Thursday, July 31, 2008

Four Critical Global Workforce Diversity Strategies

The Linkage Leader - August 2008
by Ted Childs

For the past century, our discussion about equal opportunity-which has evolved into a conversation about workforce diversity--has been limited to race and gender. In the United States, those are the historic issues that have been the cornerstone of our civil rights debate.
[To read the entire article, go to: ]

Former VP, Global Workforce Diversity, IBM and Founder of Ted Childs, LLC, Ted Childs is a keynote speaker at Linkage's Best of Talent Management Summit.

Mr. Childs was a recent panelist on global diversity and affirmative action at AAAA's 34th Annual Conference in Falls Church, VA.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

National Association of Scholars Starts New Effort to Watch Campuses

The Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
July 30, 2008

The National Association of Scholars is asking both faculty members and ordinary citizens to monitor campuses for activities that it finds objectionable.

In a news release issued today to roll out the new effort, the group said it had recruited volunteers partly by inviting readers of, a conservative Web site, to take a survey designed “to learn the educational background and opinion outlook of those attracted by the concept of campus-watching.” Each volunteer has picked a college to watch and has begun “to look into whether that college conducts politicized teaching, requires ideological adherence, or sustains slights to conservative students.”
The group says the recruits also will be on the lookout for “mission statements that betray an ideological agenda and residence-life programs that include political and diversity training.” Two weeks ago, it issued a statement denouncing such residence-life programs, as well as certain approaches to diversity training, as part of a movement on campuses to indoctrinate students in leftist ideology. [To see the entire news blog, go to: ]

Posted on Tuesday July 29, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

House apologizes for slavery, 'Jim Crow' injustices
July 29, 2008

Story Highlights:
It is the first time federal government has apologized for slavery
House acknowledges "injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity" of slavery
Resolution states that effects of slavery and Jim Crow are still present today
Measure does not address the issue of reparations

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow.
The nonbinding resolution, which passed on a voice vote, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.
While many states have apologized for slavery, it is first time a branch of the federal government has done so, an aide to Cohen said.
In passing the resolution, the House also acknowledged the "injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow."
"Jim Crow," or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites.
The name "Jim Crow" came from a character played by T.D. "Daddy" Rice who portrayed a slave while in blackface during the mid-1800s.
The resolution states that "the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to this day."
"African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow -- long after both systems were formally abolished -- through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity," the resolution states.
The House also commited itself to stopping "the occurrence of human rights violations in the future."
The resolution does not address the controversial issue of reparations. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Language change sought on anti-affirmative action ballot

By: Martha Stoddard, Midlands News Service
Updated 07/29/2008 09:05:23 AM EDT

LINCOLN -- Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban affirmative action in Nebraska are taking issue with the language Attorney General Jon Bruning is proposing for the ballot measure. Nebraskans United filed a complaint in Lancaster County District Court late Monday seeking alternative language.David Kramer, chief legal counsel for Nebraskans United, said the language Bruning wrote for the ballot mirrored language used on petitions to get the issue on the ballot. Kramer called both "unclear and misleading.''According to Bruning's description, the measure would "amend the Nebraska Constitution to provide that the state, and any public institution of higher education, political subdivision or government institution shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, individuals or groups based upon race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in operating public employment, public education or public contracting.''The alternative offered by Nebraskans United said the amendment would "eliminate current state and local programs designed to improve opportunities for and eliminate discrimination against women and minorities in public education, employment and contracting.'' [To read the entire story, go to: ]

McCain Comes Out Against Affirmative Action

Inside Higher Ed
July 29, 2008

Sen. John McCain on Sunday came out against affirmative action, and endorsed ballot measures to bar public colleges and universities — and other state agencies — from considering race in admissions or hiring.
McCain had previously been among those Republicans who refused to endorse these ballot measures.
His comments on Sunday came in an appearance on the ABC News show “This Week,” which also revealed that a decade ago, he called efforts to bar affirmative action “divisive.” On Sunday, asked if he would back the ban on affirmative action that will be considered by Arizona voters this fall, he said: “I support it. I do not believe in quotas.... I have not seen the details of some of these proposals. But I’ve always opposed quotas.”
In a separate appearance, Sen. Barack Obama, McCain’s Democratic opponent for the presidency, supported affirmative action, but also continued to state that it is not the primary solution for anyone. Obama has said several times during the campaign that he believes class in addition to race should be considered.
“I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when properly structured so there is not a quota, but it is acknowledging and taking into account some of the hardships and difficulties that communities of color may have experienced, continue to experience, and it also speaks to the value of diversity in all walks of American life,” he said Sunday. “I’ve also said that affirmative action is not going to be the long-term solution to the problems of race in America, because, frankly, if you’ve got 50 percent of African American or Latino kids dropping out of high school, it doesn’t really matter what you do in terms of affirmative action. Those kids aren’t going to college.”
McCain’s opposition to affirmative action is winning him points in conservative circles, but drawing criticism from defenders of affirmative action in higher education. In particular, they object to his equating affirmative action with quotas.
“Changing one’s mind is certainly the American way but changing positions to garner support from a particular population should be questioned even by those who oppose affirmative action. Moreover, using affirmative action as a wedge issue only divides our nation when it is time to bring us together,” said a statement from ReNee Dunman, director of equal opportunity and affirmative action at Old Dominion University and president of the American Association for Affirmative Action. (The association is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates for office.)
On the issue of quotas, Dunman added: “Once again, I am compelled to dispel the myth that affirmative action requires quotas — they are unlawful and expressly prohibited by federal regulations.” She noted that many affirmative action plans have goals, but that such goals do “not require hiring or admitting a particular number of women or minorities.”
[To read the entire story, go to: ]

Monday, July 28, 2008

American Association for Affirmative Action Expresses Disappointment with McCain’s “New” Views on Affirmative Action

Association of diversity and civil rights professionals condemns McCain’s support for Arizona anti-affirmative action initiative

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2008
Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher (240) 893-9475

Washington, DC. - The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) is a nonpartisan organization and as such does not take a position regarding the desirability of any candidate for public office. AAAA expresses serious disappointment about Senator John McCain's support for the Arizona anti-affirmative action Civil Rights Initiative, however. “Senator McCain, make no mistake about it. Affirmative action is not a partisan issue; it is a people issue,” said ReNee S. Dunman, president of the American Association for Affirmative Action upon learning that Senator John McCain supports the anti-affirmative action Arizona Civil Rights Initiative. “Affirmative action impacts all people who stand to benefit from the result - equal opportunity. Changing one’s mind is certainly the American way but changing positions to garner support from a particular population should be questioned even by those who oppose affirmative action,” she added. Moreover, using affirmative action as a wedge issue only divides our nation when it is time to bring us together. The Senator does not profess to have had a new found revelation supporting his decision to change positions on affirmative action. Instead it appears he has strategically realigned his position with those he believes will elect him as President.

Senator McCain has reportedly declared he supports the referendum because he does not believe in quotas... He says, “I have not seen the details of some of these proposals. But I’ve always opposed quotas." Either Senator McCain has been misinformed and erroneously equates affirmative action with quotas or he is deliberately doing so to secure votes from opponents of affirmative action. Either way you view it, it’s a “lose-lose” situation and the nation should raise a collective brow.

Ms. Dunman went on to state: “Once again, I am compelled to dispel the myth that affirmative action requires quotas. Quotas are unlawful and expressly prohibited by federal regulations. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor revised the affirmative action regulations to make clear that “goals may not be rigid and inflexible quotas, which must be met, nor are they to be considered as either a ceiling or a floor for the employment of particular groups. Quotas are expressly forbidden.” 41 C.F.R. 60-2.16.

Affirmative action is necessary, fair, prevents discrimination and gives everyone an opportunity to compete regardless of race or gender. Affirmative action is not a form of discrimination; rather, it is a means to remedy it. Discrimination is grounded in prejudice resulting in unjust exclusion of qualified individuals in the workforce, academe and government contracting. This is exactly why it is and should be unlawful. In contrast, affirmative action is grounded in fairness through equitable inclusion of all people including those who happen to be women and minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. We urge Senator McCain and others who share his views to contact us if they would like to be properly informed about affirmative action law and policy. For more information, go to

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmative 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.

888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800 * Washington, D.C. 20006 *202-349-9855 ex 1857 *
800-252-8952 * Fax: 202-355-1399 *

Caving To The Right On Affirmative Action

Center for American Progress
July 28, 2008

On ABC News's This Week yesterday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) about how "opponents of affirmative action" in his home state of Arizona are pushing a ballot initiative "that would do away" with the equal opportunity program. "Do you support that?" asked Stephanopoulos. "Yes, I do," replied McCain, adding that he had "not seen the details of some of these proposals," but that he's "always opposed quotas." Asked again specifically about "the one here in Arizona," McCain responded, "I support it, yes." McCain's support for the current anti-affirmative action initiative is a reversal of the stance he took in 1998 when Arizona previously considered a similar referendum. At the time, McCain said that "rather than engage in divisive ballot initiatives, we must have a dialogue and cooperation and mutual efforts together to provide every child in America to fulfill their expectations." Caught off-guard by McCain's reversal on equal opportunity, his own spokesman Tucker Bounds struggled to explain the contradictory stances to ABC News, saying, "I do not have a firm enough grasp on the historical and relevant context of McCain's remark in 1998 to give you the pushback that this question deserves." Later, the McCain campaign "refused to say whether it stands by the candidate's announcement that he supports the ballot initiative," instead saying in a statement that McCain "has always been opposed to government-mandated hiring quotas."WHAT MCCAIN IS BACKING: In his interview with Stephanopoulos, McCain justified his support for the Arizona initiative by saying, "I do not believe in quotas." But the effort to dismantle equal opportunity in Arizona has nothing to do with quotas, which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court 30 years ago. The proposed amendment to the Arizona's constitution, which is being pushed by the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative, seeks to "prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination" by Arizona governmental entities "based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting." "The initiative is part of a nationwide attempt by Ward Connerly to have governmental affirmative action policies eliminated." Connerly's anti-affirmative action initiatives are set to capitalize on the "tensions of race, class, and ethnicity" stirred up by anti-immigrant efforts. Connerly, who successfully outlawed affirmative action in California, is also supporting initiatives in Colorado and Nebraska. On CNN's Late Edition yesterday, McCain declined to take a position on the Colorado initiative, saying, "I'm not familiar with the referendum." The language of Connerly's Colorado amendment is essentially the same as the Arizona amendment McCain endorsed on ABC.MCCAIN'S RECORD ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: As many news outlets have pointed out, McCain's embrace of Arizona's anti-affirmative action ballot initiative stands in opposition to his record on equal opportunity. Not only has McCain previously resisted state-level efforts to dismantle affirmative action, as he did in 1998, but he has also defended such programs on the federal level. In 1998, McCain worked with Democrats to defeat an amendment that would have ended a program that sought "to give 10 percent of all Federally financed highway contracts to companies owned by minorities and women." In 1999, while speaking at the Unity convention, McCain declared, "I'm in favor of affirmative action and I support it." He reiterated this support as recently as April 2008, telling reporters in Ohio, "all of us are for affirmative action to try to give assistance to those who need it, whether it be African-American or other groups of Americans that need it." BENDING TO RIGHT-WING PRESSURE?: Throughout the election season, conservatives have been pressuring McCain to get behind their efforts to dismantle affirmative action. In June, after McCain's campaign repeatedly refused to take a position on the initiatives, Connerly told ABC News that it would help McCain politically to support the initiatives. McCain should say, "I believe that our country is at its best when it treats everybody as an equal and I have read these initiatives and they do precisely that," said Connerly. Other conservatives have been calling for McCain to back Connerly as well. In April, hardline right winger Pat Buchanan published a column wondering "where does McCain stand." Writing on the National Review's blog, Center for Equal Opportunity President Roger Clegg asked rhetorically of McCain, "[D]o you favor the ballot initiatives" and "Do you support the anti-preference plank in the 2004 Republican platform?" Reacting to McCain's ABC interview, Politico's Jonathan Martin wrote that McCain's answers on affirmative action and gay adoption are indicative of the fact that he has a "lack of interest in cultural issues," but that he knows there are positions he is "supposed to take" in order to please the conservative base. With his support of the Arizona referendum, McCain has now pleased one part of this base. Clegg responded by declaring, "Kudos to John McCain."


New Compliance Manual Section Addresses Wide Range of Contemporary Workplace Issues
Tuesday July 22, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a new Compliance Manual Section regarding workplace discrimination on the basis of religion.
The Section includes a comprehensive review of the relevant provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EEOC’s policies regarding religious discrimination, harassment and accommodation. The EEOC also issued a companion question-and-answer fact sheet and best practices booklet. All three documents are available on the agency’s web site at
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 seeks to ensure that applicants and employees enjoy the freedom to compete, advance and succeed in the workplace, irrespective of their religious beliefs,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “This Compliance Manual Section serves as a valuable resource for employers, employees, practitioners and EEOC staff seeking information on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination.”
The Section addresses what constitutes “religion” within the meaning of Title VII; disparate treatment based on religion; the requirement to reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and practices; religion-based harassment; and retaliation. The Section also provides guidance on the sometimes complex workplace issues involved in balancing employees’ rights regarding religious expression with employers’ need to maintain efficient, productive workplaces.
The EEOC issued this section in response to an increase in charges of religious discrimination, increased religious diversity in the United States, and requests for guidance from stakeholders and agency personnel investigating and litigating claims of religious discrimination.
Religious discrimination charge filings with the EEOC nationwide have risen substantially over the past 15 years, doubling from 1,388 in Fiscal Year 1992 to a record level of 2,880 in FY 2007.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at

McCain, Obama wrangle over affirmative action

The Houston Chronicle
July 28, 2008

CHICAGO — Presidential challengers John McCain and Barack Obama sparred over affirmative action Sunday, with McCain backing an effort to end state and locally run minority preferences and Obama saying policies that consider race need to continue.
McCain, speaking on ABC's This Week, said he backs a proposed ballot initiative in his home state of Arizona that would prohibit affirmative action policies by state and local governments.
The initiative is part of a nationwide attempt by Ward Connerly to have governmental affirmative action policies eliminated. Connerly, a conservative African-American businessman from Sacramento, Calif., who led a successful drive to ban affirmative action in California, has been trying to do the same thing in other states.
Asked Sunday whether he supported Connerly's efforts in Arizona, McCain said: "Yes, I do," adding that he had not seen the details of the proposal.
McCain's endorsement was an apparent shift on affirmative action. The Republican senator has spoken out against quota systems, but he also has backed affirmative action in certain cases. He opposed a 1998 resolution in the Arizona legislature that asked voters to eliminate most preferences based on race, gender or ethnic origin.
"Rather than engage in divisive ballot initiatives, we must have a dialogue and cooperation and mutual efforts together to provide every child in America to fulfill their expectations," he said at the time.
Obama, speaking at the Unity minority journalism convention in Chicago, accused McCain of flip-flopping and reminded convention attendees about McCain's 1998 remarks.
"And I think he's right," he said. "You know, the truth of the matter is, these are not designed to solve a big problem, but they're all too often designed to drive a wedge between people."
The Illinois Democratic senator said America has made progress on race relations but argued that there is still a need for affirmative action policies in the country.
"I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when properly structured so there it is not a quota, but it is acknowledging and taking into account some of the hardships and difficulties that communities of color may have experienced, continue to experience, and it also speaks to the value of diversity in all walks of American life," he said.
"I've also said that affirmative action is not going to be the long-term solution to the problems of race in America, because, frankly, if you've got 50 percent of African-American or Latino kids dropping out of high school, it doesn't really matter what you do in terms of affirmative action. Those kids aren't going to college."
Obama's Unity appearance coincided with his renewed efforts to appeal to minority journalists and media. A week ago, his campaign named a new "communications director for African-America media" and is also appointing similar outreach specialists at more local levels.
At Unity, organizers reminded conference participants that his appearance was being broadcast nationally and they should maintain "professional decorum."
Before Obama arrived, a panel discussed the question of journalistic objectivity, including whether journalists should clap for politicians in public.
As it happened, Obama received a standing ovation from much of the audience at the start and end of his appearance.

CU Completes Assessment of Potential Impact of Colorado Civil Rights Initiative

University of Colorado
Office of the President
Posted July 24th, 2008

DENVER – The University of Colorado has determined that some of its admissions programs and donor-sponsored scholarships would have to be modified if Colorado voters pass the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, prohibiting stat institutions from considering gender, race, color, ethnicity or national origin when evaluating students.
In response to inquiries from the public and media, the University of Colorado has completed a systemwide evaluation of its admissions, scholarship, student services band student outreach programs to prepare for the possible administrative effects of the initiative, which will appear as Amendment 46 on the November 2008 election ballot. The proposal would ban state-supported institutions, including public universities, from considering gender, race, ethnicity, color or national origin for employment, contracting or educational purposes.
As a result of the assessment, the university has determined that, should the initiative pass, it would have no effect on outreach programs aimed at recruiting high school students, or campus student services such as academic and career advising, orientation and tutoring, because these programs are open to all students.
No matter the election outcome, however, CU will continue to regard diversity in all its forms—gender, intellectual, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and geographical, among others—as fundamental institutional values, said CU President Bruce D. Benson.
“Having a variety of perspectives involved in the learning process enhances the educational experience of all students,” Benson said. “We will continue to value diversity in all its forms within the guidelines of current and any new state and federal laws.”
Many laws and policies adopted by the CU Board of Regents reflect the institution’s commitment to diversity. According to Article 10 of the CU Board of Regents’ laws: “The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities.”
The university’s admissions programs involve two levels of review. Primary qualifying factors include high school or college grade point average, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and reference letters. Secondary qualifying factors include previous work and/or research experience, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, gender, legacy status (whether a candidate’s parents are alumni) and first-generation college status.
However, should Colorado voters pass Amendment 46 in November, the university would eliminate race, ethnicity and gender as secondary factors in its admissions process at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
It is still unclear, however, how Amendment 46 might affect donor-sponsored scholarships. In most cases, donors who set up scholarship funds decide eligibility requirements, which might include a student’s gender, race or ethnicity. At CU, about 100 such scholarships exist, primarily on the Boulder campus, and administrators are assessing how Amendment 46 might affect them. Should the ballot measure pass, the university and the CU Foundation would work with donors to preserve the spirit of their financial contributions while complying with any current or new state and federal laws.
The University of Colorado has three campuses at four locations: the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the University of Colorado Denver’s downtown Denver campus and Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. More than 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students are pursuing academic opportunities on the CU campuses. CU is a premier teaching and research university that is ranked sixth among public institutions in federal research expenditures by the National Science Foundation. Academic prestige is marked by the university’s four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur “genius” Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information, visit
Press Contacts: Deborah Méndez-Wilson,303-860-5627,
Ken McConnellogue, 303-860-5626,

Girls' and boys' math performance now equal

UC Berkeley News
By Robert Sanders, Media Relations
24 July 2008 tages - CMS-->

BERKELEY — Girls now equal the performance of boys on standard mathematics assessment tests, probably because girls now match boys in the number and level of math courses they take in elementary and high school, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
That wasn't the case 20 years ago, when studies showed nearly identical performance at the elementary school level but girls lagging boys at the high school level. Since then, girls' participation in higher level mathematics classes has risen to the same level as boys', with predictable results, according to study co-author Marcia Linn, UC Berkeley professor of education.
"In the past, there were differences in test scores, and women took fewer advanced courses in mathematics than men," she said. "Now that enrollment in advanced math courses is equalized in high school, we don't see gender differences in performance on state tests."
The Wisconsin and UC Berkeley researchers report their findings in the July 25 issue of Science.
Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the researchers reached their conclusions after sifting through mountains of data, including math scores from 7 million students who were tested in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The team compared not only the average performance of all students on these tests, but also the scores of just the most gifted children, as well as the ability of children to solve complex math problems. In all cases, girls measured up to boys. [To read the entire release, go to: ]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Backers of Pay Discrimination Bill Push for Another Senate Vote

Workforce Management
July 17, 2008

Backers of Pay Discrimination Bill Push for Another Senate Vote
Supporters of a bill that would make it easier to file pay discrimination lawsuits launched an effort on Thursday, July 17, to revive the legislation after a major setback in the Senate earlier this year.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would allow workers to sue a company within 180 days of receiving any paycheck that they believe has been diminished by discrimination.
It would overturn a Supreme Court decision last year that held that pay suits had to be filed within 180 days of the original discriminatory action, even if it went unnoticed for decades. In some jurisdictions, the statute of limitation is 300 days.
The case was based on a suit by Ledbetter, a 28-year veteran of a Goodyear tire plant in Gadsden, Alabama, who was paid less than male counterparts in a similar supervisory position.
In late April, the bill fell three votes short of the 60 required to end Senate debate and move to final action. The House approved the bill last year.
Opponents charge that the measure would effectively eliminate the statute of limitations on pay discrimination and force businesses to defend themselves against stale claims. The bill has drawn a veto threat from the White House.
Now advocates are vowing to find the support required to take the bill to a final up-or-down vote in the Senate, where it would almost certainly achieve a majority.
“We’re going to come roaring back,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, at a sweltering Capitol Hill rally that included dozens of young women holding placards calling for pay equity. “You’ve got to be riled up. You’ve got to be revved up.”
The event featured Ledbetter and several congressional female leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and former presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York.
It’s unclear when or if the measure will be placed on the Senate calendar. Legislative days are dwindling. Congress will be out of session for almost all of August and may return for only a few weeks after Labor Day before adjourning for the year.
Advocates say the bill would bolster women and minorities in the workplace, where they often don’t realize they make less than white men because pay scales are secret. They assert that unfair compensation especially hurts low-income women who are the sole providers for their children.
“This is not just a women’s issue, this is a family issue,” Clinton said.
She asserted that the economic argument in favor of the Ledbetter bill is resonating with voters and forcing Republicans to offer an alternative measure rather than simply oppose Ledbetter.
“It is not as good or as thorough as what we’ve proposed,” Clinton said of the bill written by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. “But it sends a signal that [Republicans] are feeling pressure.”
[To see the entire story, go to: ]

Obama's success fuels affirmative action's foes

[Note: See remarks of Senator McCain's spokesperson regarding Affirmative Action]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama's political success might claim an unintended victim: affirmative action, a much-debated policy that he supports.
Already weakened by several court rulings and state referendums, affirmative action now confronts a challenge to its very reason for existing. If Americans make a black person the leading contender for president, as nationwide polls suggest, how can racial prejudice be so prevalent and potent that it justifies special efforts to place minorities in coveted jobs and schools?
"The primary rationale for affirmative action is that America is institutionally racist and institutionally sexist," said Ward Connerly, the leader of state-by-state efforts to end what he and others consider policies of reverse discrimination. "That rationale is undercut in a major way when you look at the success of Senator Clinton and Senator Obama." Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York battled Obama to the end of the Democratic primary process.
Other critics of affirmative action agree. "Obama is further evidence that the great majority of Americans reject discrimination, reject prejudice," said Todd F. Gaziano, a scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Not so fast, say supporters of affirmative action. Just because Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and other minorities have reached the top of their professions does not mean that ordinary blacks, Latinos or women are free from day-to-day biases that deny them equal access to top schools or jobs, they say.
As affirmative action's power has diminished, minority enrollment has fallen at many prominent colleges, said Gary Orfield, an authority on the subject at UCLA.
"If people get the impression from Obama's success that the racial problems of this country have been solved, that would be very sad," Orfield said. "In some ways we have moved backwards" in recent years, he said.
Wade Henderson, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said, "Exceptions don't make the rule."
"By any measure, Obama and Clinton are clearly exceptional individuals," he said. "When you really examine the masses of Americans, especially women and people of color, you still find incredible disparities," which justify the continuation of affirmative action programs.
Obama, who asks voters neither to support nor oppose him on the basis of his race, has dealt gently with affirmative action. He says his two young daughters have enjoyed great advantages, and therefore should not receive special consideration because of their race.
"On the other hand," he said in an April debate, "if there's a young white person who has been working hard, struggling, and has overcome great odds, that's something that should be taken into account" by people such as college admission officers.
"So I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination," Obama said. "But I think that it can't be a quota system and it can't be something that is simply applied without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black, or white, or Hispanic, male or female."
Tucker Bounds, spokesman for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said McCain's commitment to equal opportunity for all Americans "means aggressively enforcing our nation's anti-discrimination laws."
"It also means rejecting affirmative action plans and quotas that give weight to one group of Americans at the expense of another," Bounds said. "Plans that result in quotas, where such plans have not been judicially created to remedy a specific, proven act of discrimination, only result in more discrimination."
[To read the entire story, go to: ]

US Labor Department Issues New Directives on Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities

The US Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued two new directives to encourage the hiring of veterans and individuals with disabilities. The Good Faith Initiative for Veterans Employment (G-Five) and Ensuring the Accessibility of Online Application Systems were announced today (7/24/08).

The G-Five Initiative acknowledges the challenges facing veterans today by recognizing federal contractors for their efforts in employing and advancing the employment of covered veterans. The initiative is also intended to strengthen the partnerships between the OFCCP, veterans groups and other agencies.

The accessibility directive promotes opportunities for individuals with disabilities when employers use online application systems. Electronic application systems must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities or the contractor must provide a reasonable accommodation that allows and equal opportunity to compete for a position.

To see the directives that outline these new initiatives and to review the FAQs on this directives, go to:

Women Achieve Workplace Equality—Now as Likely to Lose Jobs as Men in Recession

Posted By Mike Hall On July 23, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

With the U.S. economy sputtering toward recession, working women and their families will feel more pain than in past downturns.
According to a report by the congressional Joint Economic Committee, women are now working in jobs and industries that are more likely to lay off workers than they were in most previous recessions:
In recessions prior to 2001, women could buffer family incomes against male unemployment because they did not experience sharp job losses. However, this changed in the 2001 recession as women lost jobs on par with men in the industries that lost the most jobs.
The report, [1] Equality in Job Loss, points to a change in the types of jobs women now hold versus some predominantly female occupations in which women workers traditionally were employed. It says women now hold a much wider range of jobs, especially in industries susceptible to layoffs.
Because of this, women may be more susceptible to the impact of the business cycle than they were when they were more highly concentrated in a smaller number of non-cyclical occupations like teaching and nursing.
Says Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is vice chair of the committee:
Women have been striving for equality with men in jobs and wages. Unfortunately, what we’ve achieved is equality in losing jobs during recessions.
Today, with women accounting for a much larger share of family income—or the sole share for single mothers—losing a job will have a much greater impact on family budgets.
Families are more economically vulnerable as wives are no longer insulating families from economic hardship in times of higher unemployment and falling or stagnant real wages. Single-mother families are now especially vulnerable.
If the 2001 pattern holds true, women who lose their jobs in this downturn will have a harder time finding new work. According to the report, in the “jobless recovery” following the previous recession, women’s employment rates never returned to the pre-recession levels.
The report also says women’s job loss will be felt beyond the family, by the economy as a whole. It says the federal and state governments will have to be more aggressive than in the past.
Spurring consumer spending to boost economic growth and job creation may take far more government action, especially with respect to fiscal spending, than in previous recessions. Fiscal aid to the states is important to help states maintain programs—and keep workers—in the face of ensuing budget cuts. Ensuring that all workers—women and men—can access unemployment compensation when they lose their jobs is critical.
Click [2] here for the full report.
Article printed from AFL-CIO NOW BLOG:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Paterson, at N.A.A.C.P., Warns of Racism’s Power

The New York Times
July 18, 2008

CINCINNATI — David A. Paterson, in his first major speech to a national audience since becoming governor of New York, said on Thursday that even as black Americans rejoice about the possibility that Senator Barack Obama could become president, they cannot lose sight of the serious social and economic ills that plague their community and should remain mindful of the racism that still exists.
“The gap between the haves and have-nots right in our own community is wider than it has ever been before,” Mr. Paterson told a crowd of thousands at the N.A.A.C.P.’s annual convention here.
“No matter how prosperous we are, no matter how well heeled we may be, no matter how ambitious and successful we have been, we still can be cast under the same net regardless of our circumstances.”
Mr. Paterson, who is New York’s first black governor and only the third black man since Reconstruction to lead a state, addressed the convention as the intersection between race and politics in the United States appears especially fraught. Recent polls have shown that whites and blacks hold very different views of Mr. Obama, and that despite the senator’s candidacy, blacks do not believe that race relations have significantly improved.
Addressing those fissures in his speech, the governor said that he was not sure whether Americans would be able to put their differences aside in this election and support Mr. Obama.
“Can America reject the crucible of race that has dictated and pervaded all of our history to embrace an African-American man who has the right policies?” he said. “We will find out.” [To view the whole story, go to: ]

‘The Myth of the Model Minority’

Inside Higher Ed
July 18, 2008

A new book — The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism (Paradigm Publishers) — challenges the idea that most Asian Americans are relatively untouched by racism or focused on issues related to equity. Based on field interviews nationwide, the book describes the Asian American experience in schools, colleges, the workplace and public discourse. In the section on college, examples include students who have been the victim of ethnic profiling (as Muslims) and the barrage of allegedly harmless jokes (such as UCLA as the acronym for “University of Caucasians Lost among Asians") that students experience. The authors of the book are Rosalind S. Chou, a doctoral student in sociology at Texas A&M University, and Joe R. Feagin, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M. Chou recently responded to e-mail questions about the book’s findings about college students.
Q: Why do you think some college students, many of them self-professed liberals who might not tolerate racist jokes about some groups, not only tolerate but engage in jokes about Asian Americans?
A: There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, as we note in the book, there is a pervasive stereotype that Asian Americans are docile. The history of Asian American resistance to racism is largely left out of the history books and the news media. There is activism, especially concentrated on the West Coast and Northeast, but it’s forgotten or ignored. Secondly, many of our respondents talked how they received either explicit or implicit messages to “let things go” or to “not rock the boat,” further reinforcing that Asian Americans will tolerate racist teasing, whereas other minority groups have been unfairly stereotyped as violent or dangerous. The more visible activism of these other racial minority groups may deter a person from poking fun so publicly. Thirdly, Asian Americans appear to have “made it.” This illusion of being “model minorities” can make it seem “less offensive” to poke fun at a group that is seemingly free of racial oppression.
Q: The book’s section on college opens with examples related to California universities with large Asian populations. Does the treatment of Asian students differ significantly at institutions where they make up smaller shares of the student body?
A: Our respondents shared that they faced racial discrimination regardless of their geographic location. However, those students who attended schools with large Asian/ Asian American populations found that they had access to support. The Asian American students groups were very active on campus, this did not save them from mistreatment but they had a community to surround them The students attending schools with a smaller population of Asian American students did not have those resources so readily available. They still dealt with “model minority” stereotyping and, at times, very violent hate crimes, but the experiences were very similar. [To view the entire article, go to: ]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Students appear like KKK in photo

The Boston Globe
By Christopher Baxter
Globe Correspondent / July 14, 2008e

Northeastern University suspended a partnership with a New Jersey hospital this week after two of its students were allegedly coerced by paramedics into dressing as members of the Ku Klux Klan, officials said.
A grainy cellphone photograph released by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey shows two people wearing white sheets, one clenching a makeshift cross constructed from wood and tape. Someone in an emergency medical services uniform can be seen adjusting the other student's sheet.
"The actions taken by the individuals in this instance are appalling," William F. Owen Jr., UMDNJ president, said in a statement on the university's website. An investigation into the photograph and what transpired July 6 is underway, said spokeswoman Terri Guess in a phone interview yesterday.
Officials at UMDNJ, which operates Newark's University Hospital, said the three paramedics involved in the staging were fired this week. Timothy Prahm was fired July 7, Guess said. Henry Solares and Thomas Hart were fired July 10, she said. They could not be reached for comment.
The two students, as well as two others also training at the hospital, were placed at UMDNJ this summer by Northeastern as part of an Emergency Medical Technician certificate program, said Renata Nyul, a spokeswoman for Northeastern. All four immediately returned to Boston, where they were placed into new programs, Nyul said. The names of the students were not released.
[To read the entire story, go to: ]

Democrats Seek to Bolster Wage and Hour Enforcement

Workforce Management
Democrats Seek to Bolster Wage and Hour Enforcement

July 15, 2008
Democrats Seek to Bolster Wage and Hour Enforcement
House Democrats want to put more teeth into the federal agency that helps workers collect pay that has been wrongly denied by their employers, but the thrust of their efforts probably won’t come until next year.
At a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on Tuesday, July 15, the Government Accountability Office released a study showing that enforcement actions by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division have fallen by more than one-third in the past decade—from 47,000 in 1997 to 30,000 in 2007.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, asserted that the agency is short-staffed, fails to effectively utilize resources available for investigations, poorly targets industries where wage violations are likely to occur and does not properly assess its own performance.
A separate GAO case study stated that the division “inappropriately rejected complaints, failed to adequately investigate complaints or neglected to investigate until it was too late.”
Alexander Passantino, acting administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, charged that the GAO study was flawed. He touted his agency’s success during the past 10 years in collecting back wages—an increase from $96.7 million in fiscal year 1997 to $220.6 million in fiscal 2007.
The division enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most of its activity focuses on situations where employers violate minimum wage and overtime standards or withhold a final paycheck.
Democrats at the hearing labeled such practices “wage theft” that particularly hurts low-income workers who are most vulnerable during an economic downturn.
Rep. George Miller, D-California and chairman of the committee, acknowledged in an interview after the hearing that there is not enough time left on the congressional calendar this year to move legislation related to wage and hour compliance.
But he vowed to continue pursuing the issue next year.
“Clearly some of the enforcement tools have to be strengthened,” he said. “They sparingly use stepped-up enforcement. They have to rethink that.”
Miller was referring to a GAO finding that the Wage and Hour Division assessed civil monetary penalties only 6 percent of the time from 2000 to 2007.
In an interview, Passantino said his agency is limited in its ability to fine companies. It can only do so if a firm is a repeat or willful violator. The agency also is prevented from seeking liquidated damages.
Passantino maintained that an emphasis on punishment could undermine the ability of workers to collect the pay owed to them.
“There are tradeoffs,” he said, pointing out that employees can get money in their pockets faster through settlements with companies than through protracted court cases.
Weak enforcement wasn’t the only problem that bothered Miller during the hearing. He also railed against Passantino for poor field office management that prevents timely response to worker complaints.
“I would have a lot of trouble if I was on the other end of the phone trying to recover wages,” Miller said. “That may not be the standard that workers in this country deserve.”
Committee Republicans were more sympathetic toward the agency. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-California and the ranking member of the panel, praised it for collecting $1.25 billion for nearly 2 million workers since 2001.
He cautioned against efforts “to politicize the work of the Wage and Hour Division.” He also said Democrats were ignoring other “pocketbook issues … in particular, the burden of the high cost of gasoline” on workers’ wages.
For Democrats, the point is that workers have to get paid before they can start spending on necessities.
“Wage theft affects everyone from poultry workers to construction workers, nursing home employees to retail employees, farm workers to landscapers,” Miller said.
—Mark Schoeff Jr.

Opting-Out Revolution a Myth: Steep Employment Gains for Women, Mothers

Source: American Sociological Association (ASA)
Released: Wed 11-Jun-2008, 08:00 ET

Newswise — Contrary to the popular perception of a so-called “opting out revolution,” new sociological research from the June issue of the American Sociological Review reveals that professional women’s employment rates have continually pushed higher over time, and that the employment gap between mothers and childless women is shrinking.
To determine the truth behind the opting out phenomenon described in mass media reports, sociologist Christine Percheski examined trends among college-educated women born between 1906 and 1975 and found that professional women’s employment levels have made steep gains over time, especially for mothers of young children and women in historically male professions.
Despite anecdotal reports of successful working women returning to the home to assume child care responsibilities, less than 8 percent of professional women born since 1956 leave the workforce for a year or more during their prime childbearing years, according to the study.
Percheski’s research shows that the number of women with young children who work full-time year-round has increased steadily, growing from a rate of 5.6 percent of women born 1926 to 1935 (referred to as the “Baby Boom Parents” by Percheski), to 38.1 percent of women from Generation X (born 1966 to 1975). More professional Generation X mothers of young children were working full-time year-round than their counterparts in any previous generation.
Percheski finds that among mothers of older children (those age 6 to 18), full-time employment is the norm for professional women of Generation X.
When examining general labor force participation rates, Percheski finds even more drastic growth. About a third of women with young children from the Baby Boom Parents group participated in the labor force while their children were under age 6, but the rate increased to a little more than three-quarters for Generation X mothers of young children.
According to Percheski, the employment gains of recent cohorts do not seem to have been achieved through reductions in fertility, as fertility levels have remained similar across women born from 1946 to 1975.
Not only are more women with children working, but Percheski’s research shows a trend of women working longer hours. The percentage of professional women working more than 50 hours a week increased from less than 10 percent of women born before 1935 to more than 15 percent for most women born after 1956. Long hours were more common even for mothers of young children. Ten percent of Generation X mothers with young children worked more than 50 hours a week; but just over 1 percent of their Baby Boom Parent counterparts worked more than 50 hours a week. For those with older children, the rate was 15 percent of Generation Xers working long hours versus about 2 percent of Baby Boom Parents doing so.Percheski also examined the characteristics of professional, college-educated women in their main reproductive years, ages 25 to 39, who were not employed or enrolled in school the previous year. Although the vast majority of non-working women have children at home, Percheski found that an increasing percentage of women in the younger groups she studied did not. Fewer of these non-working women were married as well. Percheski asserts that this is evidence of the weakening influence of children and marriage on women’s employment rates.
“Contrary to an opt-out revolution, professional women—including mothers of young children—are working more than ever,” said Percheski. “Despite this increase in women’s employment, we can not assume that combining professional work and family life is easy for most women. Indeed, many working women successfully combine these roles by making great personal sacrifices, including curtailing their sleep, civic involvement or leisure time.”
Percheski used cross-sectional data from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey to examine trends by 10-year birth cohorts of college-educated professional and managerial women in the United States from 1960 to 2005. She analyzed labor force participation; full-time, year-round employment; and work hours exceeding 50 hours per week. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and the Office of Population Research at Princeton University.
Sociologists have also studied the factors that affect the decisions of the small percentage of women who do “opt out” of the workforce. The fall 2007 issue of the American Sociological Association’s Contexts magazine included sociologist Pamela Stone’s examination of “The Rhetoric and Reality of Opting Out,” in which Stone describes the home and workplace dynamics that contribute to these decisions. This article is available online at
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions and use of sociology to society.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Observing the 30th Anniversary of the Bakke Decision, MALDEF Continues To Fight For Equal Access and Diversity in Higher Education

Observing the 30th Anniversary of the Bakke Decision, MALDEF Continues To Fight For Equal Access and Diversity in Higher Education

JUNE 10, 2008 - Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). The ruling struck down a UC Davis Medical School admissions program that set aside a specified number of seats for racial minorities, while at the same time overturning the lower court's complete prohibition on the consideration of race under any circumstance. MALDEF filed an amicus brief in the Bakke case arguing for the preservation and promotion of affirmative action to ensure access and equality to higher education for the nation's Latinos.
The Bakke Court, like the current Supreme Court, was badly fragmented. Six separate opinions were issued, and no more than four justices agreed in their reasoning. Justice Powell's opinion in Bakke established the law on affirmative action, and in the intervening 30 years, the legal landscape regarding access and equity in higher education has not changed much. Justice Powell's opinion provided that in the context of student admission to higher education, race can be considered as one factor among many; that specific numerical quotas are constitutionally impermissible, although goals are acceptable; and that while affirmative action programs cannot be used to remedy past societal discrimination, a diverse student body is a compelling reason for considering race in admissions decisions.
By the mid-90's, several states had banned race-based affirmative action at public colleges and universities. California passed Proposition 209 and Washington passed I-200. Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana banned affirmative action at both public and private institutions after the Fifth Circuit's decision in Hopwood v. Texas. Because California and Texas are home to the largest Latino populations in the nation, these anti-affirmative action movements resulted in significant setbacks. Georgia banned affirmative action after a similar legal challenge. Florida followed suit pursuant to an executive order issued by Jeb Bush.
In 2003, the Supreme Court once again considered the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions in Grutter v. Bollinger. That decision affirmed that race can be used as one of many factors in admissions decisions to further the compelling interest of student body diversity. Following the Grutter decision, only 3 states continued to ban affirmative action: California, Washington, and Florida.
In his opinion in the Bakke case, Justice Blackmun expressed the view that the need for affirmative action would elapse within a decade. Unfortunately, Justice Blackmun's prediction failed to transform itself into reality. Indeed, according to a recent report issued by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, "[t]he elimination of affirmative action has sharply decreased the number of underrepresented students enrolling in medical schools." The report states that Latino applicants to the top 10 public and private medical schools has decreased 38.6%, from 2,769 in 1995 to 1,700 in 2001. Similarly, the report found that the number of Latino and African-American law students enrolled in the University of California's three law schools declined by 28% after California passed Proposition 209.
"Two of the states that continue to ban any consideration of racial diversity in their public universities -- California and Florida -- are among the states with the highest Latino population," noted Cynthia Valenzuela, MALDEF Director of Litigation. "This creates long-lasting negative effects on the entire Latino community, and because we are one of the fastest growing communities in the country today, the effects are especially pernicious."
For these reasons, MALDEF continues to fight for diversity in higher education. In April, the MALDEF Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose "Amendment 46," a Colorado ballot initiative that would import California's harmful ban on affirmative action to that state. We are also closely monitoring changes in higher education admissions policies in Arizona, California, and Texas and their potential impact on Latino educational access. At the same time, MALDEF is working to improve educational equality among Latinos at the K-12 level. MALDEF is committed to ensuring a quality education, a connection to opportunity, and a path to success for the next generation of Latino leaders.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through litigation, advocacy, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships.
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50 More Years of Women Making Less Money Than Men?

By Jennifer Waldref, Women's eNews
Posted on July 10, 2008,
Printed on July 10, 2008

Research shows pay discrimination isn't going anywhere soon. Neither are promotion barriers, sexual harassment or bias against mothers.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- With two decades of experience under her belt, Lindsay Hall was confident she was a strong candidate for a promotion within the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency in Oregon where she works as a wildlife biologist.
But after agency "subject matter experts" reviewed all candidates who received the highest ranking from the agency personnel department, Hall -- who asked that her name be changed because she still works for the government -- found herself cut from the applicant pool. Two candidates, both male, were interviewed, and the one who was offered the job had about five years' experience, compared to Hall's 20.
It was not the first time she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a male applicant with less time in the field. Six years earlier, Hall and another woman both applied for an agency position that dealt with hydrosystem policy on the Columbia River's network of power-generating dams. Hall had policy experience, and the other woman had done her master's thesis on the Columbia River hydrosystem. But a less experienced man with a social science degree was hired.
After the second job slipped away, Hall filed a "pre-grievance" with the agency, providing her access to confidential personnel documents. She discovered that the "subject matter experts" ranked her a couple of points below the man who got the job despite her greater experience. They drew what she describes as an "arbitrary line" between her name and his and didn't interview anyone below it.
"When it happens to you, it doesn't take but once or twice and you start to become mistrustful," said Hall. "It's very demoralizing. You end up shifting your focus away from work as a survival tactic." [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jesse Helms Remembered: "From black community, a respectful silence" (North Carolina)
Myron Pitts
Published on Sunday, July 06, 2008

Because we all know our days will eventually come to an end, and because we respect the leveling power of death, we usually idealize the recently died.
We clean up their lives for them, often pretending they were not as messy as normal, human lives tend to be. Death becomes most people. Former Sen. Jesse Helms is no exception.
We will continue to hear many mini-eulogies of the powerful political figure this weekend, but I doubt you will find many black people willing to burnish his checkered legacy.
A respectful silence is all he will get from most of the black community, and all things considered, that’s about as much as could be asked.
Even in the shadow of Helms’ death, I see no need to pussyfoot about: He was hell on black people. Perhaps no single figure in the 20th century could claim more credit for sowing enmity between whites and blacks in North Carolina, and if you know history, you know that the minority group is always the biggest loser when racial strife reigns.
I first fully understood what Helms had wrought in 1990, when Helms’ Senate campaign infected our state’s airwaves with the poisonous “white hands” TV advertisement. The ad showed a pair of white hands crumpling a rejection notice from a prospective employer.
A voiceover says, “You needed that job. And you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota. Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt says it is.”
Helms’ opponent, whom he defeated, was black.
Political experts still rate the brutal ad as one of the most effective in playing the race card in Southern politics. I would later study the ad in a college course on advertising. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Constance Smith Barker Confirmed as EEOC Commissioner

Alabama attorney Constance Smith Barker was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on June 27, 2008. Barker will serve for the remainder of the term of commission chair Naomi Earp, whose term ends in July 2011. The following is the law firm resume of Commissioner Barker:

Capell & Howard, P.C.
Constance Smith Barker

Connie has practiced employment law at Capell & Howard, P.C. since 1996, when she joined the firm as a shareholder. She represents a broad cross-section of commercial, manufacturing, retail and professional firms. Her clients include manufacturing plants, retail businesses, medical groups, physicians, real estate development and investment firms, and an architectural and engineering firm. Her efforts are equally focused on the prevention of discrimination claims and the defense of lawsuits. She works closely with corporate clients to guide their decision-making process through the mine fields of potential discrimination liability. Connie has been a guest speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars for lawyers and regularly provides seminars to clients on avoiding discrimination lawsuits. New industry in the Montgomery area has called upon her to provide in-house services on laws affecting business in Alabama. She has also been appointed by the State of Alabama Attorney General to defend state departments and agencies in discrimination lawsuits and is one of a group of attorneys who were selected to defend state agencies in a class action discrimination case.
Connie's trial experience began with four years as a criminal prosecutor, serving as Assistant District Attorney for the 11th Circuit and later for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Alabama. In her role as Assistant D.A., she tried approximately fifty jury trials and countless bench trials. In 1985, Connie was selected to serve in the newly-created position of General Counsel for Mobile County Public Schools, the 13th largest school system in the nation. She served as General Counsel for eleven years, providing legal advice and counsel to the Board and top management on matters involving discrimination, tenure law, contracts and areas of general corporate law.
Connie received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1973. Her studies at Notre Dame included a year of study in Angers, France at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest. She was awarded a juris doctor from the University of Alabama Law School in 1977 and was admitted to the Alabama State Bar that same year.

Affirmative Distraction

The New York Times
July 6, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor
Aspen, Colo.

THIRTY years ago last week, the Supreme Court handed down its Bakke decision, hoping to end the argument over the constitutionality of affirmative action in college admission. But with hindsight, it’s clear that the justices mainly helped hasten the end of serious discussion about racial justice in America. As they set the stage for a lasting argument over who should get into college, the wound of race continued to fester, unhealed, and our politics moved on.
The ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke was the court’s disorderly attempt in 1978 to bring some order to racially conscious admissions programs. The medical school of the University of California at Davis had set aside 16 spots for members of groups described as having been subjected to past discrimination.
The program was not unusual. Worried about lagging minority enrollments and prodded by the federal government, colleges across the country, having once taken race into account to keep certain groups out, had begun considering it as a factor in order to help members of those groups get in. A rejected applicant, Allan P. Bakke, argued that the program at Davis discriminated against him because he was white.
The Supreme Court was unable to make up its collective mind. Four of the justices would have upheld nearly all college affirmative action programs, and four others would have struck nearly all of them down. Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.’s lone opinion therefore controlled the result.
Justice Powell proposed that university administrators could consider an applicant’s race — sometimes, anyway — as long as they did not establish any racial quota, a term he inexactly defined. Baffled colleges consulted baffled lawyers. Justice Powell’s laudable effort at compromise had sown confusion. Eventually, college administrators worked out their response: They would pay attention to the Bakke decision when it suited them — the rest of the time they would ignore it.
In the ensuing years, America has come to treat racial injustice the same way. Having failed miserably in our efforts to undo the damage wrought by two centuries of slavery and another of Jim Crow, we threw up our hands and moved on. We still fight over affirmative action and pretend it means we’re fighting over racial justice. We debate its pros and cons in order to avoid coming to grips with more fundamental challenges.
Those who suffer most from the legacy of racial oppression are not competing for spaces in the entering classes of the nation’s most selective colleges. Millions of them are not finishing high school. We countenance vast disparities in education in America, in where children start and where they come out. And we do not even want to talk about it.
It was not always this way. From the early years of the nation’s founding through somewhere in the mid-1970s, racial injustice was the fundamental moral question of American politics. Through wars and depressions, through scandals and disasters, the attention of the American people was repeatedly yanked back — at times forcefully — to the divide between black and white.
America fought over slavery. America fretted about Jim Crow and finally put a stop to it. During the 1960s, the nation tried out various remedies for its horrific history, including school integration and, especially during the Nixon administration, minority hiring programs. But by 1978, the nation’s attention was slipping to other pressing moral questions — abortion and the environment, for instance — and has never quite slipped back.
It’s true that, nowadays, some of the data on racial progress are rosy, and deserving of celebration. In the past decade alone, according to the Census Bureau, the number of black adults with advanced degrees has nearly doubled. More than half a million more black students are in college today than in the early 1990s. Since 1989, the median income of black families has increased more than 16 percent in constant dollars. In the years since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the black-white gap in test scores has narrowed, and is now smaller than it has ever been. The black middle class has never been larger.
For the first time, a major party is going to nominate an African-American candidate for president.
But it’s also true that income stratification among African-Americans has increased, and the gap between the well-off and the poor is growing. One in three black students fails to finish high school, and nearly all of those who don’t graduate are poor. Rates of violent crime are falling nationally, but the murder rate among young black men has risen sharply. America has two black communities, really, and one of them is falling further and further behind. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

First cohort selected for fellowship program that aims to diversify professoriate

Stanford Report, June 11, 2008

Twelve PhD students have been selected as the first cohort of the DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Program, a two-year award designed to help better prepare graduate students from diverse backgrounds for careers in academia.
The recipients are Deji Akinwande, electrical engineering; Jessica Allen, immunology; Matthew Anderson, genetics; Courtney Bonam, psychology; Nate Cardin, chemistry; Kenneth Gibbs Jr., immunology; Jennifer Harford Vargas, English; Laura Lopez-Sanders, sociology; Shantal Marshall, psychology; Marcela Muniz, education; Ronald Painter, chemistry; and Daniel Soto, applied physics.
"As a group, this inaugural cohort is diverse on a wide range of dimensions that we value in the university and in the academic profession," said Patricia J. Gumport, vice provost for graduate education. Stanford defines diversity broadly to include underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities; first-generation college students; women in natural science and engineering fields; gay, lesbian and transgender students; disabled students; and others whose backgrounds and experiences would diversify the professoriate in their academic fields.
The aim of the new $4.5 million program, which was announced last December, is to help advanced doctoral students in the last two years of their program, and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate, to investigate and prepare for and, ultimately, launch successful careers at colleges and universities.
Under the four-year program, Stanford will select 36 DARE fellows.
In addition to tuition and a stipend, the DARE Program provides an integrated set of activities designed to prepare students for the full range of faculty responsibilities and to enable them to take on academic leadership roles. Each fellow will receive up to $2,000 for a small project—such as mentoring an undergraduate or bringing speakers to Stanford—that is designed to enhance diversity on campus. Each fellow also will receive funding for a recruiting trip to a college or university to encourage promising undergraduates to attend graduate school.
Gumport said the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education received more than 100 "very impressive" applications from doctoral students in 37 departments, and the eight-member committee that reviewed the applications faced a "tremendously challenging task." Twelve alternates also were selected.

Arizona Affirmative action ban makes ballot
Jul. 3, 2008 03:20 PM
Associated Press

Supporters of a state constitutional amendment banning affirmative action programs have met the filing deadline to get the measure on the November ballot.
The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative filed 334,658 signatures with the Secretary of State's office Thursday, surpassing the necessary number by more than 100,000.
Deputy Secretary of State Kevin Tyne says it will take more than a month to verify that enough signatures are valid and certify it for the ballot.
A Michigan-based activist group filed a lawsuit Monday to keep the measure off the ballot, claiming that petition-signature gatherers used deceptively worded pitches to convince people to sign.

OFCCP Issues Directive and FAQs on Electronic Recordkeeping

OFCCP Directive
Transmittal Number: 279
DATE: May 14, 2008
SUBJECT: Preserving Employment and Personnel Records in Electronic Format.
PURPOSE: To set forth OFCCP's policy regarding: (1) the use of electronic recordkeeping systems to comply with the record retention regulations; and (2) the destruction of paper originals of personnel and employment records that are otherwise preserved in electronic format.
FILING INSTRUCTIONS: Holders of ADM and LEG Binders only: File this Notice with the attachment behind the "Other" tab in your Administrative Practices Binder. District and Area Office EOSs and EOAs only: File this Notice with the attachment behind the tab for ADM Directives in your FCCM Binder.
DISTRIBUTION: A, B (both hard copy and electronically), and C (hard copy only).
EXPIRATION DATE:This directive remains in effect until superseded.
(Signed) Charles JamesCHARLES E. JAMES, SR.Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Contract Compliance
SUBJECT: Preserving Employment and Personnel Records in Electronic Format.
PURPOSE: To set forth OFCCP's policy regarding: (1) the use of electronic recordkeeping systems to comply with the record retention regulations; and (2) the destruction of paper originals of personnel and employment records that are otherwise preserved in electronic format.
BACKGROUND: Section 60-1.12 (a) of the regulations implementing Executive Order 11246 currently requires any personnel or employment record that is made or kept by the contractor to be "preserved" by the contractor for a minimum of two years. However, if the contractor has fewer than 150 employees or does not have a contract of at least $150, 000, § 60-1.12 (a) provides that the record retention period is a minimum of one year. The regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, contain record retention provisions that are similar to § 60-1.12. See 41 CFR 60 250.80, 41 CFR 60 300.80, and 41 CFR 60 741.80. The current regulations also require that contractors permit access to their premises so that the OFCCP may inspect and copy their books and records, including computerized records. See 41 CFR 60-1.43, 60-250.81, 60-300.81, and 60-741.81.
Contractors and consultants have asked whether the OFCCP record retention regulations permit the destruction of the paper originals of employment and personnel records when such records are otherwise retained electronically.
The OFCCP has interpreted the term "preserve" as having its ordinary dictionary meaning, "to keep safe from harm, injury, or destruction." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 931 (1984). Historically, the OFCCP has required that records be retained in their original form, and precluded a contractor from destroying the original paper records before the retention period has expired. However, the regulations do not prescribe a particular format in which the records must be preserved.
The OFCCP record retention provisions contain language similar to that found in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) regulations. Significantly, the EEOC addressed whether electronic recordkeeping would satisfy the recordkeeping requirements under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA in an Informal Discussion Letter. See The Informal Discussion letter states in part "nothing in 29 CFR § 1602.14 (Title VII and ADA record keeping) requires preservation of records in paper, rather than electronic, form. However, please make sure that any system adopted by your clients captures and retains all information contained in documents. This would ensure that documents are properly 'preserved' as required by 29 CFR § 1602.14."
In addition, several Government agencies have issued regulations on the use of electronic recordkeeping systems. See e.g., DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration's(EBSA) regulation at 29 CFR 2520.107-1; the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) regulations at 29 CFR 4000.53 and 4000.54; the Securities and Exchange Commission's regulations at 17 CFR 31.a-2 and 17 CFR 275.204-2; and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission's regulation at 17 CFR 1.31. Generally, these regulations allow paper or non-electronic records to be stored in electronic formats provided certain safeguards are in place to ensure that the electronic storage system is reliable and records stored electronically are complete, accurate, and accessible.
In light of the increasing use of electronic media in all aspects of business administration, and the advances made in the technology used for converting paper documents into electronic formats, the OFCCP believes that it is appropriate to reexamine whether it is permissible for contractors to preserve in an electronic format those personnel and employment records originally created in paper form, and dispose of the paper originals.
POLICY: The OFCCP regulations at 41 CFR 60-1.12, 60-250.80, 60 300.80 and 60-741.80 require that contractors preserve complete and accurate personnel records. The regulations at 41 CFR 60-1.43, 60-250.81, 60-300.81 and 60-741.81 also require contractors to permit the OFCCP access to their records, including computerized records, for inspection and copying. See also 41 CFR 60-1.4(a)(5) and 60-1.20(f). These obligations continue. Contractors may use an electronic recordkeeping system to comply with the record retention requirements. However, if records are maintained electronically, contractors must take care to ensure that the electronic records comply with the record retention and access regulations, i.e., the electronic records are accurate, complete, and accessible to the OFCCP.
A contractor may transfer original paper records to its electronic recordkeeping system, if the medium used accurately reproduces the paper original and would constitute a duplicate or substitute copy of the original paper record under Federal law. In addition, a contractor may dispose of the original paper records any time after they are transferred to its electronic recordkeeping system, except that the original paper record may not be disposed of if the electronic copy would not accurately reproduce the original record. During a compliance evaluation, compliance officers may ask that paper originals stored in electronic format be converted into legible and readable paper copies and provided to OFCCP.
The use of an electronic recordkeeping system does not in any way alter the longstanding requirement that the contractor allow OFCCP to inspect and copy records at the contractor's premises during a compliance evaluation or complaint investigation. Thus, all of the contractor's electronic records must be made readily available for review, and must be readable and capable of being copied by OFCCP.
Compliance officers should consider electronic recordkeeping systems with the following characteristics as complying with record retention regulations:
the system has reasonable controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy, authenticity, and reliability of the records kept in electronic form;
the electronic records are maintained in such a manner that they may be readily inspected and/or copied by the OFCCP, as required under the regulations at 41 CFR 60-1.43, 60-250.81, 60-300.81 and 60-741.81 (for example, the recordkeeping system should be capable of retaining, preserving, retrieving and reproducing the electronic records);
paper originals stored in electronic format are readily convertible into legible and readable paper copy; and
adequate records management practices are established and implemented (for example, such practices might include labeling electronically maintained or retained records, providing a secure storage environment, creating back-up electronic copies, observing a quality assurance program evidenced by regular evaluations of the electronic recordkeeping system, and retaining paper copies of records that cannot be clearly, accurately or completely transferred to an electronic recordkeeping system).
DISTRIBUTION: A, B (both hard copy and electronically), and C (hard copy only).
EXPIRATION DATE: This directive remains in effect until superseded.
(Signed) Charles James
CHARLES E. JAMES, SR.Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Contract Compliance

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Princeton Forms Diversity Council for Staff Related Diversity Matters

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Michelle J. Nealy
Jul 3, 2008, 22:10

Princeton University has formed a new Diversity Council to advise the offices of the provost and executive vice president on staff-related diversity matters.The council, co-chaired by Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, vice president for human resources, and Dr. Terri Harris Reed, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, is composed of 28 staff members. The council’s purpose is to further extend the efforts of a pre-existing group, the Diversity Working Group.
The Diversity Working Group, assembled in 2004 by university president Shirley M. Tilghman, was charged with identifying strategies and potential barriers that affect the recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion of a diverse work force at Princeton. A year after its inception, the group issued a report that resulted in a number of changes intended to make Princeton a more diverse and welcoming workplace for people of all backgrounds. Among the changes implemented were to:

— Create and expand training for managers.
— Add multilingual employees in the Office of Human Resources.
— Hire several additional employee relations professionals.
— Add English as a Second Language programming.

In fall 2006, the working group sponsored a confidential survey of Princeton staff members on topics including the fairness of employment practices and the openness of Princeton’s culture.
The new Diversity Council hopes to use data collected from the survey to recommend and promote policies, practices and programs that foster an equitable and inclusive community, university officials report. Examining formal and informal structures that impede progress toward diversity goals and recommending improvements will be an integral part of the Diversity Council’s responsibility, officials say. [To read the entire article, go to: ]