Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Imagine Fund will offer race and gender-based scholarships in response to 2006 anti-affirmative action law

Kalamazoo Gazette
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

KALAMAZOO -- A new organization called The Imagine Fund plans to offer college scholarships beginning in fall 2009 that will consider an academically qualified student's race, gender or other characteristics.
Considering race or gender in awarding a scholarship is a practice that in late 2006 was banned at the state's public universities and colleges.
The private nonprofit -- established in 2007 and now beginning its first public fundraising campaign -- was formed in response to that voter-approved measure outlawing some forms of affirmative action in Michigan.
``The Imagine Fund was conceived, quite frankly, because a small group of us were very concerned, angry, annoyed at the passage of Proposal 2,'' Nanette Reynolds, The Imagine Fund president, said Tuesday in a meeting with Kalamazoo Gazette staff.
Organizers worry Proposal 2 limits access to higher education for some and ultimately hurts the state.
``At a time when the economy is really suffering is not the time to pull back on financial aid for qualified students,'' said Diane M. Purgiel, the organization's vice president of development.
Members of the founding board of directors include former state officials, such as David Hollister, former director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. Its ``honorary adviser'' is Mark Murray, one-time president of Grand Valley State University and now Meijer Inc.'s chief executive. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

UW diversity plan at age 10

By DEBORAH ZIFF Lee Newspapers
Published - Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's been 10 years since the UW System launched its major diversity initiative -- Plan 2008 -- and in that time administrators have successfully recruited hundreds of students of color and faculty to come to UW-Madison.In that same 10 years, UW-Madison has made news for photoshopping a photo of a black student into a crowd of white students on a brochure and for a law school professor's remarks about the Hmong that some considered racist.Now in the plan's final year, the numbers of minorities at the state's flagship have been stubbornly budging upward, but students and administrators say there is still more work to be done, especially when it comes to creating a welcoming campus environment for people of color."I think there's room for improvement everywhere," said incoming chancellor Biddy Martin. "We're probably going to have to, as most universities are, get much more aggressive in some of our efforts."It's difficult to declare the program a success or failure because its goals lacked specificity.In part paralyzed by legal restrictions, the only numeric goal was that the diversity of the freshman class match the diversity of the state's high school graduates. That benchmark was met in the first year of the program, 1998, and in every subsequent year.Bernice Durand, the former head of diversity programs on campus, said she is looking for the day when students of color are getting admitted, performing and graduating at the same rate as white students."When students of color are doing as well as white students, you'll feel like you've got equal opportunity," she said. "No, we're not there."There were seven goals to the plan when it was hatched 10 years ago, and with the more tangible of those goals, the results are mixed:The percentage of black, Asian, American Indian and Hispanic students has increased in the past 10 years, but it is still a small part of the undergraduate student population at UW-Madison, just 12 percent of almost 30,000 students. That's up from around 9 percent in 1998.A profile of the incoming freshman class will not be available until Sept. 1, but preliminary numbers suggest the percent of minorities will be similar to last year, Farrell said.The minority graduation rate is inching up, but it's still not as strong as the graduation rate for white students. For the freshman class of 2001, 59.3 percent of minorities had graduated by six years, compared to 80.1 percent for the total class.The number of faculty and staff of color has also increased. The numbers of black, Asian, American Indian and Hispanic faculty have increased from about 10 percent to 16 percent, but the number of academic staff hovers around 11 percent. [To see the entire story, go to: ]

Affirmative action ban initiative headed toward ballot

August 22, 2008

A campaign to ban most forms of affirmative action in Nebraska has enough petition signatures to reach the November ballot.Doug Tietz, director of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, the group advocating the ban, said this morning that the Nebraska Secretary of State's office had informed him that the petition had "more than enough" valid signatures after a county-by-county check of those signatures.The initiative needed 112,152 valid signatures – equal to 10 percent of registered voters statewide – to be placed on the ballot. Signers must be registered Nebraska voters.John Gale, Nebraska Secretary of State, announced the official number of valid signatures this afternoon. With all 93 counties completing the verification process, the initiative had 136,589 valid signatures of registered voters."We have it by a comfortable margin," Tietz said this morning. "Nebraskans signed it, and now they want to vote on it, period."The Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative is seeking to change the state constitution to bar public agencies such as city governments and the University of Nebraska from considering applicants' race or gender when enrolling students or hiring workers. Those practices are commonly known as affirmative action.Nebraskans United, the group opposing the affirmative action ban, has alleged misconduct by the petition gatherers as they collected signatures through the spring and summer. [To see the entire story, go to: ]

Harvard scrutinizing its police on race

By Tracy Jan
Globe Staff August 27, 2008

Harvard University will launch an examination of the campus Police Department following long-running complaints that officers have unfairly treated black students and professors and, in an incident this month, a black high school student working at Harvard.
President Drew Gilpin Faust announced yesterday that she has appointed an independent, six-member committee to review the diversity training, community outreach, and recruitment efforts of Harvard police, the first review of its kind in more than a decade. In recent weeks, black student and faculty leaders have been pressing the university to address what they view as racial profiling by the predominantly white campus police force, which Harvard oversees.
Ralph Martin, former Suffolk district attorney and managing partner of the Boston office of the Bingham McCutchen law firm, will lead the committee, which will start work next week.
"All of us share an interest in sustaining constructive relations between our campus police and the broader Harvard community, in order to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all faculty, students, staff, and visitors," Faust wrote in an e-mail to senior university administrators and faculty. ". . . I am confident that this group's efforts will help the university address this important set of issues in a constructive spirit and forthright manner."
Black faculty members praised Faust's initiative, saying it signaled that she will address the issue thoroughly and effectively. Some said the university should go further and establish a permanent police community board to ease tension on both sides.
Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree said black students arrive on campus aiming for academic success but instead find themselves under suspicion.
"I've been hosting, moderating, and mediating meetings between Harvard's black students and university police for much of the last 20 years, and it always stems from an individual incident when African-Americans appear to be the subject of racial profiling by the police department," Ogletree said yesterday. "The problem is a persistent one, because there's still this unfortunate assumption that equates the color of a person's skin with involvement in criminality."
Harvard police officials would not respond to questions about specific incidents, but issued a statement yesterday saying they hope the review will help the private force better serve Harvard's diverse population. "We look forward to any recommendations generated by the process that will help ensure the HUPD remains as effective as possible," the statement said. [To view the entire story, go to: ]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims in Hiring

Workforce Week
By Fay Hansen

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

20 . . . and Counting

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
August 25, 2008
By V.I. King

A 25-year deadline is fast approaching; in fact, 5 years have expired, and there are only a short 20 years remaining.

In July, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court issued landmark legal opinions in the two lawsuits filed against the University of Michigan. It held, essentially, that universities can continue to give preferences in admissions on the basis of race for the purpose of promoting diversity. However, in an opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Supreme Court gave our society a deadline. She wrote, “Race-conscious admissions policies must be limited in time . . . The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”

Five years have passed. Time is running out fast, and—as unpleasant as the task may be—political leaders, public intellectuals, journalists, social scientists, and voters need to start a national debate about affirmative action — whether to keep it, how to fix it, and what it means for the future of the country.

Those who might believe that there is no urgent need to confront these issues now should bear in mind the long road to Brown v. Board of Education. The legal path to that decision in 1954 actually began 20 years earlier, when civil rights attorney Charles Houston joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The following year, in 1935, Houston and his protégé – the young Thurgood Marshall – won the first battle against the separate-but-equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson, in the case of Murray v. Pearson (which forced Maryland to open its law school to African-American applicants). Nineteen more years of hard-fought litigation followed, including landmark cases such as Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938), Smith v. Allwright (1944), Morgan v. Virginia (1946), Patton v. Mississippi (1947), and Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), culminating in the issuance of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

To play a role in shaping how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in 2028, higher education leaders and lawyers need to strategize – as Houston and Marshall did – about what test cases are emerging in all 50 states, how those cases will create appellate opportunities, and how each court decision can build upon a prior decision.

[To read the entire article, go to:]

V.I. King is President of the Board of Trustees at Glendale Community College and University Legal Counsel at California State University, Los Angeles.

Monday, August 25, 2008


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Complaints and Processing Times Down; Government Diversity Improves

WASHINGTON – Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today released the Annual Report on the Federal Work Force for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, covering October 2006 through September 2007. The comprehensive report, which informs and advises the President and the Congress on the state of equal employment opportunity (EEO) government-wide, is available on the agency’s web site at
The report shows that in FY 2007, federal employees and applicants filed 16,363 complaints alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability and reprisal – down from 16,723 complaints in FY 2006 and 18,000 complaints in FY 2005. Agencies also reduced the average processing time for conducting investigations from 186 days in FY 2006 to 176 days in FY 2007, the best investigation times reported in the last 14 years. Additionally, the average processing time for closing complaints was 355 days, a decrease from the 367 days in FY 2006. Of the 7,673 cases closed on the merits, 2.8% resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. In addition, the parties entered into settlements in 3,262 complaints, or 20.6% of the total complaint closures.
“As a former EEO Director, I have a particular interest in the Federal EEO Complaint System. It is my goal to improve the quality and efficiency of the Federal Sector process, and help to make the federal government a model workplace. I look forward to seeing continued improvement in work force diversity and complaint processing,” EEOC Chair Naomi Earp said.
Over the last 10 years, there have been subtle changes in the composition of the federal work force. Overall, the representation of women, Hispanic or Latinos, African Americans, and Asians has slightly increased, however, the number of people with targeted disabilities continues to decline. The EEOC, through its LEAD Initiative (Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities), is reaching out to agencies with enhanced technical assistance and guidance to increase the population of individuals with disabilities employed by the federal government.
The EEOC monitors federal agency compliance with equal employment opportunity laws and procedures. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quick Takes: Another Win for Affirmative Action

Inside Higher Ed
August 22, 2008

Arizona’s secretary of state, Jan Brewer, on Thursday disqualified from the state’s November ballot a measure that would have barred public colleges and universities and other state agencies from considering race and ethnicity in admissions, scholarship and hiring decisions, The Arizona Republic reported. Brewer ruled that too many of the signatures on petitions to place the measure on the ballot were invalid, and that the remainder did not reach the minimum level. Supporters will now try to show that some of the rejected signatures should be permitted. But defenders of affirmative action say that may be difficult. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund released a statement Thursday night saying that signatures submitted on behalf of the measure were full of errors — included one signature alleged to be from the late President Ford and one from the Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, with Saudi Arabia listed as his street address and Tibet as his city of residence. If the measure stays off the ballot, only two states — Colorado and Nebraska — will vote on abolishing affirmative action in November, down from five in which organizers originally planned to make their case.

Affirmative-action initiative fails to make ballot

by Matthew Benson and Glen Creno - Aug. 22, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

An initiative that would amend the Arizona Constitution to ban affirmative-action programs in the state was disqualified from the ballot Thursday by Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
Proposition 104, known as the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative, becomes the third measure this year to be booted from the ballot because of failure to submit enough valid signatures to the state. Prop. 104 proponents vowed to appeal, probably early next week.
In other action Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Aceto dealt a setback to supporters of a proposed transportation initiative as he refused to restore the measure to the ballot. Supporters of the TIME initiative, dealing with signature problems similar to the civil-rights measure, now plan to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative initially submitted 334,735 signatures to the state. But following petition reviews by the Secretary of State's Office and the state's 15 county recorders, that number was whittled down to 194,961 valid signatures. That's short of the 230,047 required for a Constitutional amendment.

The proposal is spearheaded by California businessman Ward Connerly and modeled after propositions in California and other states. In Arizona, the measure would ban preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education and contracts.

The initiative was drawn into the national spotlight in July when Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, said he was supportive. A decade earlier, McCain in speaking to Hispanic leaders condemned as "divisive" a ballot measure proposed by an Arizona lawmaker to ban affirmative action, though he never cited the referendum by name.
Now, Arizona Civil Rights Initiative Chairman Max McPhail is hopeful that a careful re-examination of the signatures initially deemed invalid may result in enough being overturned to qualify the measure for the ballot. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Survey Indicates Value of Education Varies Among Ethnic Groups

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Lois Elfman
Aug 21, 2008, 11:06

According to the new study “How America Pays for College,” only 54 percent of Hispanic parents surveyed said that college is an investment in a child’s future versus 81 percent of Whites and 85 percent of Blacks. Fifteen percent of Hispanic parents said they were willing to stretch financially for the best opportunity for a child versus 50 percent of Whites and 66 percent of Blacks, according to study results, based on a telephone survey conducted last spring by student loan giant Sallie Mae.

“One of the things we need to work on for next year’s study is that the number of Hispanics we have are relatively small,” said Dr. Bill Diggins, strategic consultant for Gallup and lead researcher on this survey. “We need to boost that up. There were some differences across race and ethnicity — primarily among Hispanics. Interestingly, Hispanics seem to be much more debt averse than both African-Americans and Whites. They’re paying approximately one-third less in total college costs than Whites and African-Americans.”

Overall findings suggest American families place a high value on college education. Three-quarters of the 684 students ages 18-24 interviewed strongly agreed that one of the reasons they are attending college is that they will enjoy a better quality of life. Ninety-four percent of the 720 parents agreed that sending their child to college was an investment in their child’s future. Three quarters of parents and 87 percent of students agreed they would rather borrow to pay for college than not be able to go at all.

The survey shows that 58 percent of families reported ruling out schools because of cost at some point during the application process, with 43 percent doing so even before considering a college. The survey also showed that some families might not be fully investigating whether or not a college is affordable and what financial aid options exist before eliminating it from consideration. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

AAAA Comment: This survey also debunks the myth (Center for Equal Opportunity generated) that African Americans do not value education...SJW

Equal Start, Less Equal Progress in Social Sciences

Inside Higher Ed
August 21, 2008

Women could be poised to assume “equal footing” in the social sciences, and are starting their academic careers at levels of equity with men, a new report finds. But at the same time, gaps in progress appear for women within 10 years of earning their Ph.D.’s — and women in the social sciences differ significantly from men in terms of the impact of work/family balance, the report finds.
“Finally Equal Footing for Women in Social Science Careers?,” by the University of Washington Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education, is based on data from “Social Science Ph.D.’s Five+ Years Out,” as well as from the Survey of Earned Doctorates. For purposes of the study, the disciplines covered were anthropology, communication, geography, history, political science and sociology. Economics, which was not included, generally has smaller proportions of women than do other social science fields.
Many disciplinary organizations have been analyzing the status of women in their fields, and this latest report is an attempt to broaden the discussion by looking at a group of disciplines together — and in particular to examine disciplines that have seen huge changes in the last generation in terms of gender participation. In 2005, women earned 45 percent of the Ph.D.’s awarded in the social sciences fields studied, up from 27 percent in 1980 and 10 percent in 1966. With women now a majority of new doctorates in fields such as anthropology, the report attempts to see how they are progressing in their careers.
Generally, the evidence is very positive for women — as their careers start. Women are slightly more likely than men to have their first jobs on the tenure track (42 percent vs. 40 percent) and slightly less likely than men to have faculty jobs off the tenure track (26 percent vs. 28 percent). But these figures reverse themselves 6 to 10 years after a Ph.D., at which point men are more likely to have tenure or jobs outside of academe (generally with higher salaries than those for professors) and women are more likely to have jobs off the tenure track. [To see the entire story, go to: ]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Recruiting on the Right Side of the Law

Workforce Management
Recruiting on the Right Side of the Law

“Creative” recruiting and hiring candidates with the “best fit” open the door to discrimination charges. By Fay Hansen

Abercrombie & Fitch engaged in "creative" recruiting to fill sales jobs with candidates who matched the company’s carefully constructed marketing image. The high-profile clothing retailer staffed its stores with handsome young white men and touched off a lawsuit that ultimately cost the company $50 million and a barrage of bad publicity. More than 10,000 applicants and employees received their checks for damages in December 2005 after Abercrombie settled the suit.
Although companies generally operate in a heightened state of awareness about the potential for discrimination charges during terminations, the possibility of lawsuits arising from the recruiting process draws less attention. But faulty recruiting and hiring procedures can generate claims from unsuccessful applicants. In addition, employees who initiate lawsuits often reach all the way back to the hiring process to show systemic practices.
Objective sourcing and selection standards are the key to staying on the right side of the law, but many recruiters are still working with subjective criteria. "Creative" evaluation techniques and the ever-popular "best fit" explanation for selecting candidates can invite discrimination charges.
Abercrombie recruited for a certain "look." Some recruiters go on a "gut feeling" about candidates or search for a match with the corporate "culture." It’s a subtle landscape, but red flags pop up along the way.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against Abercrombie for using image-driven recruiting and hiring practices that led to the exclusion of minorities and women and limited their employment. As part of the settlement, Abercrombie agreed to hire 25 diversity recruiters, set benchmarks for hiring women and minorities, overhaul its recruiting procedures and end recruiting at fraternities, sororities and certain colleges. A court-ordered monitor will evaluate the company’s recruiting practices for at least five years.
Damage to the company’s reputation exceeded the direct dollar costs of the settlement.
"When a discrimination charge is filed, applicants are making one of the most serious charges anyone can make short of a criminal accusation," notes Eric Dreiband, who was general counsel for the EEOC when the agency moved against Abercrombie. "They are charging that their civil rights have been violated. People fight over money all the time, but a discrimination charge goes to the integrity and reputation of the employer."
Companies with large, sophisticated staffing functions are more vulnerable than they may think. On March 29, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against UPS on behalf of a Rastafarian who was told he would have to shave his beard to be hired as a driver helper. Two days later, it filed a national class-action sex discrimination lawsuit against Lawry’s Restaurants Inc. on behalf of male applicants who allege they were systematically rejected for jobs as food servers.
Applicants and employees file more than 75,000 charges with the EEOC each year and the agency pursues more than 400 full-fledged lawsuits annually. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

BAMN Exposes Methods of ACRI election fraud

Press Release
BAMN Exposes Methods of ACRI election fraud
August 18, 2008

Please read the LETTER and EXHIBITS sent by BAMN to the Arizona Secretary of State and Maricopa County Recorders offices detailing the ways that fraud permeated the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative’s (ACRI) signature gathering process. BAMN’s efforts on the streets of Arizona resulted in educating voters on the true character of the ACRI, so that they would not be duped into signing the ACRI petition. The number of valid signatures that the ACRI collected is well below what they would need for it to qualify for the ballot. "From our investigation and that of others, it is clear that the ACRI has failed to receive the requisite number of petitions needed to obtain ballot status," said Shanta Driver, Chairperson of the BAMN Committee to Stop ACRI. “BAMN’s aim now is to work to assure that the Arizona Secretary of State, Governor Napolitano, and Attorney General Goddard use all of the powers vested in them to stop this fraud from going forward. The best way to send a message to all well-funded fraudulent petition efforts that you cannot cynically buy your way onto the ballot in AZ and prey on the voters of this state is to keep ACRI from reaching the ballot.”
The preliminary evidence submitted by BAMN today to the Secretary of State and the Maricopa county Recorder’s office includes signed and notarized affidavits from circulators, a list of some circulators names that match the names of convicted felons in the state of Arizona, a series of alterations of the petitions that invalidates the signatures, documentation of the racially targeted voter fraud and a host of other election violations.
BAMN is conducting an ongoing investigation of the fraud utilized by the ACRI’s chief sponsor, Ward Connerly, to obtain ballot status. BAMN plans to launch an interactive website so that voters who were deceived into signing the ACRI can help document the racially-targeted voter fraud. BAMN is calling on the Governor and Attorney General to take action because the Maricopa County prosecutor, Andrew Thomas is the honorary chair of the ACRI.
BAMN Letter to the Arizona Secretary of State and Maricopa County Recorders officesExhibits

Ariz. affirmative action ban foes file challenge

The Tucson Citizen
The Associated Press
Published: 08.18.2008

PHOENIX — Alleging fraud by petition circulators and other improprieties, opponents of a ballot measure to generally bar racial and gender preferences by the state government asked a court Monday to keep the initiative off the November ballot.
Protect Arizona's Freedom on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging about a third of the more than 300,000 petition signatures filed to qualify Proposition 104 for the ballot. Opponents say the signatures are ineligible for reasons other than the voter registration status of individuals who signed those petitions.
Disqualifying that many signatures would keep the measure off the ballot, said state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat who heads Protect Arizona's Freedom.
Violations included petitions circulated by felons whose civil rights hadn't been restored, petitions circulated by ineligible individuals who misrepresented their identities or addresses, and petition sheets not properly notarized, according to the lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of two university students.
The proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at dismantling preferential treatment programs for women and minorities, the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative, is championed by Ward Connerly.
The former California education official has succeeded in winning approval of similar measures in that state as well in Washington and Michigan and is also proposing versions this year in Colorado and Nebraska.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Jan Brewer did not immediately return a call for comment on the status of the state's review of the petitions submitted to qualify Proposition 104 for the ballot.
However, Sinema indicated she anticipated that elections officials' checks of a random sample of petitions would find a lack of enough valid signatures to qualify Proposition 104 for the ballot. She said she hoped her group's lawsuit would persuade supporters of the measure to abandon their efforts.
"This lawsuit is a message to Ward Connerly," Sinema said, adding that Arizonans won't tolerate cheating. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

How will new nondiscrimination law interact with current employment statutes?

The New York Law Journal
By James E. Kellett
August 11, 2008

The ink is barely dry on new employment laws before summaries, citations and warnings land in corporate e-mails around the country. So too with "GINA," the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, which will become effective in November 2009.1 The basic principles of GINA have been well publicized; simply put, under Title II of the act, employers cannot discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of their genetic predispositions.GINA makes it unlawful for an employer "to fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge, any employee, or otherwise to discriminate against any employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions of employment of the employee because of genetic information with respect to the employee." It further makes it unlawful "to limit, segregate, or classify the employees of an employer in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any employee of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of the employee as an employee because of genetic information with respect to the employee." The act includes employment agencies, labor organizations and training programs in the nondiscrimination provisions, and also makes acquisition of genetic information unlawful, with certain specific exceptions. There are further obligations set forth in the act related to the confidentiality and disclosure of genetic information.2To some, GINA may simply be a new entry into the "alphabet soup" of statutes governing employment in the United States, or another administrative burden and another set of potential legal liabilities for employers. There is, however, a web of legal, social and scientific influences behind the act that provide a noteworthy historical perspective on genetic testing. Looking forward, the potential interactions of GINA with various other statutes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)3 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)4 will present interesting challenges. It may be that a new "Bermuda Triangle" is in the making, the catchphrase given to the sometimes complex overlap of the ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Compensation statutes.Potential complications in the application of the act are reviewed here, preceded by a survey of historical reference points leading to its enactment.History of the ActWas GINA simply a successful democratic movement in Congress to add more employee protections in the workplace? Hardly. In 2007 the House passed the bill by a vote of 420 to 3, and in 2008 the Senate did so by 95 to 0. Was it a recently contrived attempt to make government seem ahead of the scientific curve by legislating the use of genetic information? Again, hardly. GINA has been at least 13 years in the making, being first introduced in 1995.In her remarks to Congress in support of GINA in 2007 Senator Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, described this as an action to "prevent discrimination before it has taken firm hold . . . . For in the past Congress has had to act to address existing discrimination. But today we are acting proactively to address genetic bias, before discrimination becomes entrenched."5 To the extent that these comments were interpreted to suggest that genetic bias had not yet occurred, quite the opposite is true. Rather, dramatic events have taken place over the last century that have a rightful place in the history of genetic testing laws. [To read the entire article, go to: [

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coalition Files Legal Challenge, Puts Connerly on Notice as SOS Results Released

Photos of volunteers at work available!!!For Immediate Release: August 18, 2008
For More Information:
Kyrsten Sinema, Chair
Sarah Luna, Communications Manager

Coalition Files Legal Challenge, Puts Connerly on Notice as SOS Results Released
Credits Massive Volunteer Effort for Gathering Evidence to Stop Connerly

(Phoenix) At a Press Conference outside the office of the Arizona Secretary of State, Protect Arizona’s Freedom today announced its legal challenge to the validity of over 100,000 signatures based on evidence of 13 categories of fraudulent and illegal signature-gathering tactics compiled by a massive statewide volunteer effort. The PAF signatures challenged by the PAF complaint are separate from those expected to be invalidated by the AZ Secretary of State based exclusively on voter registration.

“The fraudulent and deceptive signature-gathering tactics brought into Arizona by Connerly have had a far-reaching impact on the ballot process generally in our state and a number of propositions have been tossed,” said PAF Chair Kyrsten Sinema. “We’ve been talking for months about Connerly and the underhanded tactics used by the Georgia National Ballot Access firm in state after state so it comes as no big surprise.”

Over the past couple of weeks close to 1,000 volunteers sat side-by-side, day after day, 24-7, in their ‘war room’ in downtown Phoenix reviewing petitions for the so-called Arizona Civil Rights Initiative. Boxes of petitions flanked Sinema and the plaintiffs by her side at the press conference to underscore the monumental task undertaken by volunteers.
“Once citizens understood the impact of the Connerly Initiative on valued Arizona programs and the tactics used by outsiders to push it on us a groundswell of opposition developed with people eager to help. We file this complaint today with the strength of our coalition and the evidence compiled and confidently serve notice on Mr. Connerly that if he chooses to continue his efforts, he will lose,” Sinema concluded.

Turning the Tables on Affirmative Action Foes

Inside Higher Ed
August 18, 2008

Defenders of affirmative action have learned — as ballot measures to bar its use by public colleges spread from state to state — how to win support from educators, business leaders and politicians. But they’ve yet to marshal a majority of state voters to reject one of the measures.
This fall — with measures to ban public colleges from the use of race, ethnicity and gender in admissions and hiring expected on the ballots in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska — supporters of affirmative action have come up with a new approach to try in Colorado. They are attempting to place their own measure on the ballot: a proposal to affirm that it is illegal for public colleges and other state agencies to use quotas or formal point systems based only on race or ethnicity, but then goes on to say that affirmative action permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court should continue to be allowed.
The strategy — which has infuriated backers of Ward Connerly, whose group organized of the referendums in Colorado and elsewhere — is to try to take away one of his most potent weapons: discussion of quotas. Many polls show that public support for affirmative action is weakest if it is linked to quotas and strongest if linked to outreach programs. With this strategy, backers of affirmative action say they can be as anti-quota as Connerly, and change the discussion.
“There is a genuine concern about the use of quotas in higher education — whether it’s happening or not. It’s not supposed to be happening, but many people obviously think that it is, so we’ll agree that it shouldn’t be happening,” said Melissa Hart, an associate professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the president of Coloradans for Equal Opportunity, the group pushing the anti-quota, pro-affirmative action referendum.
The group has submitted what it says are more than enough valid petitions to get on the fall ballot, and a ruling by the Secretary of State’s office on the petitions is expected early next month. If it reaches the ballot, voters could approve it or the anti-affirmative action measure, approve both or reject both. If both are approved, an unusual legal battle could emerge. For now, this tactic appears to be changing the nature of the debate somewhat in Colorado and if this tactic succeeds, it is likely to be used elsewhere.
Hart said that the strategy arose out of recognition that the anti-affirmative action forces have been winning — in part by associating affirmative action with quotas. She noted, for example, that when John McCain was asked if he would vote to ban affirmative action in Arizona, the Republican presidential candidate said he would because “I do not believe in quotas.” Supporters of affirmative action have long argued that they don’t believe in quotas either, but Hart said that message gets lost. ...
Corry predicted that once voters understand that the alternative measure would preserve affirmative action in many forms, they will reject it. “Overwhelmingly, Americans believe that’s wrong,” she said.
Outside of Colorado, the new strategy to defend affirmative action is being watched carefully. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has provided some financial backing for the effort. And Shirley Wilcher, executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, called the Colorado strategy “a fascinating approach.” She said that critics of all affirmative action make “a not-so-subtle misrepresentation of current law” to imply that quotas remain legal. “I think this will help voters understand,” she said. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Report Released on Affirmative Action in Public Discourse

feminist wire daily newsbriefs
August 15, 2008
Report Released on Affirmative Action in Public Discourse

A new report analyzes the impact media has in framing the current affirmative action debates and generally concludes that media portrayals are often biased and misinformed. The report was released by The Opportunity Agenda and is entitled "Affirmative Action in the Public Discourse: Media Content and Opinion Analysis".Among other findings, the report shows "that the media has skillfully crafted affirmative action messages that imply these programs are no longer useful", "that media pieces consistently fail to acknowledge the consequences and negative effects a ban on affirmative action would have on people of color", and that "current media framing makes a ban on affirmative action seem not only inconsequential, but inevitable." Public opinion as measured by various sources indicates that though many Americans are ambivalent about affirmative action, very few believe such programs should be discontinued at this point.In the November elections, statutes that would effectively ban affirmative action programs to affirmatively counter discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and ethnicity will be on the ballot in Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska. Anti-affirmative action measures were proposed but will not be on the ballot in Oklahoma and Missouri. The recommendations of the report aim to "create a big enough groundswell of opposition to defeat the initiatives" by showing that "discrimination still exists", "affirmative action policies are not divisive", and that "policies that take account of race are still necessary." Unfortunately, the report focuses mostly on issues of race. If passed, these state bans will also impact women negatively, particularly in relation to public education, public employment, and public contracting.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

EEOC Charged that TSS Failed to Promote African Americans to Managerial Positions
August 5, 2008
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that Tobacco Superstores, Inc. (TSS) will pay $425,000 and provide significant remedial relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit on behalf of qualified black workers who were denied promotion to management.
The EEOC’s lawsuit (Case No. 3:05 CV 00218) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jonesboro Division, was filed on behalf of Theresa Sharkey and a class of African Americans in Arkansas and Mississippi. In addition to rejecting the class of workers for promotion because of their race, the suit also alleged that Sharkey was forced to resign because of the company’s failure to promote her. Race discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In addition to the monetary relief for the class of aggrieved individuals, the three-year consent decree settling the case also enjoins TSS from denying promotions to African American employees because of their race and from engaging in retaliation. The decree also requires TSS – which operates retail stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi – to:
Provide training to all managers and supervisors on preventing race discrimination and retaliation;
Create job descriptions for manager and assistant manager positions that outline the qualifications for each position;
Develop a written promotion policy that will include the procedures by which employees will be notified of promotional opportunities;
Report assistant manager and manager vacancies, the name and race of all applicants for the position, and the name of the successful candidate;
Report the names of all African Americans who are either hired or promoted to manager or assistant manager positions; and
Report any complaints of race discrimination and describe its investigation in response to the complaint.
“On July 2, we observed the 44th anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, yet race discrimination still remains a persistent problem in today’s contemporary workplace,” said Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and Northern Mississippi. “The EEOC urges employers to be vigilant in guarding against race discrimination in all aspects of employment.”
Celia Liner, the EEOC attorney who led the federal government’s litigation effort, added, “All employees should have the freedom to compete for promotions on a fair and level playing field, without regard to race. We are pleased that there are now effective procedures in place at this company to ensure that promotional opportunities are based on qualifications, not race.”
On Feb. 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp launched the Commission's E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment), a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace. Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at
In Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 30,510 charge filings alleging race-based discrimination, an increase of 12% from the prior year and the highest level in more than a decade. Historically, race discrimination has accounted for the most frequent type of charge filing with EEOC offices nationwide.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information
about the EEOC is available on its web site at

North Carolina Officials Struggle Over Educating Undocumented Immigrants

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Associated Press
Aug 15, 2008, 13:37
In a state where the commitment to higher education extends all the way back to the founding of the nation's first public university in 1789, North Carolina's community colleges just can't seem to get past the politics of illegal immigration.
North Carolina's Board of Community Colleges recently approved an independent study on the issues surrounding the admission of undocumented students into the North Carolina Community College System.
Four times since 2000, the nation's third-largest system of community colleges has changed its policy on students who are undocumented immigrants. Most recently, the system in May adopted the most restrictive policy in the country and barred undocumented immigrants from admission to its degree programs.
During an official hearing, System President Scott Ralls voiced his belief in the open door policy that has been the basis of student admissions for decades in North Carolina. Recognizing the complexity of current admission debate, Ralls said, ¡° ¡­ it is possible to craft policies to support our open door philosophy while also addressing many of the concerns expressed by North Carolinians regarding the admission of illegal immigrants.¡± He added that while future Federal or State action is unknown, ¡°enacting any policies regarding the issue of admission of illegal immigrants clearly lies within your authority.
North Carolina's system of 58 community colleges serves roughly 800,000 students, or about one out of every 11 of the state's residents. Only Texas and California, states with populations more than twice the size, run larger systems.
Only a tiny fraction of the North Carolina students ¨D 112 at last count ¨D are undocumented immigrants. Former system president Martin Lancaster has staunchly defended the decision to admit such students, arguing they are unlikely to leave the state and therefore will be part of its work force. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Connerly group refuses to name donors
By: Matthew Hansen , Midlands News Service

The out-of-state group bankrolling the campaign to ban affirmative action in Nebraska refuses to divulge the names of its biggest donors. That decision by California businessman Ward Connerly and his American Civil Rights Coalition ignores the written opinion of Nebraska's campaign finance commission.It undercuts the state's disclosure laws, which are meant to shine light into a corner of the political process and allow the public to follow the flow of money, campaign finance experts say.But because of a loophole in state law, that secrecy might be perfectly legal.The result: Donors behind roughly 83 percent of the $609,350 the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative has received are anonymous."I think it's a major problem,'' said Robert Stern, a campaign finance expert at the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. "Part of the idea is to know who is ultimately funding the campaign, and in this case Nebraska doesn't know.''State law requires out-of-state organizations pouring large amounts of money into a campaign to identify individual donors who have given them more than $200.But Connerly and the American Civil Rights Coalition appear to have worked around that requirement in part by creating a second group, called Super Tuesday for Equal Rights, which donates money to the Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona campaigns to ban affirmative action.A campaign statement filed with the state this week says Super Tuesday for Equal Rights has received almost $2.1 million -- roughly 99 percent of its total donations -- from the American Civil Rights Coalition.The other 1 percent comes from a list of 38 individual contributors, including a Texas doctor, a Michigan dentist, a University of Arkansas professor and several Florida retirees who donated a total of $24,900.This arrangement might allow large donors to the American Civil Rights Coalition to remain nameless because they are two steps removed from donating to the Nebraska campaign -- even though they ultimately fund the majority of that campaign.The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission sent the California group an advisory opinion in March stating that the donors of both groups should be revealed.Since then, the commission has sent the California groups several letters requesting clarification of their organizational structure and donor records. The groups have responded through their attorney Don Stenberg, the former Nebraska attorney general, arguing that they are complying with Nebraska law.Frank Daley, executive director of the Accountability and Disclosure Commission, said he remains uncertain about the legality of moving money through a second group in order to keep donors to the first group anonymous. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

U of I's Mason to require sexual harassment training for all

Des Moines Register
August 13, 2008

University of Iowa President Sally Mason sent a message to faculty and staff this afternoon to say that all of them will now be required to go through sexual harassment training.The training had previously been limited to supervisors.
Mason’s message came on the heels of a University of Iowa political science professor being charged with soliciting sexual favors from female students in exchange for higher grades negotiated grades. Arthur H. Miller, 66, of Iowa City, is on paid leave pending an internal investigation.Mason said in the message, “While every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence, I want to state strongly and unequivocally that such conduct will not be tolerated. It is profoundly damaging to the students and to the educational process.”

Drug Use Not Grounds for Disability Denial

Workforce Management
August 7, 2008
Drug Use Not Grounds for Disability Denial

An employee may be entitled to temporary total disability compensation even though she tested positive for cocaine use while on a Family and Medical Leave Act absence, an Ohio appeals court ruled Thursday, July 31.
The decision by the 10th District Court of Appeals in State of Ohio ex relatione Alice M. Bogan v. Industrial Commission of Ohio and Tomasco Mulciber Inc. overturned a state Industrial Commission finding.
The commission had ruled that Bogan “voluntarily abandoned her employment” by violating an employee-handbook prohibition against the use of illegal drugs in the workplace or reporting to work under their influence. Therefore, the commission said, Bogan was not entitled to disability compensation.
But on appeal, a magistrate appointed by the appeals court found no evidence that Bogan used drugs on her employer’s property or was working when she tested positive. The magistrate ruled that the Industrial Commission abused its discretion by denying the temporary total disability compensation. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Appeals Court Reverses Decision that Boeing's Mesa Plant Did Not Engage in Sex Harassment

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
August 5, 2008
Ninth Circuit Returns EEOC Lawsuit to Lower Court for Trial in Arizona

PHOENIX – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a decision by a lower court which had concluded that The Boeing Company did not engage in unlawful sexual harassment or retaliation at its plant in Mesa, Ariz. The court of appeals returned the case to Arizona for trial.
In the lawsuit (EEOC v. The Boeing Company, CV-03-1210-PHX-PGR), the EEOC seeks relief on behalf of Kelley Miles, a female mechanic who works on the Apache helicopter that Boeing manufactures for the U.S. Army. Miles works at Boeing’s facility in Mesa.
In the appellate decision (EEOC v. The Boeing Company, No. 05-17386, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, July 31, 2008), the court of appeals reversed the district court’s decision because it concluded that there exist triable issues of fact as to whether Miles was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her sex, whether Boeing adequately responded to her complaints, and whether Boeing retaliated against Miles for complaining of the harassment.
The court of appeals concluded that, based on the evidence, a reasonable jury could infer that Miles was subject to sexual harassment by her co-workers. According to the court, “Miles and others testified that, from 1998 to 2001, Miles was the target of offensive and sexual language, as well as physical advances by a male co-worker, and that male co-workers interfered with various aspects of her work.”
The court of appeals also concluded that the EEOC raised triable issues of fact as to whether Boeing adequately responded to Miles’ complaints of harassment. The court noted that, although Boeing terminated one offending male employee and disciplined another, “a reasonable jury could find that these two employees were part of a much larger problem with respect to Miles’ treatment.” According to the court, there was evidence that the employee who was eventually terminated had been transferred into Miles’s department because he had repeatedly harassed other female employees. The court added that evidence also existed showing that the harassment continued even after Boeing took its initial measures, and the company knew or should have known that the problems were continuing.
Finally, the court of appeals concluded that there existed triable issues of fact on the EEOC’s retaliation claim because events occurring after Miles complained of the harassment could cause a reasonable jury to conclude that Miles was subject to an ongoing hostile work environment, and that Boeing knew or should have known about it.
The case has been remanded to a United States District Judge in Arizona for trial.
“The EEOC is gratified by the decision of the Ninth Circuit on appeal,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the Phoenix District Office. “We are very appreciative of the great work done by our Appellate Services Division in Washington, particularly appellate attorney Jim Tucker. We look forward to presenting the details of Ms. Miles’ treatment at trial.”
EEOC Phoenix District Director Chester Bailey added, “Studies have shown that female employees are often subjected to harassment when they work in non-traditional settings. Such harassment often has the effect of driving female employees out of non- traditional workplaces, which generally offer higher wages than those offered to women performing traditionally female jobs.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Survey Reveals Alarming Lack of Generational Workplace Interaction

Workforce Management
It doesn’t necessarily call for mentoring of younger workers by older workers, but rather collaboration on projects in which older and younger workers feel as if they’re both contributing to business goals. By Mark Larson

There won’t be a skilled-worker shortage as baby boomers retire, a recent study says, but there will be a lack of talent if there isn’t more collaboration between workforce generations than currently exists.
Atlanta-based Randstad USA’s annual 2008 World of Work survey found that the four generations now in the U.S. workforce—Generation X, Generation Y, baby boomers and "matures" (those born 1900 to 1945)—rarely interact with one another.
That lack of communication, the study found, is keeping key institutional job knowledge held by the boomer generation from filtering down to younger workers.
The isolation among workforce generations is credited to a lack of recognition of the others’ skills or work ethic. According to the Census Bureau, the Gen Y’ers in today’s workforce—born 1980 to 1988—total 79.8 million, which outnumber the baby boomers, or those who were born 1946 to 1964. Those boomers, which total 78.5 million people, are considered the keepers of the institutional job knowledge in companies across the nation.
Randstad conducted the U.S. survey in December and January among 3,494 adults, 1,295 of whom were employers and 2,199 were employees. Employees came from businesses with at least five staffers. Employers sampled were involved in human resources strategies at their companies for at least six months.
Given this scenario, businesses are faced with cultivating more interaction among generations in their workforce, says Eric Buntin, managing director of marketing and operations for Randstad. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

In a Generation, Minorities May Be the U.S. Majority

The New York Times
August 13, 2008

Ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population in a little more than a generation, according to new Census Bureau projections, a transformation that is occurring faster than anticipated just a few years ago.
The census calculates that by 2042, Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Four years ago, officials had projected the shift would come in 2050.
The main reason for the accelerating change is significantly higher birthrates among immigrants. Another factor is the influx of foreigners, rising from about 1.3 million annually today to more than 2 million a year by midcentury, according to projections based on current immigration policies.
“No other country has experienced such rapid racial and ethnic change,” said Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization in Washington.
The latest figures, which are being released on Thursday, are predicated on current and historical trends, which can be thrown awry by several variables, including prospective overhauls of immigration policies and sudden increases in refugees.
A decade ago, census demographers estimated that the nation’s population, which topped 300 million in 2006, would not surpass 400 million until sometime after midcentury. Now, they are projecting that the population will top 400 million in 2039 and reach 439 million in 2050.
So-called minorities, the Census Bureau projects, will constitute a majority of the nation’s children under 18 by 2023 and of working-age Americans by 2039.
For the first time, both the number and the proportion of non-Hispanic whites, who now account for 66 percent of the population, will decline, starting around 2030. By 2050, their share will dip to 46 percent.
Higher mortality rates among older native-born white Americans and higher birthrates rates among immigrants and their children are already driving ethnic and racial disparities.
“A momentum is built into this as a result of past immigration,” said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. “In the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, there were more Hispanic immigrants than births. This decade, there are more births than immigrants. Almost regardless of what you assume about future immigration, the country will be more Hispanic and Asian.”
With the Census Bureau forecasting even more immigrants, other demographers estimate that the proportion of foreign-born Americans, now about 12 percent, could surpass the 1910 historic high of nearly 15 percent by about 2025 and may approach 20 percent in 2050.
According to the new forecast, by 2050, the number of Hispanic people will nearly triple, to 133 million from 47 million, to account for 30 percent of Americans, compared with 15 percent today.
People who say they are Asian, with their ranks soaring to 41 million from 16 million, will make up more than 9 percent of the population, up from 5 percent.
More than three times as many people are expected to identify themselves as multiracial — 16 million, accounting for nearly 4 percent of the population.
The population of people who define themselves a black is projected to rise to 66 million from 41 million, but increase its overall share by barely two percentage points, to 15 percent. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Minorities Often a Majority of the Population Under 20

The New York Times
Aaugust 6, 2008

Foreshadowing the nation’s changing makeup, one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population, according to analyses of census figures released Thursday.
Racial and ethnic minorities now account for 43 percent of Americans under 20. Among people of all ages, minorities make up at least 40 percent of the population in more than one in six of the nation’s 3,141 counties.
The latest population changes by race, ethnicity and age, as of July 1, 2007, were generally marginal compared with the year before. But they confirm the breadth of the nation’s diversity, and suggest that minorities — now about a third of the population — might constitute a majority of all Americans even sooner than projected by census demographers, in 2050.
In 2000, black, Hispanic and Asian children under age 20 were at or near a majority in only about one-fifth of the counties and, over all, blacks, Hispanics and Asians accounted for 40 percent or more of the population in about one in seven counties.
Even with the growing diversity, all but one of the 82 counties where blacks make up a majority are in the South (except St. Louis), all but two of the 46 where Hispanics are in the majority are in the South or the West (except the Bronx and Seward, Kan., home to giant meatpacking plants), and four of the five counties with the largest proportion of Asians are in Hawaii (San Francisco rounds out the top five with 33 percent). [To read the entire story, go to: ]

3 States to Consider Affirmative Action Ban

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Associated Press
Aug 6, 2008, 18:38

With one brief criticism of affirmative action, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has brought new attention to ballot issues aimed at dismantling preferential treatment programs for women and minorities.
The question is whether McCain's support for one of those initiatives, in his home state Arizona, will make any difference.
Ward Connerly, the former University of California regent who is bankrolling the Arizona initiative and similar measures in Nebraska and Colorado, said he hasn't seen any increase in donations or Republican supporters flocking to his cause since McCain spoke up last month.
"We're of course delighted to have the senator's support," Connerly said. "As to whether it translates to any positive or negative effect on us, I don't think so."
McCain's comments also have drawn critics who pointed to comments he made a decade ago calling similar measures "divisive."
The ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska call for amending the state constitutions to ban any hiring practices, university scholarships and other public programs that favor one group over others. Arizona and Nebraska officials are still verifying petition signatures while Colorado has the initiative slated for the November ballot.
Connerly's group, the American Civil Rights Initiative, already has been successful with similar initiatives in California, Washington and Michigan. And he plans to continue four years from now in other states.
Ultimately, Connerly said, "the goal is to try to get either the Supreme Court or the Congress to get the policy changed at the national level."
Connerly said his ballot initiatives would attack programs like the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program in Tucson. It allows minority and women-owned businesses to bid more for city contracts than other groups and requires prime contractors to make a serious effort to hire them for work.
"Those clearly would be outlawed," Connerly said of the Tucson program. "Any standards that are applied to groups based on race. Any jobs where there are different standards for admissions." [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Higher-Education Bill Would Bring Benefits to Disabled Students

The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 6, 2007

Washington — Tucked inside the vast bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act that now awaits President Bush’s signature are several provisions designed to improve disabled students’ access to higher education.
The bill would, for the first time, allow students with intellectual disabilities to receive some types of federal aid: Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and work-study assistance. Under some circumstances, for example, mentally retarded students in formal transition or living-skills programs would now qualify for federal financial aid.
The bill would also establish two national entities to support students with disabilities — a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students With Disabilities, and an Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials. In addition, the bill would support “model demonstration programs” to improve the quality of instructional materials and to allow colleges and universities to collaborate in their development.
Under current regulations, former students who struggle to pay off educational loans because they are disabled must, to get those loans discharged, demonstrate that their conditions will result in death or last indefinitely. The new bill, however, would allow loans to be discharged if a borrower’s condition is expected to last at least five years. [To read the entire article, go to: ]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Access Denied

Inside Higher Ed
August 6, 2008

In a discrimination case that is still crawling through the Louisiana court system after seven years, McNeese State University’s president has asserted that it is not a “high priority” for disabled students to access the university’s student union.
The case, which stems from a 2001 accident, was brought by a student who — while in a wheelchair — was injured trying to pry open a bathroom door in the union. The door was not made accessible for disabled people, according to the suit.
In a 2005 deposition, McNeese President Robert Hebert acknowledged that the institution was “not in 100 percent compliance” with the Americans With Disabilities Act. With limited funding, McNeese has had to make tough choices about how to spend its money on federal compliance, he said. This being the case, Hebert said, academic buildings have reasonably taken priority over the student union, which houses offices, cafeterias, and the student newspaper, among other services.
“Whether or not it’s fundamental for [disabled students] to get into that student union annex or that it’s fundamentally important for them to obtain an education, I would question that,” Hebert said in the deposition, which is now making the rounds on Youtube. “I’m not sure I would regard it as a high priority.”
Under the harshest interpretation, Hebert’s words could mean that he simply doesn’t view giving disabled students an “education” as a “high priority.” In the broader context of his deposition, however, Hebert noted that McNeese was confronted with something of a Sophie’s Choice. Forced to choose between making classrooms accessible and making the union accessible, he said, McNeese chose the classrooms. Whether McNeese lacked the funds to do both, however, is disputed in the lawsuit.
Asked to clarify or expound upon his remarks, Hebert responded in an e-mail Tuesday:
“Accessibility to all facilities is important, but accessibility to academic buildings is critical for classroom instruction,” he wrote. “We have made great progress toward making the campus accessible to all students, employees and visitors. It is, and will be, an ongoing project and one that we take very seriously.”
As of Tuesday, however, the lone women’s restroom in the student union was still not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act — seven years after a student was injured there.
The law does not require that every bathroom in a building constructed prior to the act’s 1990 passage meet the standards, but it does require that all services and programs be made available to disabled people. [To view the entire article, go to: ]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
August 4, 2008

After Judge Finds Company Liable and Dismisses Defense, Video Only Settles EEOC Suit

PORTLAND, Ore. – Home electronics retailer Video Only will pay $630,000 and implement preventative measures to settle two discrimination lawsuits, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. Judge Garr M. King of the U.S. District Court in Portland signed the Consent Decree approving the settlement.
According to the EEOC's suit (Civil Case No. 06-1362-KI in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon), two employees of Video Only’s Jantzen Beach store in Portland -- Michael Gonzales, a Hispanic, and Jayson Lewis, an African American whose fiancée and two young children are Jewish -- faced repeated slurs and jokes about their race, national origin, and religion. The abuse included use of the “N–word” by management; the telling of racially offensive “jokes”; use of the epithet “beaner”; and a doll with its hair and face painted black that was hog-tied and hung by a nail in the break room.
The EEOC also alleged that the company retaliated against Gonzales and Lewis after they reported the harass­ment by, among other things, hiring a private investigator to gather information in an effort to discredit their harassment claims. Company officials also confronted co-workers who supported the complain­ants by telling them they were hurting the company and trying to get them to quit, the EEOC charged.
The EEOC and the employees took the unusual step of filing pretrial papers seeking a ruling against the company and, on June 11, 2008, Judge King ruled that Video Only had indeed unlawfully retaliated against Lewis and Gonzales. In finding for the EEOC and the discrimina­tion victims, the court said the company had called for a private investigation because of Gonzales’s and Lewis’s
complaints and “for no other reason.” The court also knocked down a cornerstone of Video Only’s defense, finding as a matter of law that Video Only failed to exercise reasonable care to promptly correct the harassment.
All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Gonzales and Lewis will be awarded $500,000 of the total $630,000 settlement. The remaining $130,000 resolved a related suit to which EEOC was not a party. The related suit alleged retaliation against Travis Herron and Dave Guralnick, two other Jantzen Beach employees who spoke out on behalf of Gonzales and Lewis.
In addition to the monetary settlement, Video Only agreed to implement anti-discrimin­ation policies and procedures in its work force. The company will provide anti-discrimination training to all management and non-management employees in Oregon and at its headquarters store in Seattle-Southcenter. The company will also provide periodic reports to EEOC on its compliance with the terms of the consent decree. The Oregon court will have jurisdiction to enforce the EEOC’s settlement for the next three years.
“Our investigation discovered harassment that engaged in the worst stereotypes and slurs about Blacks, Latinos and Jews, and that upper management actively participated in this behavior,” said EEOC Acting District Director Mike Baldonado. “This is a major victory for Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Lewis, the employees who testified on their behalf and future employees at Video Only. The settlement should send a strong message that harassment based on race, national origin and religion has no place in the workplace, and that those who speak out against discrimination are protected by law from retaliation.”
EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo added, “The kind of heavy-handed intimi­dation Video Only employed led us to seek a pre-trial ruling. The court’s June 11 finding affirms EEOC’s position that retaliation designed to frighten employees from reporting or testifying about discrimination violates the law. These employees should be recognized for their courage in stepping forward,”
Video Only, Inc. sells home entertainment video and audio equipment. The corporation has 18 stores located in Washington, California, and Oregon and has its headquarters in Seattle.
On Feb. 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp launched the Commission's E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment), a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace. Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at

House Approves Five-Year Extension of E-Verify

Workforce Management
August 1, 2008

In a year when political gridlock has halted most immigration legislation, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday, July 31, that would extend for five years a controversial government-run electronic employee verification system.
Although the measure passed 407-2 under special House rules that required at least a two-thirds majority, the final outcome doesn’t signal widespread agreement on the issue.
Many Democrats and some Republicans want to overhaul or junk E-Verify. Most Republicans and some conservative Democrats praise it for helping reduce the “jobs magnet” that fosters illegal immigration—and want to make it permanent and mandatory for all employers.
Democratic leaders and Republicans agreed that there is not enough time left in this year’s congressional session for the wider verification debate.
In the meantime, the current system, which was set to expire in November, will remain in place for five years. That’s a decrease from the original reauthorization, which called for 10 years. Congress can make changes to the program at any point within that time frame.
It’s not clear when the Senate will address the issue. A group of 12 Republican senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on July 29 asking him to send a straightforward E-Verify reauthorization bill to the floor. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

House OKs Pay Discrimination Bill Ushering in Punitive, Compensatory Damages

Workforce Management
August 1, 2008

Women who are victims of pay discrimination could sue for unlimited punitive and compensatory damages under a bill approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday, July 31.
The measure, which updates a mid-1960s law prohibiting wage disparities between men and women performing the same job, has drawn a veto threat from the White House. It passed by a 247-178 vote in the House. Its prospects in the Senate are unclear.
Under the bill, a company that pays women at a different rate than men would have to prove the practice is based on a business necessity.
Wage comparisons between men and women could be made at business operations within the same county. In addition, the bill would permit workers to share pay information and prohibit employers from banning such discussions from the office.
It also would establish Department of Labor grants for “negotiation skills training programs for girls and women.”
The bill could significantly increase penalties for businesses that are found to pay men more than women. The unlimited damages apply even if the discrimination is unintentional. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, damages are capped at $300,000.
The House approved an amendment, 397-29, that would require a plaintiff show an employer intentionally discriminated in order to collect punitive damages.The increased exposure of businesses to pay lawsuits stoked Bush administration opposition.
The bill “would make enforcement of [anti-discrimination] laws more difficult and error-prone and invite a surge of litigation,” said a White House policy statement. “It also would encourage discrimination claims to be made based on factors unrelated to actual pay discrimination by allowing pay comparisons between potentially different labor markets.” [To see the entire story, go to: ]

Keys to Hiring Women in Science

Inside Higher Ed
August 5, 2008

Campuses are full of both success stories and horror stories about the recruitment of women to positions in science and engineering departments. There are search committee chairs convinced that they know what worked — and would-be professors who never bothered applying for positions because they didn’t feel welcome.
Two sociologists who want to push the discussion beyond anecdotes and individual preferences think they have found evidence of steps that do make a difference in the recruitment of women for science faculty jobs. Specifically, they urge a focus on efforts to increase the pool of female applicants, and the importance of having a woman serve on the search committee.
The sociologists — Christy M. Glass of Utah State University and Krista Lynn Minnotte of the University of North Dakota, who presented findings this weekend in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association — based their analysis on confidential reviews of all of the science, mathematics and engineering searches at a Western doctoral-granting university over a five-year period. They were able to track what happened to 3,245 applicants for 63 positions — and included all applicants except those whose gender was not clear from name or biographical information.
In some respects, their analysis found a clear willingness to hire women. The university offered jobs to 5.6 percent of female applicants, compared to only 2.9 percent of male applicants. But because 84.8 percent of all applicants were male, and because female applicants who were offered jobs were more likely to turn them down, the authors write that it is key to identify the factors that work for women.
Searches that included advertisements or postings in publications focused on women in science attracted far more female applicants than did comparable searches that did not engage in such recruitment strategies. Men appear to have an “information advantage” in finding out about openings, said Minnotte, so steps that balance that have an impact on attracting female candidates.
Attracting female candidates is important because search committees were much more likely to move women to the finalist stage when there were many women in the pool than when there were just a few.
Another strategy discussed was having at least one woman on a search committee. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Temple U.'s Past Policy Violated Free-Speech Rights, Appeals Court Says

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that a sexual-harassment policy that Temple University abandoned early last year was unconstitutionally broad and violated students' freedom of expression.
The Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit—upholding a district court's March 2007 decision—said the university's policy could have stopped its students from making legally protected speech. The case was brought two and a half years ago by a former Temple graduate student, Christian M. DeJohn, who said his conservative views were unwelcome at the university.
The policy's definition of sexual harassment, the appeals court wrote, was "sufficiently broad and subjective" that it "could include 'core' political and religious speech, such as gender politics and sexual morality." The court said the policy had no test to differentiate between speech that was merely "offensive" or "hostile" and speech that actually resulted in a hostile work environment.
The decision has no immediate effect because Temple had revised its sexual-harassment policy shortly before the case went to trial. But the conservative legal-advocacy group that filed the suit on behalf of Mr. DeJohn, the Alliance Defense Fund, called the decision a victory against university-sponsored discrimination.
"Christian and conservative students shouldn't fear discrimination or censorship by university officials simply for expressing their beliefs," said Nate Kellum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, in a written statement. "The university is a 'marketplace of ideas' where all viewpoints are welcomed, and this significant ruling makes that clear." [To see the entire story, go to: ] Subscription required.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with at least 15 employees, as well as employment agencies and unions, from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against persons who complain of discrimination or participate in an EEO investigation. With respect to religion, Title VII prohibits:
treating applicants or employees differently based on their religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – in any aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, assignments, discipline, promotion, and benefits (disparate treatment);
subjecting employees to harassment because of their religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – or because of the religious practices or beliefs of people with whom they associate (e.g., relatives, friends, etc.);
denying a requested reasonable accommodation of an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – if an accommodation will not impose more than a de minimis cost or burden on business operations; 1 and,
retaliating against an applicant or employee who has engaged in protected activity, including participation (e.g., filing an EEO charge or testifying as a witness in someone else’s EEO matter), or opposition to religious discrimination (e.g., complaining to human resources department about alleged religious discrimination).
The following questions and answers were adapted from EEOC’s Compliance Manual Section on Religious Discrimination, available at, which contains more detailed guidance, legal citations, case examples, and best practices. It is designed to be a practical resource for employers, employees, practitioners, and EEOC enforcement staff on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination, and provides guidance on how to balance the needs of individuals in a diverse religious climate.
1. What is “religion” under Title VII?
Title VII protects all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief and defines religion very broadly for purposes of determining what the law covers. For purposes of Title VII, religion includes not only traditional, organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others. An employee’s belief or practice can be “religious” under Title VII even if the employee is affiliated with a religious group that does not espouse or recognize that individual’s belief or practice, or if few – or no – other people adhere to it. Title VII’s protections also extend to those who are discriminated against or need accommodation because they profess no religious beliefs.
Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs (i.e. those that include a belief in God) as well as non-theistic “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” Although courts generally resolve doubts about particular beliefs in favor of finding that they are religious, beliefs are not protected merely because they are strongly held. Rather, religion typically concerns “ultimate ideas” about “life, purpose, and death.” Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not “religious” beliefs protected by Title VII.
Religious observances or practices include, for example, attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression, or refraining from certain activities. Whether a practice is religious depends on the employee’s motivation. The same practice might be engaged in by one person for religious reasons and by another person for purely secular reasons (e.g., dietary restrictions, tattoos, etc.).
Discrimination based on religion within the meaning of Title VII could include, for example: not hiring an otherwise qualified applicant because he is a self-described evangelical Christian; a Jewish supervisor denying a promotion to a qualified non-Jewish employee because the supervisor wishes to give a preference based on religion to a fellow Jewish employee; or, terminating an employee because he told the employer that he recently converted to the Baha’i Faith.
Similarly, requests for accommodation of a “religious” belief or practice could include, for example: a Catholic employee requesting a schedule change so that he can attend church services on Good Friday; a Muslim employee requesting an exception to the company’s dress and grooming code allowing her to wear her headscarf, or a Hindu employee requesting an exception allowing her to wear her bindi (religious forehead marking); an atheist asking to be excused from the religious invocation offered at the beginning of staff meetings; an adherent to Native American spiritual beliefs seeking unpaid leave to attend a ritual ceremony; or an employee who identifies as Christian but is not affiliated with a particular sect or denomination requests accommodation of his religious belief that working on his Sabbath is prohibited.
2. Are there any exceptions to who is covered by Title VII’s religion provisions?
Yes. While Title VII’s jurisdictional rules apply to all religious discrimination claims under the statute, see EEOC Compliance Manual, “Threshold Issues,”, specially-defined “religious organizations” and “religious educational institutions” are exempt from certain religious discrimination provisions, and a “ministerial exception” bars Title VII claims by employees who serve in clergy roles.
Religious Organization Exception: Under Title VII, religious organizations are permitted to give employment preference to members of their own religion. The exception applies only to those institutions whose “purpose and character are primarily religious.” Factors to consider that would indicate whether an entity is religious include: whether its articles of incorporation state a religious purpose; whether its day-to-day operations are religious (e.g., are the services the entity performs, the product it produces, or the educational curriculum it provides directed toward propagation of the religion?); whether it is not-for-profit; and whether it affiliated with, or supported by, a church or other religious organization.
This exception is not limited to religious activities of the organization. However, it only allows religious organizations to prefer to employ individuals who share their religion. The exception does not allow religious organizations otherwise to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Thus, a religious organization is not permitted to engage in racially discriminatory hiring by asserting that a tenet of its religious beliefs is not associating with people of other races.
Ministerial Exception: Courts have held that clergy members generally cannot bring claims under the federal employment discrimination laws, including Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This “ministerial exception” comes not from the text of the statutes, but from the First Amendment principle that governmental regulation of church administration, including the appointment of clergy, impedes the free exercise of religion and constitutes impermissible government entanglement with church authority. The exception applies only to employees who perform essentially religious functions, namely those whose primary duties consist of engaging in church governance, supervising a religious order, or conducting religious ritual, worship, or instruction. Some courts have made an exception for harassment claims where they concluded that analysis of the case would not implicate these constitutional constraints.
[To see the entire Questions and Answers, go to: ]