Friday, November 30, 2007

Advocates of Diversity Grasp for Ways to Drive Change in Legal Profession

Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
November 29, 2007

Washington — As advocates of racial diversity in the legal profession discussed strategy at a gathering here today, they seemed better equipped to pressure law firms to diversify than they were to drive change in the nation’s law schools.
The liberal-leaning American Constitution Society had assembled the panel of advocates at the National Press Club in hopes of finding ways to get law schools, law students, and the companies that employ lawyers to work together to help more black and Hispanic people succeed in the legal profession.
But one panel member, John Nussbaumer, associate dean of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, had bad news about law schools’ ability to contribute to the effort. He said that any pressure on law schools to diversify is being counterbalanced by pressures on such schools to take in students with high Law School Admission Test scores, to elevate their rankings in publications such as U.S. News & World Report.
Largely as a result of such ranking pressures, Mr. Nussbaumer said, 63 percent of black applicants to law schools are rejected by every institution to which they apply, leaving them substantially more likely to “never make it in the front door” than white applicants, who score higher on average on the LSAT and have a 35-percent rejection rate. He cited statistics from the American Bar Association showing a recent decline in the black share of the enrollment of the nation’s law schools, from 7.6 percent in the 1995-96 academic year to 6.8 percent in 2006-7.
Panel members were much more optimistic in discussing their efforts to promote diversity in law firms.
Andrew Bruck, a Stanford University law student who is co-president of Building a Better Legal Profession, said his organization — a fledging group of law students devoted to improving working conditions in their field — appears to be making waves by compiling rankings of law firms based on the number of minority and female lawyers they employ and elevate to partner. He said he had heard many students say they had chosen not to work at law firms with poor records in promoting diversity. His group plans in January to distribute its rankings to Fortune 500 companies, in hopes that those companies will put pressure to diversify on the law firms they hire. [To view the entire article, go to: ]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

OFCCP Hosts Another Webinar: "Operational Update"

The Department of Labor, OFCCP, is hosting another webinar on December 5, 2007. This is an "Operational Update" and will address issues including scheduling, growth of the Functional AAP program, compliance improvement initiatives, and open questions about challenges facing contractors. The time is 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST. Go to: or for more information.

Race-Baiting on the Ballot

The American Prospect
Immigration isn't the only explosive racial issue facing voters in the coming election year -- the anti-affirmative action movement is pushing 2008 ballot initiatives across the country. Is economic populism the antidote?
Dana Goldstein
November 26, 2007

Democrats are girding for a battle on immigration in 2008, both as a topic of debate in the presidential race and as an agenda-setter in the states. Anti-immigrant referendums are expected on ballots across the country. But flying under the radar is another ballot campaign manufactured to play on tensions of race, class, and ethnicity. Ward Connerly, the California businessman who successfully led ballot initiatives to eradicate affirmative action programs in California, Washington state, and Michigan, plans to take his crusade to five more states next year: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
After a string of failures on affirmative action, progressive organizers are trying to control the terms of the debate by challenging Connerly's "civil rights" rhetoric, which implies affirmative action is just as discriminatory as Jim Crow-era segregation. Affirmative action defenders are also reframing the policy as one that primarily benefits women of all races.
But Connerly, who is black, continues to shift the ground under the opposition's feet. He is now speaking frequently about his personal support for "socioeconomic affirmative action," and reiterating his long-standing opposition to legacy admissions, which help mostly affluent, white students. "We're saying everywhere we go that there needs to be some kind of transition from racial to socioeconomic affirmative action," Connerly told the Prospect. "We strongly support helping those who need it."
Seeking to soften his appeal, Connerly's rhetoric echoes that of some progressives who would like to refocus affirmative action benefits on the poor, instead of on historically discriminated-against groups. Affirmative action defenders say they too support extra help for the poor, but maintain that without programs targeting race and gender, disparities will persist. In California, for example, African American, Latino, and Native American enrollment at U.C. Berkeley and UCLA decreased by hundreds of students annually after voters approved Connerly's Proposition 209 in 1996.
Those are the results civil-rights organizers are trying to avoid nationwide. "Colorado's affirmative action programs are very modest, and we know that they help address the achievement gap between white and minority students in our public schools," said Linda Meric, co-chair of Colorado Unity, a labor, business, civil-rights, and religious coalition opposing the anti-affirmative action ballot initiative. Meric stressed that white women are major beneficiaries of affirmative action. "Women still face a significant wage gap when compared to men, and we believe that Coloradans support pay equity and programs that help women and girls get into nontraditional fields such as science and engineering," she told the Prospect.
Although affirmative action is understood primarily as a policy used in college admissions, a ban against it would affect a variety of state programs, some of which wouldn't be called "affirmative action" at all. The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Simply the Best program offers after-school technology enrichment, field trips, and visits to college campuses for African American and Latina teen girls. Colorado gives special health-care training to minority and bilingual professionals, which ensures more patients have access to culturally competent care. And the Colorado Minority Business Office helps people of color understand how to apply for state contracts.
Connerly said he would support Colorado's enrichment programs for K-12 students if they selected children according to class, instead of race and gender. But he's firmly opposed to any special help for adults. "I don't see the same compelling public interest," he said.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Bill Moyers' Journal: What is the Meaning of the Nooses?

"The 'Lynching Tree' is a metaphor for race in America..." Professor James Cone
November 23, 2007
BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.
Our subject in this hour is one you don't hear discussed very often in politics or around the dining table. It's buried so deeply in the American psyche that rarely does anyone bring it front and center. Our silence on it is one reason we have so much difficulty coming to terms with race in America. I'm reluctant to raise it even now, because it's anything but a comfortable subject for television. But I went online not long ago and listened to a speech at Harvard University that I simply can't forget and I wanted you to meet the man who delivered it.
JAMES CONE: …blacks and whites and other Americans who want to understand the meaning of the American experience need to remember lynching.
BILL MOYERS: His name is James Cone and he has a powerful message about seeing America through the experience of the cross and the lynching tree.
JAMES CONE: make sense out of the cross, the central symbol of the Christian faith, and the lynching tree…
BILL MOYERS: That's right - the cross on which Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified in the Roman Empire, and the lynching tree that meant agony and death for thousands of black people. Their connection is the subject of our broadcast. Be forewarned: you will see some disturbing images.
JAMES CONE: Yes, that is a noose…
BILL MOYERS: In the past few months we've all seen these chilling reports:
REPORTER: in Farmingdale and just yesterday in Roosevelt. Those two..."
BILL MOYERS: Nooses tied to a school yard tree in Jena, Louisiana.
REPORTER: ...historically reserved for white students…
BILL MOYERS: Nooses left for a black member of the US Coast Guard.
REPORTER: New London, Connecticut…
BILL MOYERS: A noose on the door of a university professor's office here in New York City.
REPORTER: at Columbia University…
VOICE: ...because today it's a noose and tomorrow they trying to put some bodies head in it…
BILL MOYERS: The reappearance of nooses is a haunting reminder of the dark side of American history, when after the civil war black Americans were forced to live in the shadow of the lynching tree. Thousands of human beings, tortured and hanged by the neck until dead.
BILLIE HOLIDAY SINGING Southern trees bear strange fruit... ...blood on the leaves and blood at the root, black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze...
JAMES CONE: ...'fruit hanging from the poplar trees'. Billie singing her signature song.
BILL MOYERS: James Cone knows that song well. As one of America's pioneers of black theology, he has never been able to forget its message, and he wants his students at Union Theological Seminary here in New York City, to remember it, too.
JAMES CONE: that the brutal facts of history, keeps that from being a sort of pie in the sky thing.
BILL MOYERS: James Cone has been at Union Seminary since 1969, teaching systematic theology through the black experience in America...
JAMES CONE: seemed to me that Martin and Malcolm represented two poles of my identity.
BILL MOYERS: He grew up in rural Arkansas, and soon found his calling in the church. He was ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and went on to the life of teacher and scholar. Among his many books and articles are these - MARTIN & MALCOLM & AMERICA, BLACK THEOLOGY & BLACK POWER AND GOD OF THE OPPRESSED - all translated in nine languages.
JAMES CONE: ...not many black theologians and preachers have made an explicit...
BILL MOYERS: Right now he's thinking through how the cross and the lynching tree enable us to interpret America today.
JAMES CONE: I want to start a conversation about the cross and the lynching tree and thereby break our silence on race and Christianity in American history.
BILL MOYERS: And Dr. James Cone is with me now. Welcome to THE JOURNAL. Glad to have you.
JAMES CONE: Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
BILL MOYERS: That old Billie Holiday number that-- that we played, Strange Fruit-"Southern trees bear strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root. Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar tree." I mean, nobody sings that anymore. You don't hear it. But, yet, that is deep in our DNA, is it not?
JAMES CONE: Yes, it's deep. Because lynching is so deep. And that song is about lynching. It's about black bodies hanging on trees. And that's deep in the American experience. Particularly after the Civil War. But, it's connected with slavery too. Although, lynching didn't take place in slavery because black people were worth too much.
BILL MOYERS: I didn't know that.
JAMES CONE: So, they're-- oh, no-- no. They didn't lynch them during the time of slavery. It's after slavery. And it's in order to control the community. It's to put fear and terror in their hearts so that they would be forced to obey and stay out in the fields and work and not loiter. And to remember that whites controlled the world. Even though the south lost the war, they are still in control of their section of America.
BILL MOYERS: After the Civil War.
JAMES CONE: After the Civil War.
BILL MOYERS: I mean, it was--
JAMES CONE: That's when lynching started.
JAMES CONE: They wanted to remind black people that they were in charge and that whites controlled, for the same reasons why Romans-- crucified people in the first century.
BILL MOYERS: It worked, didn't it?
JAMES CONE: Yes, it worked.
BILL MOYERS: It worked.
JAMES CONE: It worked to a certain degree. It only worked in the sense that it reminded black people and white people that whites actually had political and social control and economic control. But, they didn't have control of their humanity. See, that's what religion is about. Religion is a search for meaning when you don't have it in this world. So, while they might have controlled the black people physically and politically and economically, they did not control their spirit. That's why the black churches are very powerful forces in the African American community and always has been. Because religion has been that one place where you have an imagination that no one can control. And so, as long as you know that you are a human being and nobody can take that away from you, then God is that reality in your life that enables you to know that.
BILL MOYERS: And even though you're living under the shadow of the lynching tree.
JAMES CONE: Even though you're living under the shadow of the lynching tree. Because religion is a spirit that is not defined by what people can do to your body. They can kill your body, but they can't kill your soul. We were always told that. There is a spirit deep in you that nobody can take away from you because it's a creation that God gave to you.
Now, if you know you have a humanity that nobody can take away from you, they may lock you up. They may lynch you. But, they don't win.
BILL MOYERS: But when you were growing up in that part of the world -- well, we grew up only about a hundred miles or so apart. I grew up in east Texas. You in southwestern Arkansas. I'm a little older than you. But, we come out of that same culture. Did you in your community, Fordyce and Bearden, talk about lynching very much?
JAMES CONE: Yes, my mother and father did-- my mother and father did. We didn't talk so much about it publicly. But, my mother and father talked about it all the time. They told us stories about lynching. I think that happened with many black families. It's that we didn't talk about it much publicly like in schools and in churches. But, we did talk about it at home.
BILL MOYERS: In the white community of my deeply segregated hometown, I honestly don't remember our talking about it.
BILL MOYERS: When my father died, I found in his effects a yellow newspaper from Paris, Texas where he was born and lived. And I lived there for a little while. And it was a lynching- a photograph of a lynching near his farm. Five thousand people had come to watch this man lynched.
JAMES CONE: Yeah--spectacle lynchings were-- were especially prominent just after the Civil War and in the beginning of the 20th century, spectacle lynchings. And they didn't stop until the 30s, the late 1930s.
BILL MOYERS: How do you explain the current spate of the appearance of the noose again? Up comes this story right here from the suburbs of New York. A noose found in the basement-a locker room of the village police department. The deputy chief of police is black. And then you've got Jena and you got what happened at the Columbia, near your office. You think these people who-- do you think they understand what that's the symbol of? Of what actually happened to human beings when that noose was placed around the neck? Or is this just some kind of-- you know, some kind of grim game?
JAMES CONE: Well, you know, you don't have to know all about the Nazi hol-- Holocaust to understand what a swastika is. You don't have to understand all about the history of lynching to know what a noose is. Everybody knows that. Somehow, that-- that gets-- you don't have to know that history. It's in-- it's in American culture. As you say, it's in the DNA. It's our-- it's white America's original sin and it's deep. Like, for a long time, we didn't want to talk about slavery. They don't like to talk about 246 years of it. Then a hundred years of legal segregation and lynching.
Now, you don't get away from that by not talking about it. That's too deep. Germany is not going to get away from the Holocaust by not talking about it. It's too deep. So, America must face up that we are one community. We-- you know, if anybody in this society-- if anybody is brother and sister to the other, it's black people and white people because there is a-- there is a tussle there that you cannot get out of. It is a-- it is deeply engrained in our relationship to each other in a way that's not with anybody else-- [To see the entire transcript and the video, go to: ]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Black and Hispanic Firefighter Applicants Have Doubled

The New York Times
Published: November 28, 2007

The Fire Department’s pool of black and Hispanic job candidates has more than doubled since 2002, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday, raising hopes that efforts to hire more minority firefighters might be yielding results.
The announcement came six months after the United States Justice Department sued the city, charging that the written firefighter entrance exam screened out a disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics.
Slightly more than 30 percent of the 4,000 applicants scoring highest on this year’s exam were black or Hispanic, compared with just under 14 percent in 2002, the last time the test was given. There were also three times as many women in this year’s top 4,000.
The results are significant, city officials said, because the top 4,000 applicants are the most likely to be hired. The cutoff score to make that list this year was 96.77 percent.
Mayor Bloomberg called the results “a promising new sign” for the Fire Department, which has faced intense scrutiny over its lack of diversity.
“Making the world’s greatest fire department more reflective of the city that it serves has been one of our toughest and most long-standing challenges,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference with Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Martha K. Hirst, the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which creates and administers the exam.
“The bigger the pool of people that you can pick from, the better the people that you pick are going to be, on average,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
But John Coombs, a Brooklyn firefighter who is the president of the Vulcan Society, an organization of black firefighters, called the results all “smoke screen and mirrors.”
“When we start looking at minimal efforts, when we accept them, that becomes the standards,” he said. “We don’t accept that standard.”
There are 11,621 firefighters, but just 666 of them are Hispanic, 337 are black and 75 Asian-American, for a total of 9.3 percent, city officials said. Thirty-one are women.
The Justice Department declined to comment yesterday about how, or if, the test results would have any affect on the lawsuit.
The entrance exam is offered about once every four years. This year, it focused on a broader array of skills than in years past, Ms. Hirst said. She said that the changes to the exam, administered in January, had nothing to do with the Justice Department lawsuit, which was filed in May.
“The test does not require specialized knowledge,” Ms. Hirst said. “It is a test of basic aptitude and ability to become a firefighter.”
More than 22,000 people took this year’s exam. Of the more than 21,000 who passed — meaning they scored at least 70 percent — 38 percent were black, Hispanic, Asian-American or American Indian.
City officials also said that their attempts to bring more women into the ranks were bearing fruit. This year, 1,401 women applied to the department, up from 878 in 2002, with 770 of them passing, a 50 percent increase from 2002. Of those, 109 made it to the top 4,000, up from 33.
Last year, the Fire Department expanded its recruitment and diversity unit, and in May, it began a $1.4 million recruitment campaign to highlight aspects of the job other than fighting fires, like salaries, benefits and flexible schedules. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Apologies from affirmative action
The independent student news source at the University of Illinois
By: Paul Cruse III
Posted: 11/27/07

Since my inception, some Caucasian males have felt victimized by my existence. I am here to officially apologize for all of my dastardly deeds and the horrible consequences of my actions. I agree that I should be canceled. For the past 40 years, I have brought nothing but despair and misfortune to white people all over America. I apologize that my policies have taken you from your home, forced you to work in an alien land and threatened you with death if specific work quotas were not met. My procedures ensured that you were always adorned in shackles and chains, and I legitimized this treatment by proclaiming to the world that you were less than human. I made it illegal for any member of your race to learn how to read and write, a crime punishable by death. I used doctored scientific evidence to "prove" that you didn't have the mental capacity to handle freedom. That's why I passed laws to torture your kind if you were caught attempting to run away to freedom. I apologize that I, affirmative action, have wronged you so incredibly.I apologize that I, affirmative action, consciously mutilated your culture to ensure you would never have any remembrance of your native land. I broke up your families, which is why even today you find it difficult to trace your lineage. For all these cruel things that have happened to you, I apologize.My manifestation brought about your exploitation. Infant America matured to its dominance on your back for no charge, an unjust debt that was never paid or even apologized for. Even when I decided to give you your much-deserved, overdue "freedom," your citizenship was never equal to that of your peers. You couldn't vote, you couldn't be in any position of power, I wouldn't even allow you a fair trial. Many times my followers would just drag your kind out of jail cells and beat them until their faces were so disfigured their own families couldn't recognize them. After that, my supporters set them on fire and lynched them. After all these inhumane things that have happened to your people because of me, you have every right to complain that I should no longer be used. The people that I have given the most unfair advantage to are minorities, especially blacks.Black people have been here longer than most other immigrants. Eastern European and Asian immigrants, for example, have progressed much further than blacks in a much shorter time. It's not like blacks didn't have a choice to come to America like everybody else.Blacks have had all the opportunities you have had. They weren't ostracized and persecuted against for centuries. They weren't terrorized into submission and forced to comply with malicious traditions and customs. Even if some small group of people didn't like blacks at some point in time, its members are all dead now. It's been at least 40 years since the Civil Rights Movement - that's a long time. And we all know that those racists' parents wouldn't influence their children to be bigots.I was mistaken when I thought I would have made this country better by empowering the poor and less fortunate. How foolish of me to think that if I gave these people the chance to go to school and get a decent job, they would stop mugging, selling drugs and committing acts of murder in their attempts to better themselves. How stupid of me for helping all those white women, whom unfortunately I have helped the most. Women don't need to go to school or have a career; women just need to have children and cook.For the white men that feel victimized, I agree that you have every right to be angry. So many bad things have happened to you, and all because of me, affirmative action. Through the slavery and oppression and the unfair advantage given to undeserving minorities (like blacks), I have made life in the country unbearable for you. After all the horrible things that I have done to you, I hand in my resignation and hope you can forgive me.

BLS Releases Women in the Workforce Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2007 report on women in the workforce. This report of historical and current labor force and earnings data for women and men is drawn from the Current Population Surveys that BLS conducted based on 2006 data. The report indicates that:

* The educational attainment of women age 25 to 64 has substantially increased since 1970: one-third of these women had college degrees in 2006; one-tenth had degrees in 1970. Approx. 8 percent were drop-outs in 2006; 34 percent were drop-outs in 1970.

* In 2006, 50.1 percent of all managers were women. The percentages of women managers, professionals and related occupations differed according to occupations, however. While 33 percent of lawyers were women, only 7 percent of engineering managers were women.

* Women who worked full time had median weekly earnings of $800, approx. 80.8 percent of the earnings of men. Women college graduates age 25 and older earned 81 percent more than women with a high school diploma. This difference increased sharply from 1979, where women college graduates earned 43 percent more than women with only a high school diploma.

- Women in the Workforce: a Databook (2007 Edition) October 24, 2007:
[To see the highlights and the entire report, go to: ]

North Carolina's Community Colleges Are Told to Admit Illegal Immigrants

Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
November 27, 2007
North Carolina's Community Colleges Are Told to Admit Illegal Immigrants

All 58 campuses of North Carolina’s community-college system must admit illegal immigrants, a lawyer for the system has said, overturning a policy of allowing the campuses to decide individually whether to consider applicants’ immigration status, according to reports by the Associated Press, The Charlotte Observer, and other news outlets.
David Sullivan, the system’s general counsel, wrote in a memorandum this month that “colleges should immediately begin admitting undocumented individuals,” highlighting the phrase in bold type. State regulations require the colleges to admit undocumented applicants who meet the basic requirements of either having graduated from high school or being at least 18 years old, he said. More than 20 of the colleges now have written or unwritten policies barring admission to illegal immigrants.
Mr. Sullivan said his directive was based on a 1997 opinion by the state’s attorney general at the time — Michael F. Easley, a Democrat who is now governor — which said that the colleges could not impose nonacademic criteria for admission.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

The Immigrant University: Assessing the Dynamics of Race, Major and Socioeconomic Characteristics at the University of California


The University of California has long been a major source of socioeconomic mobility in California. Data from the University of California’s Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) indicates that more than half the undergraduate students in the UC system have at least one parent that is an immigrant. The ratio is even higher at UC Berkeley. What do such a high percentage of students with recent immigrant backgrounds tell us about the University of California and socioeconomic mobility? How is it influencing the academy and academic and civic experience of undergraduates who are largely first or second-generation immigrants? Utilizing UCUES data on the University of California, and specifically the Berkeley campus as a case example, this brief provides an initial exploration of the dynamics of race and ethnicity, major, and the differing socioeconomic backgrounds of immigrant students, and in comparison to “native” students. Among the major conclusions offered in this study: there are a complex set of differences between various “generations” of immigrant students that fit earlier historical waves of immigrant groups to the United States; that the startling number and range of students from different ethnic, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds points to the need for an expanded notion of diversity beyond older racial and ethnic paradigms; and while there are growing numbers of immigrant students at Berkeley from different parts of the world, and often from lower income families, there is a high correlation with their socioeconomic capital, described as a variety of factors, but most prominently the education level of their parents and family. Further, students at Berkeley who come from lower income families and have relatively low socioeconomic capital (in particular Chicano/Latinos) do well academically, if only marginally less so than those with higher rates of educational capital. At the same time, they also spend more time in paid employment, spend approximately the same amount of time as Euro-Americans studying and going to class, and have relatively high rates of overall satisfaction with their social and academic experience.
The Immigrant University: Assessing the Dynamics of Race, Major and Socioeconomic Characteristics at the University of California. John Aubrey Douglass, Heinke Roebken, and Gregg Thomson. CSHE.19.07 (November 2007)
(Research and Occasional Papers Series)
PDF document (301 kB):

Growth and Consolidation of Minority Enrollments

Inside Higher Education
Nov. 28
Growth and Consolidation of Minority Enrollments

At a time that more college students and a larger share of college students than ever before are members of minority groups, higher percentages of them are enrolling at “minority serving” institutions — those with legally defined missions or enrollment patterns related to the demographics of their student bodies.
Between 1984 and 2004, minority undergraduate enrollment increased from 1.9 million to 4.7 million, or 146 percent. But while in 1984, minority-serving institutions enrolled 38 percent of minority students, by 2004, they enrolled a healthy majority (58 percent) of minority students. The data were in a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.
The report notes characteristics of different subgroups of minority institutions, whose numbers are sharply up. At the same time, the report notes challenges facing these institutions, many of which serve students who are more likely than others to have low incomes, low graduation rates, and gender gaps in enrollment patterns.
And in a finding that points to changing enrollment patterns, the study finds that while the proportion of minority students who are enrolled at historically black colleges has gone down slightly in the last 20 years, the percentage of minority students who are enrolled at non-historically black, but black-serving, institutions is up, as are the percentages of colleges identified as serving Hispanic and Asian students.
Different reports and policies have classified colleges in different ways. The new report starts with two definitions provided by Congress. Historically black colleges are those created in the era of segregation to provide for the education of black students. Tribal colleges are run by tribes, many times on reservations. In both of those cases, there is no enrollment test for categorization and while some of those institutions are substantially made up of black or American Indian students, others enroll many students from different groups. To those two, these additional categories are added:
Black-serving non-historically black colleges and universities: those in which black students constitute at least 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment.
Hispanic-serving: those institutions where Hispanic students constitute at least 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment.
Asian-serving: those institutions where Asian students constitute at least 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment.
American Indian-serving non-tribal colleges: those in which American Indian students constitute at least 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment.
Other minority-serving: institutions that don’t meet other categories but where minority students as a whole make up at least 50 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment. (NOTE: These categories have some similarities, but are not identical to those used in new federal programs recently created for some of these institutions.)
During the 20 years studied, the number of minority-serving institutions increased dramatically even though one group (historically black colleges) couldn’t increase in number because its legal definition is based on a particular point in time.
Change in Numbers of Minority-Serving Colleges and Other Colleges
Historically black
Black-serving, non historically black
American-Indian serving (includes tribal)
Other minority-serving
All minority-serving
Non-minority serving
All colleges
In terms of where minority students are enrolled, the period studied showed increases for all types of minority-serving institutions, but wide variation in how the sectors changed in the percentage of all minority students they enrolled.

[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Debate: Is It Time to End Affirmative Action? One Audience Votes No!

Intelligence Squared U.S.,
by Andrew Prince and Erica Ryan
November 21, 2007

In recent years, one focus of the debate over affirmative action in the United States has been its use in education, especially race-based admissions policies at universities.
In a 2003 ruling involving the University of Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a limited consideration of race in admissions to allow colleges to create a diverse student body. However, voters in Michigan have since passed an amendment to the state constitution that bans the use of affirmative action in the public arena. Two other states, California and Washington, had already taken similar steps. So is it time to get rid of affirmative action?
A panel of six experts faced off on that topic Nov. 13, in an Oxford-style debate as part of the Intelligence Squared U.S. series. The program is modeled after one that started in London in 2002. Three experts argued in favor of the formal proposition, "It's Time to End Affirmative Action," and three argued against.
The debate took place at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City. It was moderated by Robert Siegel, senior host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the radio host of the Intelligence Squared series.
In a vote before the debate, 44 percent of audience members opposed the motion, "It's Time to End Affirmative Action," and 34 percent supported it; 22 percent were undecided. After the debate, 55 percent were against it, 39 percent supported it and 6 percent were still undecided.
[To hear excerpts of the debate, go to: ]

The Geography of Hate

November 25, 2007
The Geography of Hate


FROM the 1880s to the 1960s, at least 4,700 men and women were lynched in this country. The noose remains a terrifying symbol, and continues to be used by racists to intimidate African-Americans (who made up more than 70 percent of lynching victims).
In the past decade or so, only about a dozen noose incidents a year came to the attention of civil rights groups. But since the huge Sept. 20 rally in Jena, La., where tens of thousands protested what they saw as racism in the prosecution of six black youths known as the “Jena 6,” this country has seen a rash of as many as 50 to 60 noose incidents. Last Tuesday, for example, a city employee in Slidell, La., was fired after being accused of hanging a noose at a job site a few days earlier.
These incidents are worrying, but even more so is the social reality they reflect. The level of hate crimes in the United States is astoundingly high — more than 190,000 incidents per year, according to a 2005 Department of Justice study.
And the number of hate groups, according to the annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has shot up 40 percent in recent years, from 602 groups in 2000 to 844 in 2006.
It seems that the September rally in Jena — much as it was seen by many civil rights activists as the beginning of a new social movement — signaled not a renewed march toward racial and social justice, but a surprisingly broad and deep white backlash against the gains of black America.
The graphic, above, shows some of the reported sightings of nooses in the past two years.
Mark Potok is the director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Luke Visconti is the co-founder and Barbara Frankel is the executive editor of the magazine DiversityInc. Nigel Holmes is a graphic designer. [To view the accompanying graphic/map where noose incidents have occurred, go to:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

U.S. Justice Department enters stadium dispute Department of Education rejects U-M compromise

Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Ann Arbor News

The U.S. Department of Justice entered the legal dispute over handicapped accessibility at Michigan Stadium on Tuesday, asking to join a lawsuit by a paralyzed veterans' group that demands more wheelchair seating at the facility.
Meanwhile, the federal Department of Education quickly rejected a compromise that the University of Michigan filed Monday to add more handicapped seats than it had originally planned for a renovation now under way. Citing a longstanding, unsuccessful debate with U-M, the DOE said Tuesday it has asked the Department of Justice to "initiate judicial proceedings to enforce the rights of the United States'' under provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
A hearing on a Justice Department motion to join a federal lawsuit filed by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America was scheduled for 10 a.m. today before U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox in Detroit.
The Justice Department also filed a motion asking for permission to inspect the 80-year-old stadium, where the three-year, $226 million renovation is just getting started.
If the Justice Department is allowed to intervene in the case, an adverse ruling could put the university at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal aid.
Kelly Cunningham, a U-M spokeswoman, said the university is disappointed with the Department of Education's action because U-M had made its compromise proposal this week in good faith to achieve a timely resolution. She said the university has always met the needs of handicapped ticket-holders at Michigan football games, but the DOE disagreed after investigating complaints that date back several years.
"This follows a number of months in which the (DOE) Office for Civil Rights attempted to engage the University of Michigan to voluntarily resolve this matter,'' said Samara Yudof, press secretary at the Department of Education.
The department issued a letter of findings Oct. 26 that outlined violations at the stadium. In its response this week, the university proposed adding 295 more wheelchair seats to the stadium bowl than it initially planned during the renovation. Those seats would be installed on portable platforms at entrance portals around the stadium.

[To see the entire story, go to: ]

Bigotry, racism fuel push for anti-affirmative action initiative
Staff Editorial
Posted: 11/16/07

It's painful to think about how this Ward Connerly/affirmative action nonsense will play out here as election day approaches. It won't be pretty.In case you missed the news, one week ago, Connerly, who led successful crusades in three other states to pass anti-affirmative action legislation, filed a petition to do the same in Nebraska. Marc Schniederjans, a UNL management professor, joined Connerly's group in filing the ballot initiative.The group aims to ban affirmative action in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as in Nebraska this election cycle. California, Washington and Michigan already have been conquered.No question here: This is all brought to you by a modern brand of racism. Super Tuesday for Equal Rights is a contemptible group, and it's embarrassing its leaders found a mole at the university to put his name on the group's effort.The most insidious part of the Connerly ordeal is the insincerity with which his group operates.As the election nears, a scary picture will be painted: People who are black and brown are stealing college careers and jobs from the state's hard-working white youths - you know, the kids who really face an uphill battle from the beginning.If you don't look closely, the text of the ballot initiative has the ring of civil rights legislation. If passed, it would amend the state constitution to include several paragraphs such as this one: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."Translated: The Nebraska constitution should ban affirmative action.While affirmative action has never been a perfect way to bring about equality for minority groups who have been discriminated against for generations, it's the best tool that exists. This state's constitution, therefore, should not ban it.

[To read the entire editorial, go to:

Monday, November 19, 2007

University of California Tries to Better Understand Asian Students

From Diverse Online
By Diverse staff
Nov 18, 2007, 22:07

The University of California is expanding the categories undergraduate applicants use to self-report their ethnicity as part of an effort to collect and better report the “complexities” of its Asian American and Pacific Islander students. It will become the first public institution of higher education in California to collect and report data specifically on Hmong, Filipino and other Asian subgroups.

“The data UC collects are a reflection of how well we are serving the diverse people of California,” said Dr. Judy Sakaki, UC’s vice president for student affairs. “My goal is for improved data reporting to spur greater accountability regarding overlooked populations in our student body.”

Next year’s undergraduate application will include 23 Asian American and Pacific Islander categories, up from the eight that are currently recorded.

The “Count Me In” campaign, a student-led crusade to get the University of California system and the state to disaggregate data so that the needs and challenges of the various Asian subgroups aren’t overlooked, played a role in UC’s decision as did calls from UC faculty for richer research data and state legislative interest.

Through aggregated data, Asians are often portrayed as academically, socially and economically successful. But in a report released last summer, the federal Government Accountability Office warned that the “Asian” umbrella masks the underperformance of some Asian subgroups, like Vietnamese and Native Hawaiians. As UC noted in its announcement Friday, a closer look at the Hmong community in California shows that 66 percent have less than a high school degree, compared to 23 percent of all California adults.

“The prevalent model minority myth can make many disadvanteged members of our community invisible to policymakers,” said Candice Shikai, a UCLA student and director of the Asian Pacific Coalition, which initiated the “Count Me In” campaign.

“Collecting data on more Asian American and Pacific Islander groups will result in a more accurate picture of how students are doing,” she added.

The ethnic data collected by UC is used in evaluating graduation and retention rates. Next year’s applications for admissions will include separate categories for Chinese, Taiwanese, Asian Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and “other” Asian. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Employer Verification Form (I-9) and Handbook Are Available

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency (DHS) ( has recently issued a new version of the Employer Verification Form (I-9) and an accompanying handbook. The agency reports that: "All U.S. employers are responsible for completion and retention of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. On the form, the employer must verify the employment eligibility and identity documents presented by the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. Acceptable documents are listed on the back of the form, and detailed below under 'Special Instructions.'

"Do not file Form I-9 with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or USCIS. Form I-9 must be kept by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials (e.g., ICE, Department of Labor).

Five documents have been removed from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents:
Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151)
Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327)
Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)

One document was added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents:
Unexpired Employment Authorization Document (I-766)"

The Employer Handbook and instructions for completing for I-9 Form may be found at:

For a copy of this notice, go to:

GPAC: Gender Norms Holding Back Women in the Workplace

WASHINGTON (November 16, 2007) – When it comes to women in the workplace, there's no question that significant advancements have been made. However, four recent studies challenge conventional wisdom by finding that perceived femininity continues to influence how women are treated by coworkers and bosses.
"Gender" Harassment
One study authored by Jennifer Berdahl, a University of Toronto researcher, found that sexual harassment is primarily targeted toward "uppity" women who step out of their place by taking on "masculine" traits such as independence, assertiveness, and a dominant attitude, and by working in traditionally male fields. Berdahl argues that gender role enforcement, not sexual desire, is the most common motive behind sexual harassment in the workplace.

Three additional studies make clear the far-reaching impact of gendered expectations on working women.

Barriers to Advancement
While women are often thought to be too timid to seek a promotion or ask for the same pay as their male counterparts, a recent study by three researchers at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon University found that this phenomenon can be explained by the very different responses that men and women receive when they do so. According to the study, women are judged more harshly then men for initiating salary negotiations, and are more likely to be seen as demanding, "pushy," and less "nice."

Hurdles in Leadership
Expectations about how women should behave in the workplace also contribute to "a double bind dilemma" for women in positions of leadership. A 2007 Catalyst study outlines three connected dilemmas facing women leaders.
Extreme perceptions: If women business leaders act in a traditionally feminine manner, they are considered too soft and less competent. If they act against gender stereotypes, they are considered too tough and impersonal.
The high competence threshold: Female leaders face higher standards and lower rewards than male leaders. They must prove they can lead over and over again.
Competent but disliked: Female leaders, unlike male leaders, are perceived as competent or likable, but rarely both.
Obstacles in Science
Another study by the National Academy of Sciences showed that, although women have the ability and drive to succeed in science and engineering fields, they are still very likely to face discrimination at every stage of their careers because of implicit biases and assumptions that women do not belong in these traditionally male fields.

"What all four of these studies prove is that women in the workplace are still boxed in by gender norms and stereotypes about how they should look and behave, stereotypes that prevent them from getting ahead," said Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of GenderPAC. "The social and economic risks of appearing 'unfeminine' in the workplace remain very real."

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition works to ensure that classrooms, communities, and workplaces are safe for everyone to learn, grow, and succeed -- whether or not they fit expectations for masculinity or femininity. To learn more about GenderPAC, visit

Episcopal Church, Missouri Diocese Opposes Connerly Initiative

The Missouri Diocese of the Episcopal Church USA has approved a resolution opposing Ward Connerly's so-called Civil Rights Initiative. The language of the resolution follows. Thanks to Lawrence George for sharing this information:

J-168 Missouri Civil Rights Initiative
Submitted by Emery Washington on behalf of the Commission on Dismantling Racism

BE IT RESOLVED that this 168th Convention of the Diocese of Missouri go on record as standing in opposition to the "Missouri Civil Rights Initiative(MoCRI)," a proposal for the November 2008 Missouri ballot, attempting to eliminate affirmative action in public education, public employment, and public contracting in Missouri;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED this Convention commends Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Attorney General Jay Nixon for changing the deceptive ballot title submitted by the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative to reflect the actual purpose of eliminating affirmative action;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED this Convention calls on all members of the Diocese to become informed about the effects of such a proposal and to cast their ballots in conformity with the Baptismal Covenant, the tenets of our Democratic Republic and their consciences;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED this Convention encourages all congregations of the Diocese work to actively oppose the placement of the "Missouri Civil Rights Initiative" on the ballot; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of this Convention immediately send copies of this resolution to the Governor of Missouri, Secretary of the State, Attorney General and both presidents of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri.

1. Our baptismal creed calls upon us to respect the dignity of every human being. Any attempt to continue to give unfair advantage to the majority is not consistent with our Christian faith.
2. The architects of our republic in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, although they did not always practice what they preached, laid the foundation to guarantee the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all people.
3. This initiative is deceptive in its intent. It seeks to undermine the attempts by our nation to redress centuries of deprivation to minorities and women since the inception of our nation.4. Every effort to right the wrongs from "Forty Acres and a Mule" to other endeavors to provide a level playing field has been thwarted by de jure and/or de facto practices.

The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative is simply another attempt to do the same.

Ballot Title recommended by the MoCRI Committee:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit any form of discrimination as an act of the state by declaring:The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting?
OFFICIAL BALLOT TITLE as certified by Secretary of State Carnahan:Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:1. ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education; and2. allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?

Official Ballot Language
THE MISSOURI CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE Be it resolved by the people of the State of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:One new section is adopted to be known as section 34 of Article I, to read as follows:Section 34. 1. The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race,sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.2. This section shall apply only to action taken after the section's effective date.3. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.4. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree that is in force as of the effective date of this section.5. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program,where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.6. For the purposes of this section, "state" shall include, but not be necessarily limited to, the state itself and any of its departments,agencies, commissions, boards, and other units; any political subdivision and any department, agency, commission, board, or other unit of a political subdivision; any public institution of higher education, junior college district, and school district; any municipal corporation; and any public corporation, public entity, or other instrumentality of the state or apolitical subdivision, irrespective of the capacity in which the state or any such instrumentality or entity of the state shall be acting . 7. The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing Missouri anti discrimination law.8. This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United State Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be sever able from the remaining portions of this section.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nebraska vote sought on affirmative-action ban
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007 - 04:44:54 pm CST

LINCOLN, Neb. - A battle over affirmative action will be fought in Nebraska heading into the 2008 presidential election, part of a California group's multistate plan to bar race and gender as a factor in hiring and admissions decisions.
A proposed amendment to the Nebraska Constitution would bar "preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
Nebraska is one of five states being targeted by the California group Super Tuesday for Equal Rights. It is backed by Ward Connerly, who has helped squash affirmative action at public institutions, namely colleges and universities, in California, Washington and Michigan over the past decade.
A voter-approved ban in Michigan last year emboldened organizers. Now the group plans to push for voter-approved bans in Nebraska, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma heading into the November 2008 election.
"After the win in Michigan, there's a national momentum for ending our giving preferences to hiring and admitting people born with different physical characteristics," said Doug Tietz of the Super Tuesday organization.
"The average Nebraskans is fair-minded ... and every person should be treated fairly regardless of some physical characteristic they were born with," said Tietz, a Nebraska native and executive director of the Nebraska campaign.
The wording of the proposed constitutional amendment has been filed with Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale. Final language that would appear on the ballot _ if enough signatures are gathered _ still must be approved.
Organizers say they need at least 100,000 signatures to get the initiative on the Nebraska ballot.
The choice of language in the petition in Nebraska and elsewhere _ "preferential treatment" _ is a political tactic designed to arouse opposition to affirmative action programs that might not otherwise exist, said Shirley Wilcher, executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action.
"If you ask, 'Are you for preferential treatment?', the answer will be no," she said. "If you say 'support programs that provide opportunities for disadvantaged Americans' ... you'll get a different answer."
Tietz said the language is similar to what is being proposed in the four other states.
A University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor filed the petition with the state on behalf of Super Tuesday after being contacted by the group. Marc Schniederjans, who teaches management in the business college, would not give specific examples of people receiving preferential treatment at the university, saying it might embarrass people.
The man supporting the Super Tuesday group, Connerly, is a former University of California regent who has worked to end affirmative action in several states since helping ground the use of race in admissions decisions at the California university system in the mid 1990s. Connerly, who is black, has said that the end of affirmative action in other states is a sign that "the end of an era" is unfolding.
It is difficult to measure how often race or gender figures into hiring and admissions decisions at public institutions in the state, including local government. But one Nebraska affirmative action official suggested it's not as common as some might assume.
The type of affirmative action now commonly used entails reaching out to minorities so they are aware of job and education opportunities _ not accepting or hiring them because they are minorities, said Jose J. Soto, a board member of the American Association for Affirmative Action and vice president for affirmative action at Southeast Community College in Lincoln.
"It's a rare occurrence in admissions, employment and contracting decisions," Soto said.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Righting Reagan’s Wrongs?

The New York Times
Published: November 13, 2007

Let’s set the record straight on Ronald Reagan’s campaign kickoff in 1980.
Early one morning in the late spring of 1964, Dr. Carolyn Goodman, her husband, Robert, and their 17-year-old son, David, said goodbye to David’s brother, Andrew, who was 20.
They hugged in the family’s apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Andrew left. He was on his way to the racial hell of Mississippi to join in the effort to encourage local blacks to register and vote.
It was a dangerous mission, and Andrew’s parents were reluctant to let him go. But the family had always believed strongly in equal rights and the benefits of social activism. “I didn’t have the right,” Dr. Goodman would tell me many years later, “to tell him not to go.”
After a brief stopover in Ohio, Andrew traveled to the town of Philadelphia in Neshoba County, Mississippi, a vicious white-supremacist stronghold. Just days earlier, members of the Ku Klux Klan had firebombed a black church in the county and had beaten terrified worshipers.
Andrew would not survive very long. On June 21, one day after his arrival, he and fellow activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney disappeared. Their bodies wouldn’t be found until August. All had been murdered, shot to death by whites enraged at the very idea of people trying to secure the rights of African-Americans.
The murders were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day.
That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”
Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”
Reagan apologists have every right to be ashamed of that appearance by their hero, but they have no right to change the meaning of it, which was unmistakable. Commentators have been trying of late to put this appearance by Reagan into a racially benign context.
That won’t wash. Reagan may have been blessed with a Hollywood smile and an avuncular delivery, but he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.
Everybody watching the 1980 campaign knew what Reagan was signaling at the fair. Whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans — they all knew. The news media knew. The race haters and the people appalled by racial hatred knew. And Reagan knew.
He was tapping out the code. It was understood that when politicians started chirping about “states’ rights” to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you.
And Reagan meant it. He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation.
[To read the entire op-ed, go to: ]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blacks More Pessimistic About Racial Progress, Study Finds

Diverse Online

by Associated Press
Nov 13, 2007, 21:02

Growing numbers of Blacks say they’re worse off than five years ago and don’t expect their lives to improve, a study released Tuesday shows. Black pessimism about racial progress in America, according to the study, is the worst it’s been in more than two decades.

The survey by the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based research organization, paints a mixed picture of race relations following Hurricane Katrina and the Jena Six case, in which six Black teens were charged with beating a White student at a high school in the town of Jena, La.

It found that just one in five Blacks, or 20 percent, said things were better off for Blacks compared with five years ago; that is the smallest percentage since 1983, when 20 percent also made that claim. In-between, the percentage of Blacks who said things had gotten better had grown, only to drop back to 20 percent.

Another 29 percent of Blacks said things had gotten worse as opposed to staying the same, the largest number since 32 percent made that claim in 1990.

In addition, fewer than half of all Blacks, or 44 percent, said they expected their prospects to brighten in the future. That’s down from 57 percent in 1986, during the height of the Reagan administration when the Justice Department actively sought to curtail affirmative action in favor of race-neutral policies.

Whites have a different view about Black progress, according to the survey. Whites were nearly twice as likely as Blacks to see Black gains in the past five years. A majority of Whites polled, or 56 percent, also said they believed prospects for Blacks would improve in the future.

“As disturbing as these findings are, in one sense it’s surprising they are not actually worse,” said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a coalition of 200 groups including the NAACP and National Urban League. “Most African-Americans believe the government response to problems is one of benign neglect rather than forceful action.”

Since the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision more than 50 years ago that outlawed segregation in public schools, Blacks have seen substantial civil rights gains including the passage of laws in the 1960s and 1970s that sought, in part, to deter discrimination in housing and employment.

Decades later, Blacks and Whites are now at a crossroads, with the nation and even the Black community itself divided over the best approach to achieve racial equality, whether by affirmative action to foster integration or more race-neutral policies to promote ideals of a colorblind society.

[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

AAAA Mourns Passing of Augustus F. Hawkins

“Champion of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity”

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a national membership organization of equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action and diversity specialists, mourns the passing of Augustus F. Hawkins, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Legislature. “Augustus ‘Gus’ Hawkins, who served in the legislative branch for more than half a century, was the original ‘Drum Major for Justice,’” said AAAA President ReNee Dunman. “He was a trailblazer, serving as the first African American in the California Legislature and the second African American to chair the important US House Committee on Education and Labor.” In the Congress, Hawkins was the co-author of the Humphrey Hawkins bill and co-sponsored the equal employment provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Congressman Hawkins lived a life of leadership and service and advanced the principle of equal opportunity throughout his illustrious career,” Ms. Dunman added.

During the 1980s, Rep. Hawkins helped to defend affirmative action when the former Attorney General attempted to end it. “When Rep. Hawkins disagreed with an administration, he did so in a manner that was gracious and respectful,” said Shirley J. Wilcher, AAAA executive director and former staffer to the Hawkins committee. “He knew how to disagree without being disagreeable.” Hawkins co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. When he retired in 1990, he served as director of the Hawkins Family Memorial Foundation of Educational Research and Development. Mr. Hawkins believed in equal education opportunity and dedicated his life to achieve it,” added Wilcher. Representative Hawkins understood that the doors of opportunity must be kept open for all. Augustus F. Hawkins was 100 years old when he passed on Saturday, November 10, 2007. “AAAA will miss Representative Hawkins’ gentlemanly leadership and steadfastness in the face of adversity and prejudice. His was truly a life well-lived,” said Ms. Dunman.

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmation Action (AAAA) is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA helps its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

Former Congressman Hawkins Dies at 100

The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 13, 2007; 5:55 AM

LOS ANGELES -- Augustus Hawkins, who was California's first black congressman and helped form the Congressional Black Caucus, has died. He was 100.
Hawkins died Saturday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., of symptoms related to old age, his niece, Susan Jefferson, said Monday.
Hawkins, a Democrat, represented South Los Angeles for more than half a century, first starting off in the state Legislature in 1935 and then getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962.
Black politicians called Hawkins an inspiration and mentor.
"It was Gus Hawkins who gave us the credibility," said Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles. "It was Gus Hawkins who gave us the ideas. . . . He has left a sterling legacy."
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, who holds Hawkins' former seat, said in a statement that he was "the author of some of the most significant legislation ever passed in the House . . . particularly in the areas of education and labor. He cared about poor and working people."
Hawkins sponsored the equal employment section of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He helped create the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971.
Hawkins also co-wrote the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978 that was designed to reduce unemployment and inflation.
Hawkins retired in 1990 and lived in the Washington, D.C., area. He was director of the Hawkins Family Memorial Foundation of Educational Research and Development, which he founded in 1969 to give college scholarships to young women in his district.
Hawkins' first wife, Pegga Adeline Smith, a concert singer, died in 1966. His second wife, Elsie, whom he married in 1977, died two months ago.

High Court Expresses Frustration With EEOC Charge Definition

November 7, 2007
Workforce Management

Regardless of its ultimate ruling in a case involving administrative processes at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Supreme Court has expressed deep frustration with how the agency files discrimination charges.
In the first oral argument for an employment law case this session on Tuesday, November 6, justices became irritated in trying to define exactly what constitutes a formal charge under EEOC procedures.
The case involves Patricia Kennedy, a FedEx courier who alleges that the pay policies the giant delivery company instituted in 1994 and 1995 discriminate against older workers. On December 3, 2001, she filled out an EEOC intake questionnaire and submitted a four-page affidavit with the agency.
On April 30, 2002, Kennedy and several of her FedEx colleagues filed an age discrimination lawsuit. Kennedy filed her own formal charge of discrimination with the EEOC on May 30, 2002.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, a charge must be filed 60 days before beginning a lawsuit in federal court. A district court ruled that the paperwork Kennedy filed with the EEOC in 2001 did not constitute a formal charge, and dismissed her case. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision.
Now the Supreme Court is trying to parse the EEOC’s charge system. The agency has created a formal charge document, called Form 5. It also provides an intake questionnaire, called Form 283. Sometimes the EEOC treats the intake paper as a charge and sometimes as an informal document.
FedEx’s lawyer argued that the company was not given timely notification of charges against it before Kennedy entered the lawsuit with her colleagues, denying FedEx the opportunity to settle the matter out of court.
A lawyer for Kennedy maintained that the content of the intake questionnaire qualifies it as a formal charge and that the person making the discrimination claim shouldn’t suffer because the EEOC failed to formally notify FedEx of the claim.
During the hearing, Supreme Court justices lost their patience while examining the EEOC process.
“I think the problem here is the EEOC, not anyone else,” said Justice Antonin Scalia. “What kind of agency is this?”
Later, Scalia said that if the EEOC process was clearer, courts wouldn’t be burdened with trying to figure out whether someone intended to formally file discrimination charges against an employer.
No matter how he and his colleagues rule on the case, Scalia wants to send a message to the agency.
“My main concern is to do something that will cause the EEOC to get its act together,” he said. “This whole situation can be traced back to the agency.”
It wasn’t just the conservative Scalia who became animated. At one point in the argument, Justice Stephen Breyer pressed a government attorney to provide the formal definition of a charge.
“Where do I read that?” Breyer demanded as he brandished a pencil with a flourish and jotted down the references.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Friday, November 9, 2007

CSU students not ready to make nice - and they don't have to

San Francisco Chronicle
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, November 8, 2007

The 417,000 students at California State University's 28 campuses are expected to be civil to one another, the university says in its policy manual.
It sounds innocuous - but a federal magistrate says it's an unconstitutional restriction on speech when the policy is used to investigate or discipline students, such as the College Republicans whose members stomped on two flags bearing the name of Allah during an anti-terrorism rally at San Francisco State last year.
"It might be fine for the university to say, 'Hey, we hope you folks are civil to one another,' " U.S. Magistrate Wayne Brazil said last week at a hearing in his Oakland courtroom. "But it's not fine for the university to say, 'If you're not civil, whatever that means, we're going to punish you.' "
Brazil said he would issue a preliminary injunction barring the university from enforcing the civility standard in any disciplinary proceeding. He said the university can continue to enforce another rule disputed by the College Republicans - prohibiting intimidation or harassment - but can use the rule to punish students only for threatening someone's health or safety, and not merely for offensive statements or conduct.
The ruling, which has not yet been issued in writing, was a victory for conservative legal organizations that have filed suits around the nation challenging colleges' speech codes.
Most of those codes were adopted in the 1980s and '90s and prohibit what the schools described as hate speech - expressions that are abusive or demeaning to various racial, ethnic, sexual or religious groups. Opponents, who have often included the American Civil Liberties Union as well as religious conservatives, say the codes amount to censorship and an attempt to stifle debate.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Department of Labor Honors Contractors for EEO Best Practices

On November 8, 2007, the US Department of Labor honored the following federal contractors for best practices in equal employment opportunity: Raytheon Company, Walthan, MA, received the Secretary of Labor's Opportunity Award; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Public Service Enterprise Group, Newark, NJ; and Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL received the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts (EVE) Award; and the Sensory Access Foundation of Sunnyvale, CA received the Exemplary Public Interest Contribution (EPIC) Award.

For more information on these awardees, go to:

AAAA congratulates all of these federal contractors and organizations for their outstanding efforts to promote equal employment opportunity through affirmative action.

Education Department Issues Final Guidance on Racial and Ethnic Data Reporting

On October 19, 2007, the US Department of Education issued final guidance on "Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education." According to the Department, "This guidance provides educational institutions and other recipients of grants and contracts from the Department with clear and straightforward instructions for their collection and reporting of racial and ethnic data." The effective date of this guidance is December 3, 2007. The department states that these changes are necessary in order to implement the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (1997 Standards). See OMB, Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, 62 FR 58782-58790 (October 30, 1997);

"This guidance directly addresses three sets of issues: (1) How educational institutions and other recipients will collect and maintain racial and ethnic data from students and staff; (2) How educational institutions and other recipients will aggregate racial and ethnic data when reporting those data to the Department; and (3) How data on multiple races will be reported and aggregated under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). In addition, this final guidance provides information regarding the implementation schedule for these changes."

According to the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Policy Committtee: This topic will have broad implications for institutions. AIR's Higher Education Data Policy Committee recommends that you widely share copies of this Alert with executive level administrators and individuals at your institution who are responsible for information technology, admissions, student records, financial aid, human resources, affirmative action, institutional research, and any other area that may be affected.

"Institutions will be required to 1) use a two-question format when collecting race/ethnic data, 2) allow students and employees to select one or more of five races, 3) maintain detailed information on student and employee responses for at least three years (or until completion of any legal action involving these records), 4) collect data from students and employees who enter the institution from fall 2010 and later using the two-question format, and 5) begin IPEDS reporting using the new race/ethnicity categories for Fall Enrollment and Human Resources in the 2010-2011 collection year and all relevant components in the 2011-2012 collection year.
Institutions are encouraged to allow current students and employees to re-identify their race/ethnicity using the new standards, and to begin IPEDS reporting using the new race/ethnicity categories for all relevant components in the 2008-2009 collection year. Institutions must implement the requirements by the fall of 2010 to report data for the 2010-2011 school year. To comply with the final guidelines, institutions may have to revise their admissions, employment and registration forms, change data storage and retrieval software, and modify reports and analyses.
Current Status
The final guidance includes requirements for how institutions will collect and maintain race, and ethnicity data and how institutions will report aggregate data to IPEDS, and actions that institutions are "encouraged" to take.
Collection of Data: By the fall of 2010, institutions will be required to collect data from students and employees using a two-question format.
The first question asks whether the respondent is Hispanic or Latino or is Not Hispanic or Latino. The term "Spanish origin" may be used in addition to "Hispanic or Latino." The term Hispanic or Latino is defined as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The second question asks the respondent to select one or more races from the following five racial groups:
American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa. Note: Institutions may collect additional information regarding sub-categories within these categories, such as specific Asian groups, tribal affiliation, or Latino origin, as long as they may be summed into the approved federal classification categories. Institutions must not use a multi-race category in collecting the data from individuals.
The notice states that institutions should include instructions that encourage individuals to answer both the ethnicity question and the race question. Institutions should ensure that a respondent who does not provide race/ethnicity information is refusing to self-identify rather than simply overlooking the questions. According to the final guidance, if the institution has provided adequate opportunity for the respondent to self-identify, and he or she still leaves the items blank or refuses to complete them, observer identification is not required by postsecondary education institutions.
In a subsequent document, the ED will provide instructions that institutions may include on their data collection forms. These instructions will be designed to eliminate confusion and to encourage individuals to answer both questions.
The notice states that institutions are encouraged, but not required, to resurvey students and employees who identified their race/ethnicity using the earlier standards. The ED "expects" that most institutions will provide the opportunity for individuals to re-identify themselves under the new standards. Institutions are encouraged to inform individuals about how the aggregate data are reported in IPEDS.
Retention of Data: Institutions are required to keep the detailed information on student and employee responses for at least three years (or, if needed for litigation, a claim or an audit, until the completion of the action), including racial identification for individuals choosing Hispanic/Latino and multiple race responses. This information may be requested for an Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation or compliance review or other legal action.
IPEDS Reporting: Beginning in the 2010-2011 collection year, institutions must report IPEDS Fall Enrollment and Human Resources aggregate race and ethnicity data using nine categories: 1. Hispanics of any raceFor Non-Hispanic/Latino Individuals only:2. American Indian or Alaska Native 3. Asian 4. Black or African American 5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 6. White 7. &nbs p; Two or more racesPlus8. Race and ethnicity unknown 9. Non-Resident Alien (of any race or ethnicity) Beginning in the 2011-2012 collection year, institutions will be required to use the new IPEDS racial/ethnic categories for all relevant components (Fall Enrollment, Human Resources, Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Graduation Rates).
The notice states that institutions that are already collecting data in the manner specified in the final guidance are encouraged, but not required, to "immediately" begin reporting aggregate data to ED in accordance with the guidance. The new racial/ethnic reporting standards will be available for optional IPEDS reporting for all relevant components beginning in the 2008-2009 collection year. (See for more information on how the NCES will phase in the new IPEDS reporting requirements.)
Bridging Data to Prior Years' Data: The notice discusses alternative bridging methods for linking the new data to data collected under prior requirements. It indicates that further guidance on bridging the data collected before and after these changes take effect can be found in the OMB's December 15, 2000, Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, available at Additional guidance can be found in the OMB's March 9, 2000, Guidance on Aggregation and Allocation of Data on Race for Use in Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement available at
Implications for Institutions
The new OMB standards may require institutions to make considerable investments of both time and money. Coordination among a number of offices (e.g., Information Technology, Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Human Resources, Affirmative Action or EEO, and Institutional Research) will be necessary. Institutions that rely on vendor-developed computer systems should begin discussions with their vendors right away. Those who report through a state system need to coordinate their processes and timing with their states. The ED is enforcing full compliance with IPEDS reporting requirements.
Admissions, registration and employment forms (both hardcopy and on-line) may have to be changed to conform to the new standards.
Adopting the new standards will result in new data, and possibly in a different structure for institutional databases to support multiple race/ethnic categories for each individual. Such a structure may require considerable programming changes in campus-based systems and state-level systems.
Institutions should keep the "old" field for race/ethnicity, especially for the IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey (GRS) cohorts. The IPEDS GRS presents a particular challenge in implementing the new standards because it tracks entering cohorts of students during a period of up to six years (or up to 7.5 years for five-year programs) and is based on the initial fall enrollment racial/ethnic data for each cohort. Students who graduated or withdrew since the initial data were collected cannot be resurveyed.
The computer programs used to generate reports relating to race/ethnicity will need to be modified to accommodate new data structures and the new reporting formats.
The final guidance probably will lead to decreases in institutional IPEDS data in the counts for individual races as individuals are reclassified as Hispanic/Latino or as "two or more races."
The new federal rules for collecting data will increase what many institutions know about the diversity of their community by capturing information on the increasing number of people who identify with more than one race. However, the federal rules for reporting data reduce 64 possible combinations of race/ethnic responses to eight categories - Hispanic/Latino individuals of any race, two or more races, five single-race categories, and Unknown. (Non-resident alien represents the ninth reporting IPEDS category.) Institutions may wish to adopt a different method for internal reporting and for data exchanges.
Institutions may choose to use the "minimum/maximum" approach for some non-IPEDS reporting. For each category, this approach produces a minimal count - the number of individuals who select only one ethnic or racial category, and a maximum count - the number of individuals in a category regardless of other categories they may select. For example, a maximum count of Black/African American students would include those who identified themselves only as Black/African American plus those who identified themselves as Black/African American and also selected Hispanic/Latino and/or one or more other races. The total number resulting from this approach will be greater than the number of individuals in the population. Reports using such a strategy will need to be prepared and explained carefully.
EEO Reporting
The new Department of Education guidelines for reporting race/ethnicity apply to students, faculty and staff. The EEOC collects workforce data by race/ethnicity from universities with hospital employees. Universities that have to complete EEOC reports may need to also consider the EEOC approach to reporting race/ethnicity, especially if information on all faculty/staff is maintained in a shared system. The EEO-1 report, known as the Employer Information Report, was modified in 2007. The report due September 30, 2007, used the revised EEOC race/ethnic categories. The EEOC plans to update their other reports to use the same race and ethnic categories as the new EEO-1 but before doing so, will give respondents a full reporting cycle to change their recordkeeping. For additional information see the Q&A on revised EEO race/ethnicity categories (http: // and the EEO-1 survey ( "

[To view the October 19th DOE guidance, go to: http://frweb for the HTML version; For the PDF version, go to: ]

[To visit the AIR website for more information, go to: ]