Friday, May 30, 2008

Fifth Swastika Found on UND Campus

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Higher Education News
By Associated Press
May 22, 2008, 17:13

A swastika drawn on a University of North Dakota law school window near one of the building's entrances is the fifth found scrawled on campus in the past four months.
UND President Charles Kupchella and Provost Greg Weisenstein issued a statement saying they are ``saddened, disappointed and disgusted.''
``There is no place (at) the University of North Dakota -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- for harassing, demeaning or culturally insensitive acts,'' they said.
UND police have been investigating several incidents of racist graffiti on campus since February. A student has been charged with disorderly conduct in one of the cases. UND administrators have been criticized by regional Jewish organizations and by members of the Jewish Student's Organization on campus for being too slow to react to reports of apparent hate-based incidents. [To view the entire article, go to: ]

Judge Refuses to Force U. of Texas to Reconsider 2 Rejected White Applicants

Chronicle of Higher Education
May 29, 2008
Peter Schmidt

A federal judge has refused to order the University of Texas at Austin to re-evaluate, without any consideration of race or ethnicity, the applications of two white students who have sued the institution, challenging its admissions policies as discriminatory. The lawsuit is continuing.
In a ruling issued late today, Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court in Austin said the lawyers for the two applicants had failed to show that there was a substantial likelihood the students would have been admitted had the university not considered some applicants’ race. The judge also said the lawyers had failed to show that the students would be irreparably harmed if their applications were not re-evaluated in a race-neutral manner while their lawsuit was pending.
The judge said he did not yet have reason to believe there was a strong likelihood the plaintiffs would prevail because the case had not progressed far enough for him to pass judgment on the university’s assertions that it needed to give some consideration to race and ethnicity to enroll a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic students. He said he did not think the potential harm to the two students justified the burden that would be placed on the university if he issued a preliminary order, possibly opening the door for hundreds or thousands of other students to appeal recent admissions decisions. [To read the entire article, go to: ] Subscription required

Higher Education Is in Flux as Demographics Change, Federal Report Shows

Chronicle of Higher Education
Friday, May 30, 2008

For-profit colleges are serving a bigger a share of a market that includes an increasing number of women and minority students, according to report released on Thursday by the U.S. Education Department.
The report, a compendium of data published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics, confirms several significant changes in higher education over recent years. It found that women and minority students accounted for a large proportion of enrollment growth at colleges and universities in the decade leading up to the 2005-6 academic year.
Despite the growing diversity at colleges, however, the nation's minority populations continue to face major educational obstacles, cautions the report, titled "The Condition of Education 2008." Compared with other minority groups, Hispanic students remain underrepresented in colleges and universities, largely because many of them are immigrants who have poor English skills and attend schools in low-income areas.
In a statement released with the report, Mark S. Schneider, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said the document shows that the nation had made some gains, such as increased college enrollment and higher reading and mathematics scores among fourth and eighth graders. "But," he said, "persistent challenges remain in educating a growing and increasingly diverse population."
The Girls Are All Right
The report's findings show that women made great strides relative to men over the 10 years leading up to 2005-6. Women account for nearly two-thirds of the increase in the number of bachelor's and master's degrees and 85 percent of the increase in the number of doctorates awarded by higher-education institutions.
Women's share of total undergraduate enrollment has risen to 57 percent and will most likely remain at that level for the next decade, according to the report.
Men continue to outnumber women among recipients of bachelor's degrees in mathematics, the physical sciences, and engineering, but women earn a larger share of degrees in nearly every major field of study than they did in the mid-1990s. The glaring exceptions are in math, statistics, and computer and information sciences, which men dominate even more than they did before.
Since the 1980s, women have earned more bachelor's degrees than men in the biological and biomedical sciences, and women have nearly caught up in the social sciences, business, and history. And women have increased their lead over men in bachelor's degrees awarded in fields such as education, psychology, and journalism.
Women were still earning fewer doctorates than men as of 2005-6, but just barely, having increased their share of all doctorates received to 49 percent from 40 percent over the past decade. [To read the entire article, go to: ] Subscription required

Cold Reality Intrudes on Diversity Conference in Disney World

Chronicle of Higher Education
Orlando, Fla.
Friday, May 30, 2008

The brochures for the 21st annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education boasted of it being "the leading and most comprehensive national forum" on the issues it covers. About 2,000 people registered for the event, being held this week at the Coronado Springs Resort in Disney World's Animal Kingdom.
In a move befitting this wild locale, one of the nation's leading proponents of diversity in higher education turned on her audience in a biting speech delivered on Thursday. Evelyn Hu-DeHart, director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, suggested that colleges let people attend this annual conference—typically held in family-friendly tourist destinations—to reward them for not making waves by pushing for more equity and black and Hispanic representation on campus.
Calling herself "a hard-nosed critic from the inside," Ms. Hu-DeHart said, "Let's face it: Diversity has created jobs for all of us. It is a career. It is an industry."
"We do what we need to keep our jobs," she said. "But as long as we keep doing our job the way we are told to do it, we are covering up for our universities."
"You all are covering up," she said. "You all are complicit in this."
Driven by Business, not Social Justice
The problem, she argued, is that those who attend the conference—and work in college offices dealing with diversity and minority issues—help their institutions create the impression that they are far more concerned with diversity and equity than is actually the case.
To try to prove her point, she asked her audience to comb through the program for the five-day meeting and note the job descriptions of those who would be speaking, and think about those who seemed absent from this event. The group found plenty of listings for chief diversity officers, administrators and staff members from campus offices in charge of student support, outside diversity consultants, and faculty members in the fields of education, psychology, and ethnic studies. But they found little evidence of the presence of college trustees, presidents, provosts, academic deans, or professors in more traditional academic fields, especially mathematics and science.
Many of those missing, she said, are "the heart of the academic side" of colleges, people who have power over research, curriculum, and the hiring and evaluation of faculty members. [To read the entire article, go to: ] Subscription required.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

United States Failing to Produce Next Generation of Scientists, Technology Leaders Say

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Michelle Nealy
May 29, 2008, 22:49
Vienna, Va.

Two years ago, the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing to examine the relationship between federal science and engineering research, education and economic competitiveness. The committee, then headed by Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-N.Y., acknowledged that the sustained investments in research and education over the last 50 years spawned an abundance of technological breakthroughs that transformed American society and fueled a robust economy.

“We must continue to make those types of investments,” said a group of scholars during a symposium hosted by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.

Policymakers, business leaders and educators gathered in Northern Virginia for a three-day symposium to discuss how to best retain this country’s scientific and technological edge, a task NACME has coined the “New American Dilemma.”

While other nations such as China and India have recognized the connection between innovation and economic growth — and are pouring resources into their scientific and technological infrastructure — the United States has failed to prepare a new generation of scientists and engineers, particularly in communities of color, NACME asserts.

“The ‘New American Dilemma’ comes from this nation’s failure to educate and develop a growing proportion of its potential talent base — African-Americans, Latinos and American Indians — while its needs for people with skills in science and engineering are escalating,” said Dr. John Brooks Slaughter, president and CEO of NACME, noting that the term “American Dilemma” was first used by Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal in reference to race relations 60 years ago.

In 2007, the Bush administration passed the America Competes Act, authorizing new spending in math, science and technology for the remainder of the decade. Included in the legislation were initiatives to attract women and minorities to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through, for example, summer and after-school programs. The act also enables teachers from high-poverty schools to access college research seminars and instructional activities to assist them in the classroom.

Still, businesses representing nearly every industry are now calling on the federal government to do more to address this work force issue. Although the percentage of underrepresented minorities earning degrees in STEM fields has generally increased over the years, a recent NACME report illustrates that the gains are meager.

Only about 1.3 percent of the available pool of minority high school graduates earn engineering degrees from America’s colleges and universities each year. The percentage of bachelor’s degrees in engineering awarded to Black students between 1995 and 2005 declined. In 1995, engineering degrees accounted for 3.3 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black graduates, by 2005 this number decreased to 2.5 percent, the report reveals.

Even more alarming, said Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of the company that is now Lockheed Martin Corp., is that “China currently graduates more English-speaking engineers than the United States. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Justices Say Law Bars Retaliation Over Bias Claims

The New York Times
May 28, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that employees are protected from retaliation when they complain about discrimination in the workplace, adopting a broad interpretation of workers’ rights under two federal civil rights laws.
By decisions of 7 to 2 in one case and 6 to 3 in the other, the court found that the two statutes afford protection from retaliation even though Congress did not explicitly say so.
The decisions are significant both as a practical matter and as evidence of a new tone and direction from the court this year, following a term in which there were sharp divisions and an abrupt conservative turn.
The new rulings were in distinct contrast to one of the signature decisions of the last term, a 5-to-4 decision that placed tight time limits on plaintiffs seeking to file pay-discrimination cases. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who wrote the majority opinion almost exactly a year ago in that case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, wrote one of the two majority opinions on Tuesday. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the other.
One of the cases began as a lawsuit by a clerk for the United States Postal Service in Puerto Rico. The plaintiff, Myrna Gómez-Pérez, 45 at the time, complained that she had been denied a transfer to a different office because of age discrimination. Her lawsuit alleged that as a result of her complaint, she became the target of retaliatory actions by her supervisors.
The other case was brought by a former assistant manager of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, a black man named Hedrick G. Humphries. Mr. Humphries had complained that a white assistant manager had been motivated by racial discrimination in dismissing a black employee. In his lawsuit, Mr. Humphries claimed that he then lost his own job in retaliation for his complaint.
Retaliation complaints are a growing subset of workplace discrimination cases, because it is often easier for employees to demonstrate that they were retaliated against than that they were victims of discrimination in the first place. Retaliation complaints filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doubled in the last 15 years to 22,000 from 11,000.
Congress has provided explicit protection against retaliation in two major federal statutes. One is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race and sex. The other is the provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act that applies in the private sector.
However, there is no such explicit protection in the portion of the age-discrimination law that applies to federal government workers. Nor is there explicit language in a post-Civil War-era statute that gives “all persons” the same right “as is enjoyed by white citizens” when it comes to making and enforcing contracts, such as contracts of employment. Those were the two statutes that the court interpreted on Tuesday.
In both decisions, the majority relied heavily on precedent, reasoning by analogy from recent cases that dealt with claims of retaliation under other statutes. The most recent such case was a ruling issued in 2005, before either Justice Alito or Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court. By a vote of 5 to 4, the court held then that a law known as Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in schools and colleges that receive federal money, also prohibits school officials from retaliating against those who bring sex-discrimination complaints. The statute itself does not mention retaliation.
In his opinion on Tuesday in the federal age-discrimination case, Justice Alito said that the provision in question, broadly prohibiting “discrimination based on age,” was “not materially different” from the anti-discrimination language the court had interpreted both in the Title IX case and in an earlier decision from 1969, interpreting a Reconstruction-era statute that bars racial discrimination in property ownership.
“The context in which the statutory language appears is the same in all three cases,” Justice Alito said. “That is, all three cases involve remedial provisions aimed at prohibiting discrimination.”
In the Postal Service case, Gómez-Pérez v. Potter, No. 06-1321, the federal appeals court in Boston, which has jurisdiction over federal cases from Puerto Rico, dismissed the suit on the ground that the age-discrimination provision that applies to federal workers does not cover retaliation claims.
In his opinion, which overturned the appeals court and reinstated the lawsuit, Justice Alito said that understood in the context of its enactment, the provision did cover retaliation. He noted that while the basic age-discrimination law was passed in 1967, it was not extended to federal workers until 1974.
In the interval, the Supreme Court had issued its decision deeming that the 19th-century property-rights law covered retaliation. Congress was “presumably familiar” with that case, Justice Alito said, and “had reason to expect” that the new age-discrimination provision would be interpreted with similar breadth.
In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Roberts said that, to the contrary, Congress was “well aware” that the Civil Service Commission had issued detailed regulations protecting federal employees against retaliation. The chief justice said that Congress should be understood to have made a judgment that retaliation problems in the federal work force should be dealt with administratively rather than judicially.
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas joined the dissenting opinion.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Our Own Glass Ceilings

The Washington Post
By Ruth Marcus
Wednesday, May 28, 2008; A13

As Hillary Clinton cracks her head against what she likes to call "the highest and hardest glass ceiling," there's no doubt that she craves the presidency as much as any man does.
But a new report from the Brookings Institution suggests an unexpected reason for the relative paucity of women elsewhere in political office and the dearth of credible female presidential candidates: an ambition gap.
"Somewhat surprisingly," write political scientists Jennifer Lawless of Brown University and Richard Fox of Loyola Marymount, women's underrepresentation "is not because of discrimination against women candidates. In fact, women perform as well as men when they do run for office. In terms of fundraising and vote totals, the consensus among researchers is the complete absence of overt gender bias."
Rather, the "fundamental reason for women's underrepresentation is that they do not run for office. There is a substantial gender gap in political ambition; men tend to have it, and women don't."
Surveying thousands of business leaders, educators and political activists, Lawless and Fox found "clear and compelling evidence that women, even in the highest tiers of professional accomplishment, are substantially less likely than men to demonstrate ambition to seek elected office." These results held true regardless of age, partisan affiliation, income and profession.
Equally unsettling, they note, this ambition gap is not shrinking. The number of women seeking political office grew steadily during the 1980s, and surged in the early 1990s -- remember the Year of the Woman? -- but has since leveled off. Today, women account for fewer than one out of four elected statewide officials, one in six members of Congress, and -- perhaps most relevant considering the traditional road to the presidency -- eight of 50 governors.
Why this reluctance to take the political plunge? "Women are less likely than men to be willing to endure the rigors of a political campaign," Lawless and Fox write. "They are less likely than men to be recruited to run for office. They are less likely than men to have the freedom to reconcile work and family obligations with a political career. They are less likely than men to think they are 'qualified' to run for office."
Oh, boy -- oh, girl?-- does that ring true.
The women in the survey were far less likely to be married or have children than the men were, and those who did had their hands full: 60 percent of the women, compared with 4 percent of the men, said they were responsible for the majority of child care.
As Beloit College political scientist Georgia Duerst-Lahti put it, "Women may now think about running for office, but they probably think about it while they are making the bed." Chugging down the Mommy Track may leave little time for pursuing a third, often all-consuming career.
The ambition gap also reflected an underlying, and pronounced, cockiness gap. One-third of men, but just one in five women, rated themselves "very qualified" to hold political office; twice as many women (12 percent) as men (6 percent) considered themselves "not at all qualified." Men were more likely to try for federal office, women for the local school board. Nearly half the women, but fewer than a third of the men, said they did not "have thick enough skin" to run.
Those responses resonated with my own experiences. Becoming a parent tempered my career ambitions in ways I never anticipated. There are jobs I once wanted -- jobs I'd be good at, actually -- that now I would not pursue. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New York outlaws displaying nooses as a threat

The Washington Post
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 15, 2008; 7:15 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state of New York has outlawed the display of a noose as a threat, following several high-profile cases involving the symbol of racist lynchings.
Gov. David Paterson signed the law Thursday to make such displays a felony punishable by as many as four years in prison.
"It is sad that in these modern times there remains a need to address the problem of individuals who use nooses as a means of threat and intimidation," he said in a statement. "But it is a reality, and if we ignore it we would be derelict in our duty."
Nooses were found last year on a black professor's door at Columbia University, outside a post office near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in Manhattan, and on Long Island.
They also have shown up in a black Coast Guard cadet's bag aboard a cutter and on a Maryland college campus. One of the more prominent cases involved black teenagers charged with beating a white student after nooses were hung from a tree at a Louisiana high school.
Conduct already covered by the law includes the display of swastikas on property without the permission of the property owner, as well as the burning of crosses.
Connecticut passed a bill this year making noose displays a misdemeanor unless property is damaged, which would be a felony. At least two other states, Louisiana and Maryland, have considered similar rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


May 21, 2008

Corrections Department Provided Lesser Benefits to Female Corrections Officers Who Gave Birth While on Workers’ Compensation Leave

NEW YORK – The New York State Department of Correctional Services will pay nearly $1 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the two offices announced today. The EEOC and the United States had charged the Corrections Department with violating federal law by providing inferior benefits to female employees on maternity leave.
The EEOC suit, filed under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (Case No. 07-CV-2587 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York), charged that the Corrections Department gave male employees with work-related injuries up to six months of paid workers’ compensation leave. Female employees could be granted the same leave, but pregnant employees on such leave were involuntarily switched to maternity leave at or around the time they gave birth. The Corrections Department’s maternity leave policy requires that women first use their accrued sick or vacation leave with pay; then, if approved, sick leave with half pay and then sick leave without pay.
The EEOC charged that switching women from workers’ compensation leave to maternity leave resulted in lesser benefits for those women due to their sex and thus violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The EPA is a federal law requiring that employers pay men and women equally for equal work.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York joined the lawsuit by adding claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged that the Corrections Department engaged in a pattern and practice of employment discrimination on the basis of sex as a result of its categorical determination that a female employee who gives birth to a child should be transferred from workers’ compensation leave and benefits without making a determination whether, on an individual basis, an employee continues to be eligible for workers’ compensation leave and benefits.
Late yesterday, the court granted final approval of an Order and Stipulation Providing for Injunction and Affirmative Relief, which provides $972,000 in compensatory damages, liquidated damages, back pay and interest to 23 female Corrections employees. The back pay, which includes the value of leave some women were forced to take, has already been paid. The order also contains a modification provision whereby the court may order additional monetary relief to additional victims who are identified following the settlement.
Also in the order, which is subject to monitoring by the EEOC, the United States and the court for up to five years, the Corrections Department agreed to several elements of injunctive relief as to all its facilities statewide. It has amended its workers’ compensation directive to provide that no female Corrections officer shall be removed from workers’ compensation benefits due to pregnancy or the birth of a child, and it will provide anti-discrimination training to employees across the state, along with training in the administration of workers’ compensation benefits to its personnel employees. The Corrections Department will also give to each female employee preparing to take a maternity leave a packet of all applicable policies, procedures and benefits.
“I am confident that this case has shown the Corrections Department that what might seem like a slight difference in benefits between a man and a pregnant woman can really take a toll on an employee’s life,” said Raechel Adams, the EEOC trial attorney handling the case. “Mostly, I am pleased that with the injunctive relief in place, the Corrections Department will now treat men and women equally for equal work when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits.”
The Department of Corrections is the New York state government entity responsible for the confinement and habilitation of approximately 63,000 inmates held at 69 state correctional facilities across New York State, including approximately 1,700 at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, where this action originated.
EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. commented, “The EEOC is very grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this very important case. It was our working hand in hand, under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII together, that allowed us to achieve such a fine result.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

AAAA Launches New Web Look

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) has updated its website and adopted a new look that reflects its mission and service to its members and the public at large. The newly revised site also reflects the new color scheme: red, white and blue, and adds more functionality, including videos, pictures that recall the civil rights movement, news feeds, a photo gallery and a tab for supporting the Association.

The AAAA site also has a search engine, a site map, an events calendar and a place for nonmembers to sign in for news and information about AAAA. The site also contains tabs that connect you directly to the AAAA blog and the bookstore.

Visit the exciting new look at


Commission Partners with SSA to Examine Key Issues Facing Fastest Growing Community
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the formation of a partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to launch a Hispanic Work Group examining the community’s concerns about federal sector employment, including leadership development, hiring, and retention.
“The federal government must tap into the valuable resources provided by the Hispanic community, the most rapidly expanding population in America,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “The work group will examine innovative ways to tackle the issues and obstacles confronted by this diverse community. We are proud to partner in this endeavor with SSA, one of the federal leaders in the employment of Hispanic individuals.”
Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue said, “Social Security is proud to have a workforce that reflects the American public we serve. Diversity strengthens our organization and enhances the quality of our service. We look forward to working with the EEOC to make the federal government an employer of choice for the Hispanic community.”
The members of the new work group represent a cross-section of agencies, departments and external stakeholders, including the following:
Milton Belardo, Senior EEO Manager, Policy and Evaluation Division, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Commerce;
Nancy Bosque, Team Leader, Cultural Diversity & External Reports Team, Office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity, Social Security Administration;
Delia L. Johnson, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Broadcasting Board of Governors;
Nicolas Juarez, Southwest Area Manager, Dispute Resolution, United States Postal Service;
Isabel Kaufman, Equal Opportunity Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration;
Eugenio Ochoa Sexton, Director, Recruiting and Diversity, U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
Beatrice Pacheco, Associate Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Programs, Departmental Office of Civil Rights, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation;
Jesse D. Solis, Chief, Photo Imaging Branch, Randolph Air Force Base, U.S. Department of the Air Force; and
Ramón Surís Fernández, Esq., Director, Civil Rights Center, U.S. Department of Labor.
“The composition of the work group is diverse in race, ethnicity and gender, and is comprised of persons from various agencies, grade levels, occupational categories, levels of management, and professions,” Chair Earp added.
Veronica Villalobos, an attorney advisor to Chair Earp and the newly appointed chair of the work group, said: “We are very excited to begin this effort to benefit the Hispanic community and the federal agencies whose workforces will be strengthened through broader participation. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with this group of dedicated individuals. We look forward to sharing our progress and soliciting feedback during the Hispanic Employment Program Managers Summit at the EEOC’s 2008 EXCEL Conference.”
The EEOC monitors federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and procedures. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


The Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) has issued new regulations and a new form for reporting of veterans' employment data. The new VETS regulations may be found at: These regulations, issued on May 19, 2008, announce the creation of a new federal contractor veterans employment report, the "VETS-100A Report," required by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act of 2002. The final regulations issued on May 19th apply only to covered government contracts entered into or modified on or after December 1, 2003. These regulations, 41 CFR Part 61-300, are effective on June 18, 2008. The annual report must be filed on September 30. Copies of the VETS - 100A reports submitted to DOL must be maintained for one year.

The current regulations, found at 41 CFR part 61-250, which require contractors to complete the Federal Contractor Veterans Employment Report ("VETS 100 Report") continue to apply to federal contracts entered into before December 1, 2003.

Execs Key to Recruiting Diverse Workers

Workforce Management
May 28, 2008

Nearly seven in 10 say the responsibility rests with top brass.
By Garry Kranz

Varied Workforce: Diversity efforts are doomed to fail unless top executives set the tone. Nearly 70 percent of executive recruiters say corporate leaders need to spearhead direction of diversity projects. Only 13 percent think diversity is the responsibility of boards of directors, while 11 percent believe human resources departments should take the lead. Those are the conclusions from new research by Korn/Ferry International, a Los Angeles-based talent management consulting firm. It’s apparent that diversity also isn’t confined to the rank and file. Korn/Ferry says nearly half of all recruiters include minority candidates in at least one-quarter of their executive searches. Globalization continues to drive “increased visibility around diversity issues” according to 49 percent of recruiters, while 30 percent believe it’s because of the “increased presence of women and minorities” in the workplace.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Opponents and Supporters of Affirmative Action Debate Use of Race in College Admissions

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
By Michelle J. Nealy
May 22, 2008, 22:27


A candid discussion on race-conscious college admissions policies and affirmative action ruffled feathers, as representatives from both sides of the issue met in Washington to debate whether colleges and universities could achieve significant diversity without using race or ethnicity as a factor in admissions decisions.

Hosted by Cox, Matthews and Associates, the publishers of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, the seminar, “Diversity Without Preferences: Is it Possible?” launched a two-hour discussion on the role historic, systemic discrimination, socioeconomic status, substandard primary education and other societal impediments play in the college preparedness of minority applicants. No consensus was reached. Opponents and proponents of using race in college admissions stood their ground.

Roger Clegg, a panelist and president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a nonprofit social justice organization, was firm in his belief that race and ethnicity should not be used in college admissions decisions.

“We cannot do that in 2008 if we are admitting the most academically qualified students,” he said. “That is a problem, but it can be solved only if we get rid of the disparity in academic qualifications. Disparities, Clegg insisted, are caused by “illegitimacy and culture.”

“If you have an ethnic group that has 7 out of 10 children born out of wedlock, they are not going to have the same academic qualifications as an ethnic group that has a 1 out of 10 illegitimacy rate,” said Clegg, comparing African-Americans to Japanese Americans.

Clegg and his organization are aligned with a group of advocacy organizations that believe race and ethnicity should never be used in college admissions.

Offering a counter argument in support of affirmative action, Shirley Wilcher, a panelist and executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, said “preference” was a loaded term.

“I take issue with the use of the word preferences in this discussion,” said Wilcher, “giving it any legitimacy adds to the arguments of those on the right who would do away with any and all forms of affirmative action.”

Wilcher, whose work in civil rights began with a legal clerkship with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1978, has served as staff attorney at the National Women’s Law Center and as deputy secretary for contract compliance from 1994-2001 at the U.S. Department of Labor.

She added that in the cases of higher education, business and employment, “affirmative action doesn’t mean preference, and it doesn’t mean quotas. Affirmative action is a set of positive steps taken to promote equal opportunity. We have to acknowledge that the playing field simply isn’t level.”

The affirmative action debate has raged on for decades, offering various court rulings that temporarily appeased advocates on both sides of the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court limits the capacity of colleges and universities to use race as a factor in admissions.

Still, California businessman and activist Ward Connerly, who opposes affirmative action programs based on race and gender, has prevailed three times in elections, with voters in California, Michigan and Washington state approving proposals banning government-sponsored race and gender preferences in public education, state hiring and public contracts.

Connerly targeted five states with similar measures this year, but the campaign already has suffered two defeats — conceding that too few signatures would be gathered by the deadline in Missouri, and bowing out in Oklahoma in the face of challenges to the signatures gathered there.

Instead of taking sides in the debate, Dr. Juan Gilbert, an associate computer science professor at Auburn University, presented what he believes to be a technological solution to the affirmative action debate within higher education, a holistic evaluation of college applications that he claims is effective and objective.

“Applications Quest allows you to achieve a diverse group of admitted applicants in line with school academic standards and objectives, without giving preference to any racial group or ethnicity in admissions decisions,” Gilbert said. (The owners of CMA Publishing have an ownership interest in AQ.)

Applications Quest, a computer software program, groups a school’s applicants into numerous clusters, each containing students with similar backgrounds and qualifications. The students are grouped using a broad range of common attributes rather than a single criterion such as race. Applications may then be selected from each cluster to ensure a diverse group of accepted applicants.

“In order to give preference, you must identify the thing you want to give preference to,” said Gilbert. “The software has no ability to say this is race, let me [apply a few] extra points to their application. Every difference [race, gender and GPA] is treated in an equal way,” Gilbert says.

Joyce Smith, a panelist and chief executive officer of the National Association of College Admission Counseling, remained neutral on the issue of affirmative action but insisted on the necessity of programs that make higher education accessible for underrepresented minorities, who will soon be a majority in this country. Colleges have to change to become more inclusive, she said.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Push is set for workplace diversity

The Boston Globe
By John C. Drake
Globe Staff / May 19, 2008

Massachusetts civic leaders and business executives are preparing a major push to improve the diversity of the state's workforce by keeping closer track of the numbers of minority and female employees.
more stories like this
The new push comes less than a year after a detailed survey showed that the state's largest businesses and nonprofit institutions are led almost exclusively by white men.
Leaders of the effort, including former Suffolk district attorney Ralph C. Martin II and Steve Crosby, dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, say the state's institutions need to take public action to improve diversity and counter a perception, lingering since the busing controversy of the 1970s, that Massachusetts has a hostile racial climate.
"We have a branding problem in Boston, but we also have a real problem in Boston," Crosby said.
Seventy-six institutions, from Wal-Mart to Bunker Hill Community College, have already signed on to the program - called the Commonwealth Compact - in advance of a public appeal set for Friday, when Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino will back the effort. By joining the program, employers will be asked to make several commitments that will give the public some new insights into the diversity of the private workforce, organizers said.
Employers will agree to supply demographic data on their workforce, executive team, and applicant pool to a central database and commit to taking steps to improve their diversity. The Commonwealth Compact will, in turn, report to the public on the diversity of the state's workforce, categorized by the type of business or institution.
The public reports will not include details on each company's workforce, which one diversity specialist said weakened the initiative's potential impact. But Martin said the program is focused on "collective accountability," and won't point the finger at individual employers.
"There's an old saying, 'That which gets measured, gets done,' " said Martin, a managing partner of Bingham McCutchen, a law firm that is one of the early signers of the compact. "We're going to throw our lot in with each other and represent in a very transparent way whether or not our industries are making progress." [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Report: Ethnic Pride Has Mixed Impact on Asian Americans’ Ability To Deal With Discrimination

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Michelle J. Nealy
May 19, 2008, 22:37

Strong ties to their ethnicity can reduce the negative effects of racism for some Asian Americans and intensify the negative effects of racism for others, according to a new report published by the American Psychological Association.

Using the first nationally representative sample of Asian adults in the Unites States, three researchers examined the impact of ethnic identity and mental health among various Asian American populations in an effort to find out whether strong racial ties protected them against the negative psychological effects of discrimination.

Asian American adults, ages 18-75 years old, were questioned about any negative feelings they may have had in the previous 30 days. Participants were also asked about their perceptions of racial and ethnic discrimination, how often they felt discriminated against because of their ethnicity and how close they felt their feelings were to others in the same ethnic group.

For participants born outside the United States, embracing their ethnic identity did not guard against the ill effects of discrimination on psychological wellness. However, for Asians born in the United States, ethnic attachment did affect whether discrimination made people feel more distressed.

“Among adults in their 40s, feeling strongly about their own background can counteract the negative effects of discrimination,” says Dr. Tiffany Yip, the report’s lead author and an assistant professor at Fordham University. [To see the entire article, go to: ]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What Trends Are Emerging in Paid Maternity Leave?

Workforce Management: May 15, 2008

Q. Are employees still eligible to apply for other jobs or promotional opportunities while on FMLA?

We recently had several new promotional opportunities within our company and more than 50 internal candidates applied, one of whom was a woman on FMLA and not scheduled to return to work until after the posting's close date. She did apply before the deadline and subsequently got the promotion. But many of the male candidates are upset and questioned why she was able to apply while out on leave. How do we resolve what suddenly has become a sensitive issue within our company?—Friction in Administration, services, Omaha, Nebraska

FMLA is silent on this specific circumstance. The regulations generally focus on reinstatement rights (i.e., what happens to the employee's job when she returns to work), not on what happens while she is out on leave. So, in answering this question, we'll have to consider the spirit of the regulation, rather than explicit language.First, under FMLA the reinstated employee has no less right, and no greater right, to the benefits and conditions of employment than if she had been continuously employed during the FMLA period. The federal Department of Labor, which enforces this law, generally takes the broad view that taking FMLA leave cannot be used as a negative factor in employment actions, including hiring and promotions.In your circumstance, if the employee had been continuously employed during the posting period, she would have been entitled to apply. Presumably, since she received the promotion, she was fully qualified for the new position, and would have been given the new job regardless of whether she was on leave. From this perspective, you did the right thing in allowing her to apply.Technically, one could argue that an employee's right to these equal "benefits and conditions of employment" was applicable when she was reinstated, not while she was out on leave. However, you cannot disadvantage an employee on FMLA leave by applying policies that you don't apply to employees taking other types of leave. And, of course, before implementing any type of policy limiting hiring and applying for promotions there are other compliance issues to consider, such as EEO and ADA.In helping your organization recover from this sensitive issue, your best tool is communicating a few key messages. First, be clear in communicating that the employee's leave did not give her an advantage, or disadvantage, in the promotion process. She followed the same application and consideration process as every other applicant, and her leave was immaterial. The next point is that the best outcome for the organization was achieved—the most qualified candidate won the promotion. Finally, it's important to realize that while your communication may be primarily intended for those upset over the promotion, it also will be received by others who may be worried that use of leave may negatively affect their own career development within the organization. By taking the high road on this issue, you're communicating your commitment to abide by both the spirit and the letter of FMLA.

SOURCE: Ophelia Galindo, Buck Consultants, Orange, California, May 1, 2008.
LEARN MORE: Tips for minimizing FMLA costs.

Q. What Trends Are Emerging in Paid Maternity Leave?

Many organizations handle paid maternity leave through their disability program. It has recently become popular to develop maternity/paternity leave programs that apply to both parents and also cover adoption and the need to take time off for children beyond the infant stage (such as attending school programs). According to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, the percentage of organizations offering paid maternity leave increased from 14 percent in 2003 to 18 percent in 2007; the percentage offering paid paternity leave jumped from 12 percent to 17 percent over the same time period. Practices vary considerably by industry.One recommendation would be to view this benefit from a total rewards perspective. Evaluate the business needs for human capital, review the challenges the workforce is posing, evaluate what is valued by the target population, and benchmark the practices at peer organizations. Once your firm has achieved a better understanding of these issues, it can better determine what would make the most sense for its employees.With regard to the differences between management and staff classifications, the firm should evaluate the reasons for segmenting the plan and review state laws. The recent trend has been to minimize the distinctions between management and staff or exempt and nonexempt positions. In general, needs don't change based on position, although employees in nonexempt positions who do not have the flexibility to work at home may have greater needs. Providing distinctions in benefit programs tends to create caste systems that can be detrimental to morale.

SOURCE: Steven F. Cyboran, Sibson Consulting, a division of the Segal Co., Chicago, April 25, 2008.

LEARN MORE: Some companies are taking steps to help identify pregnancies that could result in premature births and costly claims.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Congress Clears the Way for Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Presidential Signing

On May 1, 2008, the House passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by a vote of 414 to 1. On April 24th, 2008, one day before the annual celebration of National DNA Day, the Senate passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act by a vote of 95 to 0. GINA will protect individuals against discrimination based on their genetic information when it comes to health insurance and employment. These protections are intended to encourage Americans to take advantage of genetic testing as part of their medical care.
The bill is now slated to go to President Bush for his signature.

Senate Bill summary:
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 - Title I: Genetic Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance - (Sec. 101) Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit a group health plan from adjusting premium or contribution amounts for a group on the basis of genetic information.
Prohibits a group health plan from requesting or requiring an individual or family member of an individual from undergoing a genetic test. Provides that such prohibition does not: (1) limit the authority of a health care professional to request an individual to undergo a genetic test; or (2) preclude a group health plan from obtaining or using the results of a genetic test in making a determination regarding payment. Requires the plan to request only the minimum amount of information necessary to accomplish the intended purpose.
Allows a group health plan to request, but not require, a participant or beneficiary to undergo a genetic test for research purposes if certain requirements are met, including: (1) the plan clearly indicates that compliance is voluntary and that noncompliance will have no effect on enrollment status or premium or contribution amounts; (2) no genetic information collected or acquired is used for underwriting purposes; and (3) the plan notifies the Secretary of Health and Human Services that it is conducting activities pursuant to this exception and includes a description of the activities.
Prohibits a group health plan from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information: (1) for underwriting purposes; or (2) with respect to any individual prior to such individual's enrollment in connection with such enrollment (provides that incidentally obtains such information is not a violation).
Applies such prohibitions to all group health plans, including small group health plans.
Provides that any reference to genetic information concerning an individual or family member includes genetic information of: (1) a fetus carried by a pregnant woman; and (2) an embryo legally held by an individual or family member utilizing an assisted reproductive technology.
Authorizes a penalty against any sponsor of a group health plan for any failure to meet requirements of this Act. Allows a waiver or limitation on such penalty if the failure was not discovered after exercising reasonable diligence or was due to reasonable cause.
(Sec. 102) Amends the PHSA to prohibit: (1) a health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage in the individual market from establishing eligibility rules for enrollment based on genetic information; (2) discrimination on the basis of genetic information for health insurance offered in the individual market in the same manner as such discrimination is prohibited for group coverage; and (3) the imposition by a health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage in the individual market of a preexisting condition exclusion on the basis of genetic information.
Applies such requirements to nonfederal governmental plans.
(Sec. 104) Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to prohibit an issuer of a Medicare supplemental policy, on the basis of genetic information, from: (1) denying or conditioning the issuance or effectiveness of the policy, including the imposition of any exclusion of benefits based on a preexisting condition; or (2) discriminating in the pricing of the policy, including the adjustment of premium rates.
Prohibits an issuer of a Medicare supplemental policy from: (1) requesting or requiring an individual or a family member to undergo a genetic test; or (2) requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information for underwriting purposes or for any individual prior to enrollment.
(Sec. 105) Amends title XI (General Provisions, Peer Review, and Administrative Simplification) of SSA to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to revise Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy regulations to: (1) treat genetic information as health information; and (2) prohibit the use or disclosure by a group health plan, health insurance coverage, or Medicare supplemental policy of genetic information about an individual for underwriting purposes.
(Sec. 106) Requires the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury to ensure that their regulations, rulings, and interpretations under this title are administered so as to have the same effect at all times and that they adopt a coordinated enforcement strategy.
Title II: Prohibiting Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Genetic Information - (Sec. 202) Prohibits, as an unlawful employment practice, an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee from discriminating against an employee, individual, or member because of genetic information, including: (1) for an employer, by failing to hire or discharging an employee or otherwise discriminating against an employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; (2) for an employment agency, by failing or refusing to refer an individual for employment; (3) for a labor organization, by excluding or expelling a member from the organization; (4) for an employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee, by causing or attempting to cause an employer to discriminate against a member in violation of this Act; or (5) for an employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee, by discriminating against an individual in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeships or other training or retraining.
Prohibits, as an unlawful employment practice, an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee from limiting, segregating, or classifying employees, individuals, or members because of genetic information in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive such individuals of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect their status as employees.
Prohibits, as an unlawful employment practice, an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee from requesting, requiring, or purchasing an employee's genetic information, except for certain purposes, which include where: (1) such information is requested or required to comply with certification requirements of family and medical leave laws; (2) the information involved is to be used for genetic monitoring of the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace; and (3) the employer conducts DNA analysis for law enforcement purposes as a forensic laboratory.

(Sec. 206) Requires an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee that possesses any genetic information about an employee or member to maintain such information in separate files and treat such information as a confidential medical record.
Prohibits an employer, employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee from disclosing such genetic information, except: (1) to the employee or member upon request; (2) to an occupational or other health researcher; (3) in response to a court order; (4) to a government official investigating compliance with this Act if the information is relevant to the investigation; (5) in connection with the employee's compliance with the certification provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or such requirements under state family and medical leave laws; or (6) to a public health agency.
(Sec. 207) Sets forth provisions regarding enforcement of this Act.
(Sec. 208) Provides that disparate impact on the basis of genetic information does not establish a cause of action under this Act.
Establishes the Genetic Nondiscrimination Study Commission six years after enactment of this Act to review the developing science of genetics and to make recommendations to Congress regarding whether to provide a disparate impact cause of action under this Act. Authorizes appropriations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to carry out this section.
(Sec. 212) Authorizes appropriations.
Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 301) Provides that if any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act shall not be affected.
(Sec. 302) Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the maximum employer penalty for violations involving oppressive child labor provisions or certain child labor safety requirements. Establishes an additional civil penalty for any such violation that causes the death or serious injury of an employee under the age of 18, which may be doubled for a repeated or willful violation.
Defines "serious injury" as: (1) permanent loss or substantial impairment of one of the senses or of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; or (2) permanent paralysis or substantial impairment that causes loss of movement or mobility of a body part.
Increases the maximum civil penalty for any repeated or willful violation of minimum wage or maximum hours requirements.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Calif installs 1st black female legislative leader

Published: 5/13/08, 9:07 PM EDT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California on Tuesday installed the nation's first black female legislative leader, swearing in Los Angeles Democrat Karen Bass as speaker of the state Assembly.
Bass said at the ceremony that she feels the weight of history on her shoulders.
"If we could only harness the power of our common humanity, I don't think there's anything we couldn't do for the people of this state," she said.
The 54-year-old becomes the 67th speaker, succeeding fellow Los Angeles Democrat Fabian Nunez. He is relinquishing the post at the end of the year because of term limits.
Bass was a physician's assistant before being elected to the Assembly in 2004 and is known for writing legislation on child welfare and social justice issues. As speaker, she will hold what is regarded as the second most powerful post in state government behind the governor. [To view the entire story, go to: ]

New Jersey Governor Signs Paid Family Leave Bill

Workforce Management

While on leave, employees will receive payments from a state fund to replace two-thirds of their salary, up to a maximum of $524 a week. Lawmakers expect employees, on average, to collect weekly benefits of $415.-->

May 5, 2008
New Jersey Governor Signs Paid Family Leave Bill
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine on Friday, May 2, signed legislation that will entitle employees in the state to take up to six weeks of paid leave per year after the birth or adoption of a child or to take care of a seriously ill relative.
Under the new law, which will go into effect next year, parents can take paid leave anytime during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption. Employees also can take leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner receiving inpatient care in a health care facility or under continuing supervision of a health care provider.
While on leave, employees will receive payments from a state fund to replace two-thirds of their salary, up to a maximum of $524 a week. Lawmakers expect employees, on average, to collect weekly benefits of $415.
An employee who applies for paid leave will be eligible for benefits after a waiting period of seven consecutive days. Employers can require an employee to take up to two weeks of unused vacation time before receiving the paid family leave, one week of which would be used to cover the waiting period.
The new benefit will be fully funded through employee payroll deductions, the size of which would be based on salary, with a maximum annual contribution of $33 per employee per year.
Employees’ contributions are to begin starting January 1, while benefits are to be available beginning July 1, 2009.
New Jersey is the third state to enact paid family leave legislation. California passed a similar measure in 2002 and Washington state last year approved a bill that gives employees up to five weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, though that law has not yet gone into effect.

Missouri Civil Rights Initiative stays in play even though ballot campaign ends

May 12, 2008 5:21 p.m. CST
COLUMBIA — Students, faculty and staff overflow from the sidewalks onto the streets. Chants are heard, signs are raised and fists are pumped in the air on MU’s campus down Rollins Street, in front of Johnston Hall. They want their message known: The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative is not welcome here. Pedestrians look at the crowd, some taking informational fliers and others trying to understand the purpose behind the protest. Cars honk to acknowledge the growing crowd. Leaders shout into bullhorns. The protest, slowly moving towards Jesse Hall, is peaceful.
Rewind to the days of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Students at universities across the country held protests against the war and for equality. Martin Luther King Jr. led marches in Alabama, Mississippi and other Southern states to express the need for equality for all people, regardless of race, religion or gender. Police met King’s efforts with dogs and water hoses, especially in Birmingham, Ala.

Fast forward 40 years later to April 15. New leaders emerge to guide people down the streets of Columbia. No police or government officials countered the march.
“We are potentially in a new civil rights movement,” Winston Tracy, an MU graduate student, said.. Students marched to defend their civil rights through affirmative action. They were speaking out against the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative.

Introducing the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative
In late 2002, North Central Missouri College’s Director of Admissions Tim Asher noticed a common thread in how the diversity scholarship was being awarded. He said the process was guided by the race or ethnicity of the applicant.
Asher researched the matter further and found that a variety of programs and scholarships in Missouri higher education, public contracting and government employment were based on these preferences. He took action.
Asher called the American Civil Rights Institute to discuss his findings in early 2005. He reached out to Ward Connerly, a former University of California regent, to begin the process of trying to place an anti-affirmative action initiative on the Missouri ballot. Previously, Connerly had led similar citizen-driven propositions in California, Washington and Michigan, and those had passed. In June 2007, Asher submitted wording for a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office.
The proposed amendment was the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative. The initiative sought to ban statewide and local affirmative action programs granting preferential treatment based upon race, gender, ethnicity or origin in public education, employment and contracting.
The initiative hit a few bumps on the road to the November 2008 ballot.
May 4 was the deadline for collecting signatures. Asher’s group needed to collect 140,000 to 150,000 signatures and hired an army of paid petitioners, which is equal to 8 percent of six of Missouri’s nine districts during the 2004 gubernatorial election, to gather them. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

U. of Delaware Approves New Diversity Discussions for Students


Six months after suspending its controversial dormitory-based diversity sessions, the University of Delaware has approved a plan to replace them with a new residence-life program.
On Monday, Delaware's Faculty Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of the plan, which was designed to promote "citizenship" among students. The program's activities, which are voluntary, would encourage students "to become engaged and active citizens on campus by understanding how their thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions affect people with whom they live and by recognizing their citizenship responsibilities"—an objective similar to the stated goal of the previous program (The Chronicle, November 16, 2007).
Unlike its predecessor, the new program would have administrative and faculty oversight, and would rely more heavily on trained professionals—as opposed to resident assistants—to lead discussions among students, according to university officials. The university plans to regularly assess whether the program is meeting students' needs.
The new program would also emphasize student safety, personal development, and "cultural opportunities" on the campus, according to the university. And it would encourage students to conserve resources, such as by recycling and taking shorter showers, in accordance with Delaware's commitment to sustainability.
Last year some students and professors complained that the previous residence-life program promoted specific views on race, sexuality, and morality. Bill Rivers, a sophomore, told The Chronicle in November that under the previous program, some resident assistants had forced students into uncomfortable discussions about divisive issues, such as abortion, gay marriage, and affirmative action. "It's bullying," Mr. Rivers said. "There's no educational justification for RA's asking you these questions."
In October, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based free-speech group, called the program "systematic thought reform" and urged the university to suspend it. Days later, Delaware's president, Patrick T. Harker, did just that.
Delaware officials have conceded that the previous program was flawed. Perhaps the biggest error was the university's failure to clarify that students' participation in the discussions was optional.
When the new program begins next fall, however, the university will make sure students know they can opt out of any of the activities without penalty, says Matthew J. Robinson, chairman of the Faculty Senate's Committee on Student Life, which recently reviewed the previous program.
[To read the entire story, go to: ] (Subscription required)

Monday, May 12, 2008


EEOC Said Cajun Eateries Refused to Hire or Promote Males to Bartender Jobs

DALLAS — Razzoo’s, a Dallas/Fort Worth-based Cajun food restaurant chain, will pay $1 million and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged Razzoo’s with discriminating against a class of male applicants and employees.
The EEOC said that Razzoo's refused to hire or promote men to the position of bartender in its restaurants. Razzoo's management set up and communicated to managers by e-mail a plan for an 80-20 ratio of women to men behind the bar, the EEOC said. Male applicants and servers were expected to testify at trial -- which will now be unnecessary because of this pre-trial settlement -- that managers told them Razzoo's wanted mostly “girls” behind the bar. Men who worked as servers at the restaurants were generally denied promotion to bartender because of their gender. The few men who were promoted to bartender were not allowed to work lucrative “girls-only” bar­tend­ing events.
Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
"Some may think that sex sells drinks, but gender ratios are illegal," said Suzanne M. Anderson, EEOC supervisory trial attorney and lead counsel on the lawsuit (EEOC v. Razzoo's, Civil Action No. 3:05-CV-0562-P, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division). "Razzoo's decision to hire and promote by gender is a clear violation of federal law. A hiring ratio is illegal whether it is 80-20 whites to blacks or 80-20 women to men."
As provided in the consent decree settling the suit, Razzoo's agreed to pay $775,000 to be divided among a class of male applicants, male servers, and male bartenders who were discriminated against.
Razzoo's also agreed to retain the services of a human resources consultant or to develop an in-house human resources department. The decree required that Razzoo's would spend no less than $225,000 for these human resources services. Also under the decree, Razzoo's agreed to injunctive relief requiring training on equal employment opportunity for all Razzoo's employees, the posting of an anti-discrimination notice, and EEOC monitoring of employee complaints of discrimination.
“We are pleased by the breadth of this settlement, which will provide significant monetary relief to the class of male applicants and employees, as well as strong injunctive relief to help Razzoo's develop workplace policies in compliance with the Civil Rights Act,” said Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino of the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. "Everyone deserves the freedom to compete and advance in the workplace without regard to artificial barriers.”
Razzoo's operates 11 Cajun food restaurants throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolis and also has locations in Houston and Concord, N.C.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mildred Loving, 68; her landmark case made interracial marriage legal

Los Angeles Times
May 7, 2008 Wednesday
By Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

For marrying the only man she ever loved, Mildred Loving paid a price: She was arrested, convicted and banished from her home state. In the 1950s, the Commonwealth of Virginia handed down such punishments to couples whose love the state did not sanction: She was black. Her husband, Richard, was white. Their union was prohibited by law. The marriage could have collapsed under the hammer of Jim Crow. Instead, the Lovings' challenge of the law led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1967 that toppled bans on interracial marriages nationwide and opened the door for mixed race couples to marry without prosecution. For Loving, a soft-spoken, gentle woman who eschewed the limelight, the issue was always simple: "I think marrying who you want is a right no man should have anything to do with," Loving said in 1967 segment on ABC News. "It's a God-given right." Loving, 68, died of pneumonia Friday at her home in Central Point, Va., said her daughter, Peggy Fortune. Loving's story was turned into a 1996 Showtime movie, and her case resonates with supporters of same-sex marriage. The case of Loving vs. Virginia took place against a legal landscape altered by the demands and victories of the civil rights movement. Laws supporting segregation were falling; but in 1958, when the Lovings were arrested, half of the states in the nation still had anti-miscegenation laws on the books, said Peter Wallenstein, a professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. The laws deprived Americans of the most intimate of decisions: who would be their spouse. "This was the last piece, and it was a big piece in the whole structure of Jim Crow," Wallenstein said. "The Civil Rights Act of '64 and the Voting Rights of '65 had cleared most of that, but this one pillar stood tall." In Virginia's Caroline County, where Mildred Jeter was born July 22, 1939, the prohibition against interracial marriage was long-standing. A 1691 statute outlawed marriage between whites and nonwhites. An 1878 law introduced a penalty of up to five years in prison and a clause: Those who tried to evade the law by marrying out of state, then returning to Virginia, would be treated the same as those who had married in the state. The Lovings had done just that. In 1958, the couple drove to Washington, D.C., married on June 2, then returned to Caroline County, where they moved in with Loving's parents.But in Caroline County word spread to the commonwealth's attorney, the equivalent of a district attorney, that the two had married. He obtained a warrant for their arrests. One July night, the Lovings woke up about 2 a.m. to the see the sheriff and deputies surrounding their bed, shining flashlights and demanding to know who Mildred Loving was. Loving explained: "I'm his wife." Richard Loving rushed to show the men their marriage certificate. The sheriff was not moved. "That's no good here," he said. "They told us to get up, get dressed. I couldn't believe they were taking us to jail," Loving said. The Lovings were indicted by a county grand jury and pleaded guilty to violating the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, another version of the state's anti-miscegenation law. Judge Leon M. Bazile sentenced the couple to a year in jail but suspended the sentence for 25 years on the condition that they leave the state and not return together during that time. To avoid jail time, the Lovings moved to Washington, D.C., but the years in exile were difficult. Loving missed her family, her friends, the rural life. In 1963, she wrote to Robert F. Kennedy, then the U.S. attorney general, and asked for his help. The Justice Department referred the couple to the American Civil Liberties Union, where attorney Bernard Cohen and later Philip J. Hirschkop took on the case. "I knew it was going to be a landmark case," Cohen said in the Chicago Tribune in 1992. "And I definitely thought there was something serendipitous about the fact that the case would be called Loving vs. the Commonwealth of Virginia. " Marriage was "a subject which belongs to the exclusive control of the states," he wrote. But even at the state level, such cases had been successfully challenged before and times were changing, said Wallenstein, who interviewed Loving and wrote about the case for his book "Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law -- An American History." The Lovings never intended to be activists; they wanted to be married and live in Virginia. But their case landed at the Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled 9 to 0 that Virginia's laws were aimed at white supremacy, were unconstitutional and violated the 14th Amendment. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the opinion that marriage is "one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. "To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as racial classification embodied in these statutes . . . is surely to deprive all the state's citizens of liberty without due process of law." After the decision, Loving said, "I feel free now." The couple moved back to Virginia. But in 1975, Richard Loving was killed by a drunk driver in a car accident. Mildred Loving, who never remarried, died one month shy of what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary. In addition to her daughter, Loving is survived by a son, Sidney of Tappahannock, Va.; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. A son Donald died in 2000. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Caroline Community Services Center in Bowling Green, Va.,0,170289.story

Friday, May 9, 2008

Subcommittee Reviews Legislation to Remove Barriers for Women in Academic Science and Engineering Fields

Committee on Science and Technology
US House of Representatives
May 8, 2008

(Washington, DC) –Today, the House Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing to discuss ways to remove barriers for women in academic science and engineering fields. The Subcommittee held a hearing to receive comments on draft legislation that incorporates recommendations from the National Academies panel that were presented at a hearing in October of 2007.
“The United States cannot afford to continue losing our best and brightest women from academic science and engineering careers,” said Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA). “The programs in this bill are just a small part of what is needed to tackle the barriers to women in science and engineering. In fact, there is only so much Congress can do to compel what is ultimately a change to an academic culture with a long and proud history. I want to thank Congresswoman Johnson for bringing this important legislative proposal before the subcommittee.”
The legislation, titled Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2008 and sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), includes workshops to increase awareness of implicit gender bias in grant review, hiring, tenure, promotion, and selection for other honors based on merit; extended grant support for caregivers; and improved demographic data collection on federal grant-making.
“While I do not intend to be heavy-handed toward our universities, I do feel that not nearly enough is being done to educate persons of influence on the subtle gender bias that exists and is holding women back from achieving at the same level as men,” said Johnson.
Women are consistently underrepresented in tenured faculty positions as research universities, despite earning more than half of all science and engineering bachelor’s degrees in 2005. According to data compiled by NSF, in 2006, women held 30 percent of all full-time science and engineering faculty positions at U.S. colleges and universities. Specifically, they constituted 19 percent of full professors, 34 percent of associate professors and 42 percent of junior professors, a category that includes both instructors at 2-year colleges and assistant professors at 4-year institutions.
The 2007 panel found that most of the barriers to women in academia are not created with intent. Even policies that seem gender-neutral in theory might not be so in practice. The panel recommended that Federal science agencies sponsor workshops on gender bias in order to raise awareness of and provide strategies to overcome the collective effect of many small and subtle incidents of subconscious bias and barriers that are often built into academic culture. The draft bill under consideration creates a program of such workshops, and the Subcommittee solicited input on the details of that program and on metrics for evaluation.
The National Academies panel also highlighted the need for better data collection, to understand the extent of gender inequity and to have a basis for evaluating policies to address the gap. The draft bill therefore requires Federal science agencies to collect demographic data on the grant making process, and encourages universities to collect better data for the purposes of evaluating the gender bias workshops.
The following witnesses testified today before the Subcommittee:
Dr. Lynda T. Carlson, Director of the Division of Science Resource Statistics, Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation.
Dr. Linda G. Blevins, Senior Technical Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of Science, Department of Energy.
Dr. Donna K. Ginther, Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic and Business Analysis, Institute for Policy Research, University of Kansas.
For more information on this hearing or to access witness testimony, visit the Committee’s website.

Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain

Scientific American Mind - May 1, 2008
Deep within our subconscious, all of us harbor biases that we consciously abhor. And the worst part is: we act on them
By Siri Carpenter

"There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson once told an audience, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”
Jackson’s remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse—for example, that a black stranger might harm us but a white one probably would not—can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.
Using a variety of sophisticated methods, psychologists have established that people unwittingly hold an astounding assortment of stereotypical beliefs and attitudes about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin. Although these implicit biases inhabit us all, we vary in the particulars, depending on our own group membership, our conscious desire to avoid bias and the contours of our everyday environments. For instance, about two thirds of whites have an implicit preference for whites over blacks, whereas blacks show no average preference for one race over the other.
Such bias is far more prevalent than the more overt, or explicit, prejudice that we associate with, say, the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis. That is emphatically not to say that explicit prejudice and discrimination have evaporated nor that they are of lesser importance than implicit bias. According to a 2005 federal report, almost 200,000 hate crimes—84 percent of them violent—occur in the U.S. every year.
The persistence of explicit bias in contemporary culture has led some critics to maintain that implicit bias is of secondary concern. But hundreds of studies of implicit bias show that its effects can be equally insidious. Most social psychologists believe that certain scenarios can automatically activate implicit stereotypes and attitudes, which then can affect our perceptions, judgments and behavior. “The data on that are incontrovertible,” concludes psychologist Russell H. Fazio of Ohio State University.
Now researchers are probing deeper. They want to know: Where exactly do such biases come from? How much do they influence our outward behavior? And if stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes are burned into our psyches, can learning more about them help to tell each of us how to override them? [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Michigan Ruling Bars Domestic Partner Benefits

Inside Higher Ed
May 8, 2008

Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban on gay marriage makes it illegal for public universities and other entities of state government to provide domestic partner benefits to the partners of gay employees.
The ruling came in a case that has been closely watched because many states in which some public universities offer domestic partner benefits also have bans on gay marriage. The impact in Michigan itself is unclear. After a lower court ruled that the gay marriage ban applies to benefits, some universities switched their benefits programs so that they were available not to domestic partners but to “other eligible individuals,” a category that would include many gay partners, but would also include others who live with but are not legally related to university employees. For example, the University of Michigan’s criteria include joint residence for at least six months, some joint financial ties such as checking accounts, and no legal relationship or marriage between the individuals involved.
After the Supreme Court decision Wednesday, the university immediately asserted that its new benefits are not domestic partner benefits and are thus not covered by the ruling. Further, the university said it had eliminated domestic partner benefits after the lower court’s decision. “The university believes all current benefit offerings are in full compliance with Michigan law. The university cares deeply about recruitment, retention, and maintaining a healthy workforce and we design our benefits with these principles in mind,” the statement said.
Other universities said that they were still studying the decision.
Dale Schowengerdt, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a brief challenging the legality of domestic partner benefits, said that he had not studied the university’s latest plans in detail so he was not certain whether they would be legal. Schowengerdt said that, generally, public universities are free to extend benefits widely, but that if the university rules are creating relationships that in any way resemble marriages and their associated benefits, Wednesday’s rulings might make them legally vulnerable. He noted that the ruling was based on the type of relationship created, not calling it a domestic partnership. He said that his group and others would be looking to see if the universities “are just trying to get around [the earlier ruling] by calling it something else, but doing the exact same thing.”
Steve Sanders, a Chicago lawyer who filed a brief in the case on behalf of law professors in the state who believe domestic parntership benefits should be legal, said he didn’t see any reason that the latest decision should endanger the benefits structures more recently set up by the University of Michigan and others.
“Those new arrangements have been designed so that they cannot possibly be confused with unions similar to marriage, which was the operative language of the amendment,” he said. Sanders added that “I believe the Supreme Court was aware of the new, broader benefit arrangements at the time this case was argued, so one would hope that if the justices felt those new policies were problematic or just some sort of end run, they would have said something to that effect.”
Many universities and academic groups had filed briefs with the Michigan Supreme Court specifically asking it to uphold domestic partner benefits, saying that they were crucial for recruiting academic talent and that the gay marriage ban was intended to apply only to gay marriage.
But Michigan’s highest court decided differently, in a 5-2 vote.
Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen J. Markman said that while those favoring benefits argued that Michigan’s ban on gay marriages applies only to marriage, it in fact also covers any “similar union.” Just because a university doesn’t declare partners to be the same as married couples doesn’t mean that the partners aren’t being accorded such recognition, the decision says. The decision goes on to say that marriages and domestic partnerships are unique in Michigan in that both are defined in part by gender and that blood relatives can not enter into them together. As a result, these relationships are similar, the court says. Notably, the new benefits arrangements set up by universities do not feature gender limits of any kind, although they do have measures that would bar blood relatives from registering for benefits in that way. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Ward Connerly's Point Man in Missouri Loses Lawsuit Against College

The Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
May 7, 2008

It has been a rough week for Timothy P. Asher, executive director of a campaign to get Missouri voters to ban the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges and other state and local agencies.
On Sunday, Mr. Asher’s campaign organization missed a deadline for gathering enough signatures to get its measure on the November ballot.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District handed him more bad news. It upheld a lower court’s ruling against him in his lawsuit against North Central Missouri College, which he had accused of firing him from his job as admissions director in 2004 because he complained that one of its scholarship programs discriminated against white students.
The lower court had held, in a March 2007 summary judgment against Mr. Asher, that he had not technically been fired from his job because he had been a contract employee. It also rejected his lawsuit’s claim that his termination had been handled in a manner that violated the state’s open-meetings laws. The court also found that the college was shielded from lawsuits like his under the doctrine of sovereign immunity....

Ward Connerly, the prominent affirmative-action critic who is coordinating efforts in several states to get proposed restrictions on affirmative action on the November ballot, has said he will continue his fight in Missouri and try to get a measure on the ballot there in 2010. —Peter Schmidt [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Education Dept. Postpones Review of Bar Association as Accreditor

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 8, 2008

The U.S. Department of Education has postponed its review of the authority vested in the American Bar Association to accredit law schools in order to pursue an investigation into allegations against the association, according to a letter it sent to the association last month.
The bar association has attracted scrutiny over its requirements that law schools prove they are taking concrete steps to diversify their pools of students and faculty members, and that their graduates meet certain passage rates on bar examinations. Critics say that those requirements are ambiguous, and that the diversity mandate could conflict with bans on affirmative action that have been enacted in some states.
Last June, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings asked the bar association to document how it applies its diversity requirements (The Chronicle, July 2, 2007). That request followed a decision by the department, in December 2006, to approve just an 18-month extension of the bar association's authority to accredit law schools, rather than the usual five years given to accreditors (The Chronicle, December 5, 2006).
Now the Education Department says it needs more time to digest the "great volume of documents" the bar association has provided in response to Secretary Spellings's request. The department's letter also cites unspecified "allegations raised" by the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, as well as by Wallace D. Riley, a past president of the American Bar Association, as reasons to postpone the review. The department sent copies of the comments from the law school and Mr. Riley to the association. [To see the entire story, go to: ] (Subscription required.)