent. The 2006 Catalyst Census shows that, even though women make up over 50% of the management, professional, and related occupations, only 15.6% of Fortune 500 corporate officers and 14.6% of Fortune 500 board directors are women. “When companies fail to acknowledge and address the impact of gender stereotypic bias, they lose out on top female talent,” said Catalyst President Ilene H. Lang. “Ultimately, it’s not women’s leadership styles that need to change. Only when organizations take action to address the impact of gender stereotyping will they be able to capitalize on the `full deck’ of talent.”
[For the entire news release, please go to: http://www.catalystwomen.org/pressroom/pressdoublebind.shtml ]

Monday, August 27, 2007

At UVM, no-gender facilities are added

By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press August 26, 2007
Boston Globe

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The University of Vermont's big new student center doesn't just have women's bathrooms and men's bathrooms.
It also has gender-neutral bathrooms, a feature added to accommodate transgendered people, as well as those with some disabilities. The four single bathrooms in the new Dudley H. Davis Center -- each with a toilet, sink, shower, and lockable door -- cost about $2,500 a piece to build. Their wall signs identify each as "gender neutral restroom."
"It's about inclusivity and accessibility and the importance of meeting all people's needs, not just a few," said Annie Stevens, assistant vice president for student and campus life.
UVM isn't the only school trying to make its accommodations more accommodating. At least 17 colleges and universities have included gender-neutral bathrooms in their new construction or in retrofitting residence halls, said Stephanie Gordon, director of educational programs at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
"A multiuse bathroom doesn't necessarily feel safe to transgendered students, because they have concerns about how their gender would be read by others," said Dot Brauer, director of the school's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Ally Services.
A woman who identifies as a man, for example, may not feel welcome in a women's restroom. Transgendered people have been the target of verbal and physical abuse in restrooms and been arrested, or suspected of lewd conduct, according to Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
"There are students whose safety and comfort is compromised," Brauer said.
Kelly, a 19-year-old transgendered UVM student who did not want her last name published, said she has been made to feel "very uncomfortable" in restrooms.
"I think that they're a really important thing to have," she said of the new facilities. "Just because there can be tense situations in gendered bathrooms, especially for trans-identified people, you need a space to use the restroom and feel safe and comfortable."
UVM also offers several gender-neutral residential suites. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/08/26/at_uvm_no_gender_facilities_are_added?mode=PF

Gonzales has been loyal voice for administration

August 27, 2007

(CNN) -- President Bush has placed a lot of faith in Alberto Gonzales over the last 12 years.
Gonzales' resume glistens with appointments and nominations made by the 43rd president: Texas gubernatorial counsel, Texas secretary of state, Texas Supreme Court justice, White House counsel, U.S. attorney general -- the post he is now leaving.
In a 2005 interview, Gonzales, the nation's first Latino attorney general, recalled how he initially garnered Bush's attention when Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, asked him to come work in the White House in 1990.
At the time, Gonzales was an attorney with Vinson & Elkins, a massive Texas law firm that boasted Enron and Halliburton among its clientele, and Gonzales was ready to excel in the private realm.
"I wanted to stay and make partner, and so I said no," Gonzales told the Academy of Achievement of his encounter with the elder Bush.
Five years later, he was approached by the son. "I first got on his radar screen because I had turned his old man down for a job," Gonzales recalled to the academy....

Solidifying his conservative credentials shortly after joining the White House team in 2001, Gonzales took a shot at affirmative action while conceding it may have gotten him where he is today.
"I know that I've been helped because of my ethnicity," Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times. However, he added, "Hispanics should expect nothing more than an equal opportunity. For us to now say that we should be given an opportunity because of our ethnicity, irrespective of our competence, means that we'll be discriminating against someone else who doesn't happen to be Hispanic." [To read the entire article, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/27/gonzales.profile/index.html ]

Bigotry's cheerful enablers

By Richard Lipez
August 27, 2007
Boston Globe

IT'S STILL uncertain when or where shock-jock Don Imus will return to the airwaves, now that he has settled his suit with CBS. But a more interesting question is this: When Imus does come back, will distinguished American media personages such as Frank Rich, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Tom Brokaw continue to show up on his show, lending him respectability and cover for his racist, misogynistic, and gay-baiting rants?
The willingness of apparently decent people, some of them liberal icons, to serve as Imus's cheerful enablers has been one of the more depressing features of the media landscape over the past decade. Tim Russert, Howard Kurtz, Jeff Greenfield, and James Carville all tut-tutted over the "nappy-headed ho's" remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team that got Imus fired last spring. But not one of these people had ever challenged Imus's long history of making or encouraging similar slurs against blacks, women, and gays. African-American journalist Clarence Page did once ask Imus on the air to cut that stuff out. Page was never asked back on the program.
Imus was usually careful not to rail against "fags" and "towel heads" and "our urine-colored brothers" in the middle of an interview with, say, author Goodwin. Most of the hate speech was saved for before and after chats with Goodwin, Tom Oliphant, or Maureen Dowd. On those rare occasions when Imus lost it and spouted some foul epithet or accusation during an interview, more often than not some mild tsk-tsking ensued, or just an awkward silence. Nobody ever had the guts to say to him, "I-Man, you're a mean, ignorant, infantile old fool. When are you going to grow up?"
And this went on for years. The writer Philip Nobile has kept a running record of Imus's bigoted venom. In 1999, when his sidekick news reader Charles McCord reported the indictment of two white state troopers for the attempted murder of two young black athletes on the New Jersey Turnpike, Imus had advice for the athletes: "Eenie-meenie-minie-mo. Get over it."
Imus and his producer, Bernard McGuirk, regularly used epithets like "brillohead," "dark meat," and "knuckle-draggers." Women Imus didn't like were "ugly ho's." (His own attractive wife, Deidre, was merely a "ho" and a "moron.") Lesbians were "that big old lesbo" and far worse. Gays were "fags" and "homos" and "queers." A running gag for a time involved Abner Louima, the New York City man savagely sodomized with a broomstick by two cops, who were convicted of the attack. This was an occasion for many yuks among the I-Man and his friends.
So, as Imus himself might ask, what's the deal here? Why did people who presumably do not hold such irrationally contemptuous views of entire groups of Americans appear on his show, and why did lots of nonbigoted people listen to Imus?
[To read the entire article, go to: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/08/27/bigotrys_cheerful_enablers/ ]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Study Reveals Shrinking Racial Divide in Americans' Beliefs on What Drives Black/White Inequality

Study Reveals Shrinking Racial Divide in Americans' Beliefs on What Drives Black/White Inequality

Newswise - New research from Northeastern University sociologist Matthew O. Hunt reveals a growing convergence of beliefs among major U.S. ethnic groups regarding what drives the socioeconomic divide between blacks and whites in America.
The study, which appears in the flagship journal of sociology, the American Sociological Review, tracks changes from 1977-2004 in Americans' beliefs regarding why blacks are disadvantaged in areas such as jobs, income, and housing.
According to Hunt's study, whites have shown a decline in support for the belief that socioeconomic inequality is due to an innate or genetic inferiority among blacks. Instead, whites are increasingly likely to blame hindered access to quality education and/or a lack of motivation among blacks as root causes for their disadvantages.
Hunt's research also reveals a conservative shift in philosophy among African-Americans and Hispanics. Both of these groups - like whites - show increased belief that lack of motivation among blacks is to blame for socioeconomic inequality. At the same time - and unlike whites - African-Americans and Hispanics also exhibit a clear decline in the belief that racial discrimination drives inequality.
Of the three groups studied, African-Americans are still most likely to view discrimination - and least likely to view motivation - as causes for socioeconomic inequality.
While significant differences in beliefs remain, Hunt believes these changes demonstrate a convergence of beliefs between minority groups and whites; one that could significantly influence race-based public policy in years to come.
"The opinion-shifts for white respondents are mostly continuations of trends we've seen in past research," states Hunt. "What surprised me was the nature and extent of the conservative shifts in views for African-Americans and Hispanics. Given what we know about links between these beliefs and support for public policies designed to counter discrimination, programs such as affirmative action may lose additional ground if Americans' racial attitudes continue to trend in an individualistic direction."
[To see the entire article, go to: http://interestalert.com/story/08230002aaa022be.nw/siteia/AFRIAMER/african_american.html ]

BET Founder Favors Quotas for Black Ownership

From Maynard Institute, August 22, 2007
By Richard Prince

Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson says he favors not only affirmative action, but quotas, and that many black reporters who criticized BET “wanted to prove they could be tough to their white editors.”Johnson is interviewed in the new paperback version of the Washington Post’s series, “Being a Black Man,” (PublicAffairs) which includes some additional material, including an interview of Johnson by Post editor Joe Davidson.“I definitely favor affirmative action,” Johnson said. “I favor affirmative action to the point that I think there should be some way of measuring affirmative action with quotas and other forms of accountability, that says if you benefit from the government you have an affirmative obligation to meet certain goals in the way this money is being allocated or being spent or the way you’re providing job opportunities. I’m saying you have an obligation to go out and find people, and they’re out there. I know because I go out and I find them. So you can’t say you can’t find them.”At another point, Johnson said he prefers “mandated goals to say if you use the public airways, if the public airways belong to the public, we’re going to mandate 30 percent of the radio stations be owned by black people. If you’re getting money from the government — I’m buying X billion dollars with minority suppliers. If you’re getting oil mining rights, I’m going to mandate that there be X number of black-owned gas stations. That’s the only way you’ll get there,” he said, referring to economic parity.Johnson became the first African American billionaire when the parent company of Black Entertainment Television was sold to Viacom for nearly $3 billion in 2000.
[To see the entire article, go to: http://www.freepress.net/news/25696 ]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Earp Urges Employer Representatives to be Proactive in Defusing Potential Bias

NEW YORK--Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Naomi Earp Aug. 23 urged employers to be "proactive" in recognizing workplace issues that could result in discrimination charges if left unattended and to get to know EEOC before a charge is filed.
Speaking at the 25th annual Industry Liaison Group national conference, Earp offered practical tips on ways to keep out of trouble with EEOC to the more than 600 equal employment opportunity specialists attending the meeting.
"Don't discriminate with impunity and if you do, don't tell us about it," Earp quipped, as she related the story of an employer that in its position statement to the commission admitted preferring Hispanics over black applicants in hiring. Such a forthcoming employer did not help its case before the agency, she added.
Employers should not disregard internal complaints of discrimination but rather should respond promptly, Earp said. She warned employers not to procrastinate in addressing EEO complaints since they can become more serious problems if left unaddressed. "Take every single charge seriously," she said...The EEOC chair also implored employers to "be aware of harassment in all its various ilks" ... [To see the entire article, go to: http://pubs.bna.com/ip/bna/dir.nsf/eh/a0b5b0q8w9 Subscription required]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

OFCCP Director Discusses Developments

OFCCP Director Discusses Developments With Contractors' EEO Representatives
Thursday, August 23, 2007

NEW YORK--A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on when pay discrimination claims must be filed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not "directly affect" the obligations of federal contractors to provide data on employee compensation to the Labor Department, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Charles James said Aug. 22.
Speaking at the 25th annual conference of the Industry Liaison Group in New York, James said the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, in which the court held that a female supervisor had waited too long to file a Title VII charge of alleged sex discrimination in pay (103 DLR AA-1, 5/30/07 ), does not change OFCCP procedures that require federal contractors to demonstrate compliance with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits sex discrimination and requires affirmative action.
James, the deputy assistant secretary of labor for federal contract compliance programs since 2001, told more than 600 equal employment opportunity specialists attending the conference that nothing in the Ledbetter decision would permit contractors to refuse to provide compensation data to DOL's OFCCP. The ILG conference brings together industry EEO specialists responsible for compliance with EO 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the veterans' statutes enforced by OFCCP and government personnel from that agency and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the wake of Ledbetter, OFCCP will continue to use its existing standards for determining whether documented differences in pay among similarly situated employee groups amount to unlawful discrimination, James said. He explained that the Supreme Court case involved a "discrete employment action" and was "all about timing" under the applicable statute of limitations under Title VII rather than the "content" of a pay discrimination claim. He pointed out that in reviewing federal contractors' employment policies, OFCCP looks at compensation systems as a whole, and Ledbetter provides no excuse for contractors not to cooperate with agency audits.
James also noted that the House already has passed legislation that would overrule the court's decision in Ledbetter and the bill is now pending before the Senate (147 DLR AA-1, 8/1/07 ). The administration has indicated that if the Senate passes the bill, President Bush would veto the legislation, he said. "All I can say is stay tuned," James said.

[For the entire story, go to: http://pubs.bna.com/ip/bna/dlr.nsf/eh/a0b5a9k0e0 - subscription required]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fight or Flight

Diverse Online
Feature Stories
Fight or Flight
By Jamal Watson
Aug 23, 2007, 09:00

Ted Shaw and other diversity proponents retool while Ward Connerly gloats.
By Jamal Watson

Opponents of higher education affirmative action programs are gearing up to launch their largest attack in recent years. The planned assault comes in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that severely limited the use of race in K-12 integration plans.
“I believe that we are now poised for a coup de grĂ¢ce to say that race preferences in the eyes of the public should not be used,” says Ward Connerly, the chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, a conservative organization based in Sacramento, Calif., that opposes racial and gender preferences.
It was Connerly who orchestrated Proposition 209, a California ballot initiative that outlawed race and gender preferences in state hiring and university admissions. A similar bill passed in Michigan last year.
Now, he is leading a national effort aimed at placing similar anti-affirmative action initiatives on the November 2008 presidential ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
“This is going to be Super Tuesday for equal rights,” Connerly says. “I think it’s very clear that we are witnessing an end to an era.”
The imminent assault on affirmative action has some wondering why more civil rights groups aren’t actively strategizing a defense. One possible explanation is that the groups simply don’t have the money necessary to mount an aggressive campaign. And a legal climate that appears increasingly hostile to affirmative action, combined with indifference from civil rights leaders and younger generations, could signal that the battle may be a losing one.
Dr. William F. Tate, the president of the American Educational Research Association and a professor of education at Washington University in St. Louis, predicts that Connerly’s well-organized and well-financed effort will likely pass in Missouri.
Connerly’s group has raised millions of dollars and is planning to launch public service announcements in the battleground states aimed at convincing voters to abandon state-funded affirmative action programs. Further weakening the ability of pro-affirmative action groups to engage in a serious legal fight is the fact that the highest court in the land is solidly conservative and unsympathetic to affirmative action. In the years since its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision affirmed race-conscious admissions at the University of Michigan, the Court has added Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both staunch conservatives. With five conservative-leaning Justices, most observers were accurately skeptical that the Court would rule in favor of race-conscious school segregation remedies in the recent K-12 cases.
“I think this was an illogical ruling, but no one was really surprised,” says Tate.
It appears that the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is the lone organization that has made this issue its main priority. Even its parent organization, the NAACP, which is a separate nonprofit group, seems to have taken a back seat in the battle. For decades, the NAACP aggressively took on the issue of unequal educational opportunities, but the major highlight of this year’s annual convention was the symbolic burial — with a casket and pallbearers — of the “N” word.
Ted Shaw says he isn’t willing to concede defeat to anti-affirmative action groups.
Observers generally agree that there appears to be a degree of complacency among some Blacks, particularly the older generation, who wonder whether affirmative action is the most pressing issue facing the community.

[To see the entire article, go to: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_9203.shtml ]

A Successful Plan for Racial Balance Now Finds Its Future Uncertain

New York Times
August 22, 2007
On Education
By JOSEPH BERGER
WHITE PLAINS

For 18 years, this city of 55,000 has maintained racially balanced schools without the white flight that has followed integration plans in places like Boston and Canarsie, Brooklyn.
But in June, the Supreme Court rejected school assignment plans in Louisville and Seattle that, like the one in White Plains, are also based explicitly on race. And there are fears that should a court turn down White Plains’s plan in the future, white families may abandon some of the neighborhood schools. That is not a fear restricted to White Plains, as dozens of other cities are having to reconsider similar plans.
“The demographics in some of the schools might change dramatically, and I don’t know how parents in those schools would feel about the demographics,” is the discreetly worded warning from Laurette Young, who administers the White Plains plan.
As in most cities, housing in White Plains, the Westchester County seat that has sprouted skyscrapers among its suburban patches, is identifiable by race. The southern end is dappled with tree-shaded homes inhabited mostly by white families, while the northwest has housing projects populated by black families and aging apartments crowded with Latinos.
Under a strict neighborhood zoning plan, children of those northwestern black and Hispanic families would be assigned to the Post Road School, but so would children from adjoining middle-class white enclaves, and it is not clear how many would attend if they were reduced to a tiny minority.
Conversely, school officials believe the south end’s Ridgeway School would be stripped of the ethnic palette that residents have long prized.
In 1989, White Plains, tired of perennially gerrymandering for racial balance, began a “controlled choice” plan that essentially jettisoned neighborhood zones and required each school to have the same proportions of blacks, Hispanics and “others,” a term that includes whites and Asians. The plan allowed for a discrepancy among schools of only 5 percent. Similar plans had been adopted in Cambridge and Fall River, Mass., and copied by Milwaukee, San Jose, Calif., and dozens of other cities.
White Plains’s plan takes pains to give parents genuine choices. In January and February, parents of entering kindergartners visit elementary schools and rank their top three picks. A family will get first choice, which 90 percent of families do, unless the number of applicants of that child’s race exceeds certain caps, which at a school with 100 kindergartners might be 13 blacks, 46 Hispanics, and 41 “others.”
Should that happen, a lottery is held for all students in that racial group, with assigned numbers on colored slips of paper picked out of a basket at a public meeting. Remaining kindergartners get second choice or, rarely, third.
Buses are provided for students living more than half a mile from school. The plan also balances assignments at the two campuses of the middle school.
As a result of the plan, enrollment at each elementary school is roughly 45 percent Hispanic, 17 percent black, and 37 percent other. Officials say the plan works because transparent rules are enforced without favoritism. No school is more overcrowded or receives more dollars. All groups share the burdens and benefits of integration, though the unspoken assumption is that white parents will send their children to public schools only up to a murky “tipping point.”
“Over the history of the plan, no school has emerged as most desirable or least desirable, so no racial group is disadvantaged by not getting into that school,” said Saul Yanofsky, a former superintendent who spearheaded efforts to draw up the plan.
While the plan would not work in many cities — either because they have too few whites or schools too geographically spread out — in White Plains it has, by most accounts, been a success. Although enrollment has grown to more than 7,000 largely as a result of a Latino influx, schools have retained roughly the same number, if not the proportions, of whites and blacks that they had in 1989. That is not the usual urban pattern.
Achievement levels in the schools are comparable. At Ridgeway, 76 percent of fourth graders passed the state’s English test in 2005; in Post Road, 67 percent did. At the end of the line, the high school, with 17 Advanced Placement courses, gets top graduates into Harvard and Yale.
[To see the entire article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/education/22education.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin ]

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Employers' Biggest Legal Mistakes

Employers' Biggest Legal Mistakes
Workforce Management
Ten things that can explode into costly lawsuits, unionization and an unhappy workforce.
By Rob Gilmore

What are the biggest employee-related mistakes employers make these days? And how can you defuse these potential time bombs before they explode into costly disputes? Here's a quick overview of the top 10 employer mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Failing to establish an effective sexual harassment policy. Recent Supreme Court decisions hold employers liable for their supervisors' actions unless complaining employees fail to take advantage of company complaint procedures. In light of these rulings, implementing policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment is more important than ever. It is also essential that supervisors be trained on these policies and procedures. Finally, an employer must act in a timely manner to investigate all sexual harassment complaints that are brought to its attention.
2. Failing to pay overtime to nonexempt employees. Many employers pay employees a salary regardless of the number of hours they work and whether they are subject to the wage and hour laws. Unless they are exempt as administrative, executive or professional employees, you must pay them time-and-a-half their regular hourly pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. When in doubt about whether an employee is exempt, pay him or her hourly wages. This will avoid having to pay back wages if you're audited by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.
3. Failing to complete I-9 forms for new employees. Many employers merely photocopy employee-produced documents without filling out the parts of the forms that describe the documents. This can be a costly mistake if the Immigration and Naturalization Service audits you. (One employer was reportedly fined $100,000.) You are not required to photocopy employee-produced documents, but even if you do, you must fill out the forms completely.
4. Failing to take and document disciplinary actions. Supervisors, not wanting to be perceived as villains, hate to write up employees. Then, when the company can no longer tolerate unsatisfactory performances, the files do not document the poor records and you have no grounds on which to justify discharges. This leaves you open to lawsuits alleging discrimination. Employees who have been discharged for poor performance often have glowing evaluations in their files. This can expose you to lawsuits.
5. Failing to quickly discharge poor performers. Employers are advised to progressively discipline employees and to give one warning too many rather than one too few. But often a time comes when failure to act is as bad as overreacting. If you have retained employees for many years despite poor attendance records, multiple infractions and even several ``final'' warnings in their files, you are asking for trouble. These employees are most likely to sue when finally discharged. The best course is to discharge a poor performer as soon as prudently feasible. The more seniority an employee has, the harder to justify discharging him or her.
6. You must be sure that laying off a group of employees has no disparate impact on any protected group. To avoid lawsuits, verify that the group doesn't contain a disproportionately high percentage of age-protected employees or employees of a particular ethnic or racial group or sex compared to the rest of the work force. The decision of who will be laid off should be based on objective criteria, such as qualifications, experience, and ability to perform certain work essential to the company. If the decision to lay off one employee as opposed to another is based on such criteria, make sure the file supports this decision.

[To view the entire article, go to: http://www.workforce.com/archive/article/23/48/94.php ]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Missouri Secretary of State Thanks AAAA for its support

On August 14, 2007, Robin Carnahan, the Missouri Secretary of State, wrote to Dr. Robert Ethridge, Co-Chair, AAAA Task Force on Equity in the States, thanking the association for its support of her efforts to honestly describe the so-called civil rights initiative. The letter states:

"Dear Dr. Ethridge:

I read with interest your recent letter to the Kansas City Star regarding the lawsuit over ballot summary language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban affirmative action programs.

As Missouri's Secretary of State, it is my job to provide the voters of Missouri with ballot language that is fair, impartial and complies with the law. This is a job I take very seriously because Missourians deserve to be able to clearly understand what they are voting on, regardless of the issue.

I do appreciate your support, and please rest assured I will continue to perform my duties as Missouri's Secretary of State fairly and in accordance with the law.

Best regards,

Sincerely yours,



Robin Carnahan
Secretary of State"

Congratulations to Dr. Ethridge and the AAAA Task Force on Equity in the States for its leadership.

Affirmative Action Still In Play, Says Departing LDF Leader

Diverse Online
Current News
By Jamal Watson Aug 19, 2007, 22:34

Theodore M. Shaw, president-director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund who is stepping down February 2008, talks to Diverse about his future plans and the ongoing fight to end inequality in education. He also has some choice words for anti-affirmative action advocate Ward Connerly.

Earlier this year, Theodore M. Shaw, president-director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, announced that he was planning to step down in February 2008.
Shaw became the fifth person to lead the 67-year-old organization in May 2004. Shaw first joined the LDF in 1982, after working as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice under the Carter administration. There, he litigated civil rights cases throughout the country at the trial and appellate levels, and in the U.S. Supreme Court.
But when President Reagan was elected in 1981, the Columbia University-trained law school graduate knew that it was time for him to leave. He felt that Reagan’s policies and record on civil rights was lacking and felt that he needed a forum to litigate around issues that affect people of color. In 1990, Shaw left the LDF to join the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, but returned after just three years to become the associate director-counsel of LDF. When Elaine Jones stepped down as director in 2004, Shaw took over the helm of the organization. Diverse recently sat down with Shaw to talk with him about his career at LDF and the future of race relations.

Diverse: Why have you decided to step down from the Legal Defense and Education Fund?

TS: I’ve been at the Legal Defense Fund for almost all of the last 25 years and I’ve been practicing civil rights law for almost 30 years. It’s a good chunk of time. I believe deeply that one should not stay in one place forever and particularly when one is in the leadership position. The truth of the matter is that the work I’ve loved more than anything else is litigation, wrestling with the issues. In this position, fund raising and administrative work is essential to the organization, but is not why I came here, and it’s not what I think my strength is, though I think it’s a necessity, and I’ve done it and I continue to do it.

But more importantly, on a personal level, I’ve been thinking about the rest of my life and the opportunities that are open to me now that may not be open to me 10 years from now, and I think it’s important to pass it on and to know when to do that. I have no desire or intention to leave the issues that I care about. I can’t do that anymore than a leopard can change its spot. On the other hand, there may be another way to weigh in on these issues. I’ve spent some time in and out of academia in my career. The only three years I was away from the Legal Defense Fund were my three years teaching law school full-time at the University of Michigan. When I think about what I want to do, academia or a place to think and write is at the top of my list, but I haven’t decided yet.

Diverse: You’ve been involved in a wide range of issues from opposing the death penalty to voter registration. Yet, you are most often associated with the battle to preserve affirmative action. Where is our nation on this issue?

TS: A lot of people don’t really understand affirmative action, and too many people including people of color, Black people, are willing to cut and run, saying we lost that battle when this battle is still very much in play. They don’t understand what is at stake, and they think that the things that are very near and dear to them are safe when in fact they are in the cross hairs of our adversaries.

Diverse: What do you think of Ward Connerly and others who are fighting to eliminate race-conscious affirmative action programs?

TS: There are a lot of people who may be confused and people who in good faith struggle with affirmative action, but the people who are leading this fight are not confused about what they are doing, and many of them are pursuing an old agenda. It’s old wine in new bottles. The fact that you have someone like Ward Connerly serving that interest doesn’t in any way change or dilute what their agenda is. There have always been Black folks unfortunately who have been willing to serve their master. I think that what is most important for all Americans to understand is that if our adversaries get their way, nothing less than all voluntary attempts to address racial inequality would be illegal. You couldn’t have programs aimed at addressing this crisis among Black boys and Black young men because they are race conscious by definition. You couldn’t have scholarships for minority students. You couldn’t have mentoring programs that are specifically aimed at minority students.

[For the entire article, go to: http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_9177.shtml

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OFCCP Update on EEO-1 Categories for AAPs

The OFCCP has issued interim guidance on the use of race and ethnic categories in affirmative action programs. The agency will allow contractors whose systems have been updated to conform with the EEOC's new racial and ethnic categories to use these data in their affirmative action programs (AAPs). They may also use the racial and ethnic categories used on the old form. The revised Standard Form 100 (EEO-1) must be filed by September 30, 2007. Until OFCCP issues final regulations, it will not cite a contractor for non-compliance solely because it chooses to use the new categories in its AAP. The interim guidance follows:

Interim Guidance on the use of Race and Ethnic Categories in Affirmative Action Programs

Beginning in 2007, employers, including Federal contractors, will report data about the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of their workforces on a revised Standard Form 100, Employer Information Report (commonly referred to as the "EEO-1 Report"). The revised EEO-1 Report must be filed for the first time by September 30, 2007.
The existing EEO-1 Report calls for workforce data to be broken down by nine job categories, using five race and ethnic categories. The revised EEO-1 Report changes the race and ethnic categories by adding a new category titled "two or more races" and dividing the category "Asian or Pacific Islander" into two separate categories - "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders." In addition, the approved revisions divide the Officials and Managers job category into two subgroups - Executives/ Senior Level and First/Mid Level Officials. More information about the revised EEO-1 Report, including a series of frequently asked questions and answers, may be found on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website at http://www.dol.gov/cgi-bin/leave-dol.asp?exiturl=http://www.eeoc.gov/eeo1/index.html&exitTitle=Equal_Employment_Opportunity_Commission&fedpage=yes
OFCCP currently requires contractors to collect and maintain information about the gender, race, and ethnicity of their employees in the five race and ethnic categories used on the previous EEO-1 Report: Blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaskan Natives. In light of the changes to the EEO-1 Report, OFCCP is drafting proposed amendments to the recordkeeping and affirmative action program (AAP) regulations at 41 CFR parts 60-1 and 60-2 designed to require the use of consistent race and ethnic categories in the Executive Order program. The agency plans on publishing its proposed regulatory changes in the Federal Register for a sixty-day public comment period in the near future. The agency will review and consider the public comments before deciding on the final race and ethnic categories contractors will be required to use under the Executive Order
OFCCP understands that many contractors already have taken significant steps to develop and implement new data systems for collecting and reporting the race and ethnicity data required by the revisions to the EEO-1 Report, while other contractors have either delayed implementation, awaiting further instructions from the OFCCP, or faced difficulty in making the required system changes. OFCCP also recognizes that contractors will need to begin collecting data under these new standards before they are able to use such data in their AAPs and other records produced during compliance evaluations.
Accordingly, until final rules and guidance are provided by OFCCP, as a matter of enforcement discretion, the agency will not cite a contractor for non-compliance solely because it utilizes the race and ethnic categories required by the revised EEO-1 Report when preparing its AAP. Contractors also are permitted to prepare their AAP using the racial and ethnic categories provided under OFCCP's current regulations.
Nothing in this interim guidance is intended to prohibit more detailed data collection by a contractor. Thus, contractors are free to collect and maintain more detailed demographic data than is required to complete the revised EEO-1 Report. OFCCP commends efforts by contractors to collect and analyze workforce data in a manner that allows them to meaningfully examine their progress towards equal employment opportunity.
This announcement also has no effect on how the agency will examine a contractor's overall good faith efforts, or its compliance with recordkeeping, nondiscrimination or affirmative action requirements, beyond the above interim enforcement guidance. OFCCP will continue to rely on Census data, labor market data, or other information to assess a contractor's employment practices when the contractor has not maintained sufficiently detailed information regarding the effect of its employment practices on minorities and women.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/ofccp/EEO-1%20Interim%20Guidance.htm

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Scary Origins of Chief Justice Roberts's Decision Opposing the Use of Race to Promote Integration

8-06-07
The Scary Origins of Chief Justice Roberts's Decision Opposing the Use of Race to Promote Integration
http://hnn.us/articles/41501.html
By Nancy MacLean

Chief Justice John G. Roberts reversed a half-century of precedent and progress on civil rights with his decision on school desegregation. That was the prerogative granted him by the President and the party who entrusted him to shift the Supreme Court to the right.
But no one should grant Roberts a free pass when he says "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. " His opinion has its lineage in a well-documented conservative strategy to hijack civil rights rhetoric to roll back advances toward substantive equality.
Roberts's decision, which denied local communities the right to choose race-conscious methods, is replete with quotable phrases from the lexicon conservative strategists honed in their think tanks in the 1970s and then carried into the nation's courtrooms through their various legal societies.
Roberts claimed to be upholding the spirit of Brown v. Board of Education. Yet the conservative movement that put him on the bench bitterly opposed the Brown decision and has fought every serious civil rights initiative since.
The year after Brown, 1955, as Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery bus boycott to victory, William F. Buckley, Jr. launched the National Review to "stand athwart history, yelling Stop." It is no secret that Roberts has worked with the Federalist Society and other conservative legal organizations favored by the National Review.
"National Review was part of a larger movement that created institutions which shaped and trained several thousand young conservatives," as Irving Kristol has written, "to go into the Republican party and take control of it." Scholars, too, cite the magazine's founding as the start of the movement that brought Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush to the White House. Reagan and Bush, in turn, appointed the justices who drove the recent school ruling.
So how did National Review greet the Brown decision? Frank Meyer, its founding co-editor and the leading conservative movement builder in the formative years, called the high court's decision a "rape of the Constitution."
To fight the implementation of Brown, Buckley and Meyer forged an alliance with the intellectual architect of "massive resistance," James Jackson Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick's agitation against school desegregation as editor of the Richmond News Leader earned him praise as "one of the South's most talented leaders" from the Mississippi-based white Citizens' Councils then working to crush the civil rights movement.
Buckley traded mailing lists with this avid white supremacist organization in 1958, assuring its leader that "Our position on states' rights is the same as your own." Indeed, it was. What made "the White community" in the South "entitled" to use any means necessary to keep blacks from voting, Buckley had editorialized the year before, was that "it is the advanced race" so its "claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage."
Northerners like Buckley and Meyer allied with southern segregationists not only from racism, however, but also from shared conservative convictions, not least what they called the "original intent" of the Constitution. The pioneers of this tradition were defenders of slavery in the antebellum era and its apologists thereafter. They used their peculiar readings of the Constitution to limit what democratic government could do for its citizens, an approach embraced today by the Federalist Society and the conservative block on the Supreme Court.
Buckley and his allies fought the quest for social justice at every turn. They urged the defeat of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and every measure to promote true fairness thereafter. National Review warned that the Civil Rights Act "would undermine the most precious rights of property." "The whole basis of individual liberty is destroyed," it insisted, when "the citizen's right to discriminate" is denied.
Yet the civil rights movement so altered American culture that even conservatives learned they must update their sales pitch. They were tutored by northern neo-conservatives like Irving Kristol, who in 1964 warned Buckley of the "political folly" of arguing against school desegregation "in terms of racial differences." Buckley and his allies wisely dropped the racial rationales and most now say that they regret their earlier arguments.
But their core commitments stayed the same. To fight social justice, conservative spokesmen simply mastered the art of rhetorical jujitsu. They seized the civil rights movement's greatest strength--its moral power-to defeat its goals. They complained less and less that civil rights measures violated property rights, aided communists or elevated racial inferiors. Instead, conservatives claimed that civil rights measures themselves discriminated.
"I am getting to be like the Catholic convert who became more Catholic than the Pope," Kilpatrick marveled in 1978 about his own altered phraseology. "If it is wrong to discriminate by reason of race or sex," intoned the outspoken enemy of civil rights, "well, then, it is wrong to discriminate by reason of race or sex."
The former segregationists now portrayed themselves as the true advocates of fairness. They framed "the egalitarians," in Kilpatrick's words, as "worse racists--much worse racists--than the old Southern bigots." Color blindness, conservatives had come to see, offered the most promising strategy to defeat the push for equality.
Stealing civil rights language for rhetorical jujitsu attacks on the civil rights movement was a calculated strategy. In its 1981 Mandate for Leadership for the Reagan administration, the Heritage Foundation explained: "For twenty years, the most important battle in the civil rights field has been for control of language," particularly words such as "equality" and "opportunity." "The secret to victory, whether in court or in congress," it advised, "has been to control the definition of these terms."
The Federalist Society, with which Chief Justice Roberts has collaborated and to which the Bush administration looks for judicial nominees, avidly promotes this maneuver.
That's little wonder. The president of the Federalist Society is Eugene B. Meyer, the home-schooled son of the conservative movement tactician and National Review co-editor who declared the Brown decision "a rape of the Constitution." Back when the elder Meyer wrote, conservatives were truthful about who they were and which side they took.

Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims in Hiring

Workforce Management, August 14, 2007

Employers must prepare for more age discrimination claims arising from the hiring process as the labor pool ages and courts reject traditional legal defenses. Shifts in demographic trends and judicial reasoning have combined to set the stage for a rapid rise in the risks posed by unsuccessful job candidates who fall within the protected class of workers age 40 and older under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. By Fay Hansen

Employers must prepare for more age discrimination claims arising from the hiring process as the labor pool ages and courts reject traditional legal defenses. Shifts in demographic trends and judicial reasoning have combined to set the stage for a rapid rise in the risks posed by unsuccessful job candidates who fall within the protected class of workers age 40 and older under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In 2000, 23 percent of the U.S. population was in the 45-84 age group. By 2010, this portion will rise to 37.2 percent, and by 2020 it will hit 39 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A new survey from Pew Research found that 70 percent of today’s workers expect to work after retirement. The surge of older workers remaining in or re-entering the workforce underscores the importance of training recruiters and hiring managers to avoid age discrimination charges.In addition, the courts have signaled that they are prepared to entertain a broader approach to age discrimination claims. In February 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit put employers on notice that age discrimination claims arising from the hiring process will get a full hearing if the employer’s defense appears to be pretext. In D’Cunha v. Genovese/Eckerd, an older applicant qualified for a pharmacist position in a phone screening but was then rejected in favor of a younger candidate after the face-to-face interview. Eckerd was unable to demonstrate a nondiscriminatory reason for rejecting the older candidate. Juries are aging along with the workforce. "Age claims present unique risks," says Ron Chapman Jr., shareholder at Ogletree Deakins in Dallas. "Every juror can relate to growing old. Juries are more likely to identify with the plaintiff." "We will see a new wave of age-related claims," says Connie Bertram, partner in Winston & Strawn’s Washington office. "Employers need to start thinking about the age spread in various positions and make sure they pay the same attention to age as they do to race and gender in the hiring process." In fiscal 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 16,548 charges of age discrimination, resolved 14,146 charges and recovered $51.5 million in monetary benefits, not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation.
Although there are fewer age discrimination claims than race or gender claims, plaintiffs in age claims are more likely to be successful and the money amounts are generally higher, Bertram reports. She advises employers to adjust any obvious imbalances in the age composition of their workforce and to boost efforts to train recruiters and managers to avoid age discrimination issues in the hiring process.Weakened defense "The potential for an increase in age discrimination claims is rising for two key reasons," says Dominic Messiha, shareholder at Littler Mendelson in Los Angeles. "First, for the past five to seven years at both the federal and state level, court decisions have weakened the defense against age discrimination claims. Secondly, particularly in the retail sector, the decisive shift toward a focus on youth in marketing and sales may lead employers into dangerous territory."

[To see the entire article and related stories, go to: http://www.workforce.com/section/06/feature/25/05/47/index.html ]

Monday, August 13, 2007

White Paper on Implications of Michigan's Proposal 2 Available

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights released a white paper on the implications of Michigan's Proposal 2006-2 ("Proposal 2" - Anti-Affirmative Action) prepared by the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights et al. The paper concludes that programs seeking to expand opportunities for groups without disadvantaging others on the basis of race or gender should remain legally permissible.

For a copy of the paper, please go to: http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/2005website/policy/affirmativeaction/images/MI%20Prop%202%20Memo.pdf

Race (Still) Matters

Inside Higher Education, August 13, 2007

Advocates for black students have long turned to social scientists for help. Think of Kenneth Clark’s experiments with children and black and white dolls, work that was cited in Brown v. Board of Education. More recently, social scientists were mobilized to file briefs (with some success) on behalf of landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2003 that upheld affirmative action in public college admissions in some circumstances and (without success) in this year’s Supreme Court decision rejecting two school districts’ use of race in school assignments.

With voters and the courts increasingly skeptical of affirmative action in college admissions, scholars gathered at the annual meeting Sunday of the American Sociological Association presented new research designed to shift the debate. The scholars, all supporters of affirmative action, said that they recognized that arguments were being shot down if based only on the lack of diversity that would result from the elimination of affirmative action. If voters are warned that ending affirmative action will result in sharp drops in black and Latino enrollments, voters (or at least white voters) will go ahead and abolish affirmative action, speakers said.

As a result, the research presented was less about the fact that eliminating affirmative action results in such enrollment shifts, but that such drops do not mean that black students (the focus of much of the discussion) have not demonstrated “merit.” Robert T. Teranishi, assistant professor of higher education at New York University, said that his research was designed to counter the “blaming the victim” mentality in which he said people assume black enrollment declines suggest a lack of merit by black students.

The reality, he said, is that a new form of school segregation has taken hold in which in post-affirmative action California, the best way for a black or Latino student to get into a University of California campus is to attend a “white” high school.

Teranishi’s research focuses on California high schools and the relationship between attending high schools with certain characteristics and enrolling at a University of California campus. He started by noting that while California is famous for its ethnic and racial diversity (in statewide totals), 88 percent of high schools have a racial majority of one group. Of those schools, he said, 44.7 percent have a white majority, while 43.4 percent have a black or Latino majority. But among new University of California students, 65.3 percent come from white majority schools and only 21.7 percent come from black or Latino majority schools.

From there, Teranishi presented data showing educational inequities in the different kinds of schools, such as studies showing that the greater the proportion of black and Latino students in a high school, the fewer Advanced Placement courses that are likely to be offered.

The cumulative impact of these inequities is such that minority students who are admitted to top University of California campuses are more likely to have attended white majority schools than other schools.

[To read the entire article, go to: http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/13/race]

OFCCP: Two Federal Contractors Agree to Pay $978,000

Daily Labor Report, August 13, 2007

HOUSTON--Two federal contractors in Louisiana and Texas have agreed to pay more than $978,000 to 1,000 rejected job applicants to settle allegations of hiring discrimination by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the agency announced Aug. 8. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP will pay $749,000 in back pay and interest to 399 black applicants who were rejected for the position of utility worker at its Port Hudson Facility in Zachary, La. OFCCP investigators found that a literacy test used by Georgia-Pacific as part of its job-screening process there in 2002 and 2003 adversely affected black applicants.
The company agreed to correct any discriminatory practices and hire 24 utility workers from the class members who were discriminated against, OFCCP said.

Modular building manufacturer Comark Building Systems in DeSoto, Texas, will pay $229,534 in back pay and interest to 740 rejected job applicants for the position of plant laborer. The company allegedly rejected 122 female applicants based on sex and as many as 620 male and female applicants based on ethnicity from May 2003 to April 2005, OFCCP said.
Under terms of the conciliation agreement, Comark will provide 24 positions and immediately correct any discriminatory practices.

[To read the entire article, go to: http://pubs.bna.com/ip/bna/dlr.nsf/eh/a0b4z7e7h7 (Requires subscription)]

Friday, August 10, 2007

Curator’s role in suit questioned

Wasinger law firm represents affirmative action opponents.
By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER of The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 9, 2007
columbiatribune.com/News

As a University of Missouri curator, David Wasinger has sworn to uphold affirmative action laws in hiring and admissions at the system’s four campuses.
As a private attorney, Wasinger and a colleague are aiding the effort to persuade voters in 2008 to dismantle racial and gender preferences in public employment, contracting and education.
Opponents of the anti-affirmative action proposal, known as the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, call Wasinger’s involvement a conflict of interest. "This is an initiative that can do harm to the university and its admissions policy," said Jim Kottmeyer, a Democratic political activist.
Wasinger said those concerns are politically motivated by allies of state Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat who plans to challenge Republican Gov. Matt Blunt next year.
Kottmeyer is a former executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party. Jane Dueker, former chief legal counsel to Democratic Gov. Bob Holden, is one of three attorneys challenging the ballot initiative’s wording in Cole County Circuit Court on behalf of two Missouri residents. Joining Dueker in that effort is Chuck Hatfield, treasurer of Nixon’s campaign committee and his former chief of staff.
Blunt appointed Wasinger to the Board of Curators in 2005 to fill a seat reserved for Democrats.
The curators’ conflict-of-interest policy prohibits members from voting or "attempting to influence the decision of the university" on any issues that would result in "material ... or personal financial gain." Under that standard, Wasinger’s dual duties would seem acceptable, barring a curator vote to support or oppose the ballot proposal. But the perception of undue influence remains, said Gwen Grant of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.
Wasinger said his role in the case is secondary behind colleague James Cole of the Murphy Wasinger law firm. While the names of both men appear on a July 26 court petition challenging the wording of proposed ballot summary, Wasinger said that his name is included because he directs the firm’s litigation and that Cole is the lead attorney. However, Dueker said Wasinger has taken a more active role. [For the entire story, go to: http://www.columbiatribune.com/2007/Aug/20070809News015.asp ]

Thursday, August 9, 2007

MU minority program opened to all

By RAE NUDSON
Columbia Missourian
August 8, 2007 2:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA - An MU summer workshop for minority students was opened to all students after a lawsuit accused the Dow Jones-sponsored program of racial discrimination.
The Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop, previously known as Dow Jones AHANA Workshop, dropped race from its admission requirements this summer. Doris Barnhart, an MU administrative assistant who works with the workshop, said that until this year, the workshop was strictly for minorities.
The changes followed a federal lawsuit against the Dow Jones minority program, which is held at other schools in addition to MU. The lawsuit was filed by the national Center for Individual Rights, an organization against affirmative action.
The action against the Urban Journalism Workshop is part of a bigger movement to stop the use of race as a requirement in higher education.
In a similar action, the Center for Equal Opportunity filed a complaint against MU with the federal Office for Civil Rights as part of its effort to stop race-based requirements in universities across the country. The center, a national organization that works against affirmative action and promotes assimilation of immigrants, filed the complaint in March 2005, alleging illegal race discrimination in MU’s financial aid programs.
“There are a number of programs at the University of Missouri that are racially exclusive, meaning that you cannot participate in them if you don’t belong to a specific racial or ethnic group,” said center President Roger Clegg.
The center specifically made the complaint against scholarships and financial aid for minority students. It has also filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights against Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and others, Clegg said.
These actions are part of nationwide efforts to rid higher education of government-sponsored race- and gender-based requirements for programs and scholarships.
The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative is a proposed amendment to the state constitution, slated for the November 2008 ballot, that would prohibit the government from granting preferential treatment based on race or gender. The amendment is supported by a coalition of people from across the state who claim socio-economic status considered instead of race as a way to determine status in programs, according to the Web site missouricri.org. The site also says the initiative would affect public education, public employment and public contracting.
[For the entire story, go to: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2007/08/08/mu-minority-program-opened-all/ ]

Confronting a new era in diversity

By Mark A. Emmert
Mon Aug 6, 4:00 AM ET

Access to equal opportunity distinguishes and strengthens the United States. The country has aggressively pursued this ideal over the past 50 years with federal policies and court decisions that opened colleges and universities to ethnic and racial populations that had historically been vastly underrepresented.
Affirmative action, the federal program that was most influential in helping build diverse campuses, has been slowly but demonstrably eroded over the past 10 years through a combination of statewide referenda and now the latest Supreme Court decision limiting the use of race in school choice.
These incursions have occurred despite the conviction of a vast array of business leaders, government officials, and university administrators that for the past 35 years, affirmative action has been a remarkably successful tool in the quest for equity in access to higher education.
Five key states – collectively enrolling over half a million students each year – currently are operating under severe constraints regarding the use of race as a factor in admissions decisions. The electorate in three states – California, Washington, and Michigan – has emphatically voted to abolish the use of affirmative action in public university admissions. Two other populous states – Texas and Florida – have implemented admissions processes that have limited or eliminated the use of affirmative action. On the horizon, we can see efforts to eradicate affirmative action being mounted in additional states for the 2008 election cycle.
What had been a national policy is being dismantled, state by state. Each state that has abandoned affirmative action has had to ascertain separately its legal ability and the boundaries that would allow it to foster diversity. Because each state's context differs, America is developing fragmented solutions to the challenge of maintaining a diverse student body, a challenge that many courts continue to see as a "compelling interest" for the nation.
And because the US has gone from a national policy to a set of disparate solutions, it faces a conundrum: Even as university leaders in post-affirmative-action states support the goals of a highly diversified student body, they must show that without the tool of affirmative action, they can still build a diverse, talented, highly competitive student population.
For university presidents and administrators like myself, who have grown up in a world where affirmative action was solidly embraced, it has been an awakening to find ourselves leading institutions that must now accomplish diversity without using the tool of affirmative action. I recognize the significant role that policy has played, and I do not wish its elimination where it is still permitted. But without it, we must work very hard to increase all types of diversity at our institutions.
In the states that have had to create new policies in the absence of affirmative action, there have been successes and disappointments, and we have seen that it can take years to begin to recover from the elimination of this tool.
What we discovered in Washington was that there are other ways to ensure diversity and access to higher education, particularly by taking socioeconomic factors into account. One essential element was undertaking an intensive effort to encourage more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to the university. This meant convincing them that there was indeed a place for them at an institution like ours, that they were welcome, and that they could be successful here.
Additionally, we had to find a way to take economic considerations off the table. Many universities, including Washington, have instituted programs ensuring that students from low and lower-middle income families will be able to attend college tuition-free, creating a compelling new approach to diversity and recognizing the impact of economic standing.
We have also adopted a holistic admissions review process, a labor-intensive enterprise that is well worth the effort. The more we can know about each individual student who applies, the better informed our admissions decisions are. The results so far are promising: The academic level of our entering students is as good as it had been prior to holistic review, and the student body is more diverse.
All of us – whether or not we still can use affirmative action – need to pool our collective experience and data to establish the best ways of being accessible to applicants from all strata of our society. We know that critical elements include increased outreach, improvements to financial aid, and holistic admission models. We have been told by corporate leaders, by elected officials, and by the armed forces, that more diverse organizations are better organizations. Indeed, our own experiences in overseeing universities demonstrates this fact. Entry to our universities and colleges provides the opportunity for many to rise economically and improve their lives and add to the vigor of our nation. It is a key to our future success and should be accessible to all.
Mark A. Emmert is president of the University of Washington.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20070806/cm_csm/yemmert

Minorities Now Form Majority in One-Third of Most-Populous Counties

New York Times
August 9, 2007
By SAM ROBERTS

In a further sign of the United States’ growing diversity, nonwhites now make up a majority in almost one-third of the most-populous counties in the country and in nearly one in 10 of all 3,100 counties, according to an analysis of census results to be released today.
The shift reflects the growing dispersal of immigrants and the suburbanization of blacks and Hispanics pursuing jobs generated by whites moving to the fringes of metropolitan areas.
From July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, metropolitan Chicago edged out Honolulu in Asian population, and Washington inched ahead of El Paso in the number of Hispanic residents. In black population, Houston overtook Los Angeles.
“The new wave of immigration, along with its continued dispersal to the suburbs and Sun Belt, is transforming the places which are now being classified as multiethnic and majority minority,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.
“The new melting pots are not large international gateways,” Professor Frey said, adding, “Rather, many are fast-growing suburbs themselves.”
In 36 counties with more than 500,000 residents each, non-Hispanic whites are now a minority, up from 29 counties of that size in 2000.
From 2005 to 2006 alone, eight other mostly less-populous counties shifted to a majority of minorities, the Census Bureau said. They were Denver, Colo.; East Baton Rouge Parish, La.; Winkler, Waller and Wharton in Texas; Blaine, Mont.; Colfax, N.M.; and Manassas Park, Va., an independent city that is considered the equivalent of a county.
[For the entire story, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/09/us/09census.html

For the US Census Bureau press release and report, go to: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010482.html ]

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Universities Install Footbaths to Benefit Muslims, and Not Everyone Is Pleased

New York Times
August 7, 2007

By TAMAR LEWIN
Correction Appended
DEARBORN, Mich. — When pools of water began accumulating on the floor in some restrooms at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the sinks pulling away from the walls, the problem was easy to pinpoint. On this campus, more than 10 percent of the students are Muslims, and as part of ritual ablutions required before their five-times-a-day prayers, some were washing their feet in the sinks.
The solution seemed straightforward. After discussions with the Muslim Students’ Association, the university announced that it would install $25,000 foot-washing stations in several restrooms.
But as a legal and political matter, that solution has not been quite so simple. When word of the plan got out this spring, it created instant controversy, with bloggers going on about the Islamification of the university, students divided on the use of their building-maintenance fees, and tricky legal questions about whether the plan is a legitimate accommodation of students’ right to practice their religion — or unconstitutional government support for that religion.
“It’s an awkward thing,” said Alexis Oesterle, a junior. “If I’m sitting with Muslim friends, I wouldn’t want to bring it up. In this country, at this time, it’s not so easy to discuss the issues of Muslims in American society.”
As the nation’s Muslim population grows, issues of religious accommodation are becoming more common, and more complicated. Many public school districts are grappling with questions about prayer rooms for Muslim students, halal food in cafeterias and scheduling around important Muslim holidays. As Muslim students point out, the school calendar already accommodates Christians, with Sundays off and vacations around Christmas and Easter.
“Starting about two years ago, school attorneys have been asking more and more questions about accommodations for Muslim students,” said Lisa Soronen, a National School Boards Association lawyer. “These issues don’t get litigated very often; they’re usually worked out one by one.”
Nationwide, more than a dozen universities have footbaths, many installed in new buildings. On some campuses, like George Mason University in Virginia, and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., there was no outcry. At Eastern Michigan, even some Muslim students were surprised by the appearance of the footbath — a single spigot delivering 45 seconds of water — in a partitioned corner of the restroom in the new student union.
“My sister told me about it, and I didn’t believe it,” said Najla Malaibari, a graduate student at Eastern Michigan. “I was, ‘No way,’ and she said, ‘Yeah, go crazy.’ It really is convenient.”
But after a Muslim student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College slipped and hurt herself last fall while washing her feet in a sink, word got out there that the college was considering installing a footbath, and a local columnist accused the college of a double standard — stopping a campus coffee cart from playing Christmas music but taking a different attitude toward Islam.
“After the column, a Christian conservative group issued an action alert to its members, which prompted 3,000 e-mail and 600 voice messages to me and/or legislators,” said Phil Davis, president of the college.
Mr. Davis said that after a legal briefing, the board concluded that installing footbaths was constitutional, and that the college hoped to have a plan in place by the next school year.
Here in Dearborn, the university called the footbaths a health and safety measure, not a religious decision. And it argued that while the footbaths may benefit Muslim students, they will be available to others, like lacrosse players who want to wash their feet.
Still, the plans are controversial.
“My first reaction was, ‘Where’s the money coming from?’ ” said Emily Hutfloetz, a senior. “I feel like it’s favoring one group of people.”
On her Web site, Debbie Schlussel, a conservative lawyer and blogger in Southfield, Mich., posted, “Forget about the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state ... at least when it comes to mosque and state.”
And in an editorial, the student newspaper, The Michigan Journal, worried that opponents would turn their hostility “on Muslim students at the university and Islam as a whole.”
Hal Downs, president of the Michigan chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “The university claims it’s available for Western students as well, but, traditionally, Western students don’t wash their feet five times day.”
“They’re building a structure for a particular religious tradition,” Mr. Downs added, “and the Constitution says the government isn’t supposed to endorse a particular religion.”
The American Civil Liberties Union says the footbath issue is complex.
“Our policy is to object whenever public funds are spent on any brick and mortar component of religion,” said Kary Moss, director of the Michigan Civil Liberties Union. “What makes this different, though, is that the footbaths themselves can be used by anyone, don’t have any symbolic value and are not stylized in a religious way. They’re in a regular restroom, and could be just as useful to a janitor filling up buckets, or someone coming off the basketball court, as to Muslim students.”
Then, too, Ms. Moss said, the health and safety component is not normally part of religious accommodation cases.
“This came from the maintenance staff, which was worried about the wet floors,” she said. “We were also aware that if the university said students could not wash their feet in the sink anymore, that could present a different civil liberties problem, interfering with Muslim students’ ability to practice their religion.”
Some Muslim students seem bothered by the controversy, saying they might not have considered footbaths worth fighting for.
“I think this was the school’s way to try to draw more Muslims, by showing that they were welcoming,” said Zahraa Aljebori, a sophomore at Dearborn, who said she never even washed her feet in the sink.
As at other campuses, Dearborn’s Muslim Students’ Association chapter has pushed for, and won, halal food and a “reflection room,” used mostly for Muslim prayers, but occasionally by Christian groups. But it did not ask for the footbaths, said Farhan Latif, a graduate student and adviser to the group.
“The idea came from the administration, and we were consulted,” Mr. Latif said. “And we were surprised at the hate mail that came in after it got into the media.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/education/07muslim.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

OFCCP Issues New Veterans Regulations

On August 8, 2007, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a new set of regulations to implement the amendments to the affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 ("VEVRAA'') that were made by the Jobs for Veterans Act ("JVA'') enacted in 2002. The JVA raised the threshold for contract coverage from $25,000 to $100,000, changed the categories of veterans protected by the law, and changed the manner in which the mandatory job listing requirement is to be implemented. The final regulations apply only to covered Government contracts entered into or modified on or after December 1, 2003. The existing VEVRAA implementing regulations found in 41 CFR part 60-250 will continue to apply to Government contracts entered into before December 1, 2003.
The effective date of these regulations is September 7, 2007.

According to the Preamble of the new regulations:
"The JVA amendments changed the categories of covered veterans under VEVRAA. The JVA eliminated the category of Vietnam era veterans from coverage under VEVRAA. However, many Vietnam era veterans may remain covered in other categories. The JVA added as a new category of covered veterans--those ``veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.'' The JVA expanded the coverage of veterans with disabilities. Prior to amendment by the JVA, VEVRAA ... covered veterans rated as having 10% to 20% serious employment handicap or a disability rated 30% or more by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The JVA amendments expanded coverage to include all veterans with service-connected disabilities. The JVA also expanded the coverage of ``recently separated veterans'' from one to three years after discharge or release from active duty. Third, the JVA modified the mandatory job listing requirement for covered contractors. Currently, the regulation at 41 CFR 60-250.5 allows contractors to satisfy their job listing obligations by listing employment openings either with the appropriate local employment service office or with America's Job Bank (AJB). Section 2(b)(1) of the JVA requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations that obligate each covered contractor to list all of its employment openings with ``the appropriate employment service delivery system (as defined in section 4101(7) of this title).'' Section 5(c)(1) of the JVA defines the term ``employment service delivery system'' as ``a service delivery system at which or through which labor exchange services, including employment, training, and placement services, are offered in accordance with the Wagner-Peyser Act.'' See 38 U.S.C. 4101(7). (The Wagner-Peyser Act established the Employment Service, which is a nationwide system of public employment offices.) The JVA provides that a contractor also may list employment openings with ``one-stop career centers under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, other appropriate service delivery points, or America's Job Bank (or any additional or subsequent national electronic job bank established by the Department of Labor).'' Thus, as a result of the JVA amendments, listing job openings solely with AJB will no longer comply with the requirements of VEVRAA. "

Regarding the Mandatory Job Listing Requirement, the agency also writes in the Preamble of the regulations:

"OFCCP has added language to this section providing that contractors may fulfill their job posting requirement by listing job openings with the appropriate state workforce agency job bank. The appropriate state workforce agency job bank shall be the job bank in which the job opening occurs. Contractors also may satisfy the posting requirement by listing job openings with the local employment service delivery system where the opening occurs. A contractor may satisfy the mandatory job listing requirement by submitting job listings to the appropriate employment delivery system in a variety of ways, including via mail, facsimile (FAX), electronic mail, or other electronic postings. The vast majority of the state workforce agency job banks accept job postings via the Internet. Contractors may use third parties, such as private or non-profit sector job banks, Internet gateway and portal sites, and recruiting services and directories, to assist them with the transmission of job postings to the appropriate employment delivery system. OFCCP believes that this approach allows contractors the necessary flexibility to determine the most effective way to comply with the mandatory job listing requirement, depending on the number, timing, and location of the positions to be filled. OFCCP will provide a link on its Web site to all state workforce agency job banks."

[To view the entire regulations, including the Preamble, go to: http://frwebgate6.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?WAISdocID=570494240780+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve for the HTML version.
Go to: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-15385.pdf for the PDF version.]

[See the OFCCP Regulations and FAQs at http://www.dol.gov/esa/ofccp/index.htm Look under "What's New" and "Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA)."]



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kansas City Star Publishes AAAA Task Force Letter

On Friday, August 3, 2007, the Kansas City Star published AAAA's letter concerning the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative. The letter follows:

Missouri initiative wording
We would like to commend the secretary of state for her leadership in describing the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative in a way that clearly reflects the intent of the framers (7/28, Local, “Foes of racial quotas file suit; A group backing an anti-affirmative action initiative cries foul over ballot language”).
In California and Michigan, these ballot initiatives have misled the public into believing that their intent was to promote civil rights. In truth, the initiatives have had the opposite effect.
Affirmative action circumvents longstanding racial and gender-based preferences. It prevents discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability and veterans’ status. The essence of affirmative action is opportunity; those who are qualified are the intended beneficiaries, both in employment, contracting and higher education.
Those who seek equity must do so with clean hands. This initiative should be described according to the intent of the authors and not cloaked in inflammatory and ambiguous language. The secretary of state’s truthful description of the initiative deserves our support.
Robert Ethridge
American Association for Affirmative
Action, Task Force on Equity in the States
Vice President, Equal Opportunity Programs
and Disability Services, Emory University
Washington, D.C.
http://www.kansascity.com/309/story/216566-p2.html