Thursday, February 28, 2008

Petition Hopes To Dismantle Affirmative Action

Protesters Hope To Defend State Constitutional Language
POSTED: 8:34 am CST February 27, 2008
UPDATED: 2:31 pm CST February 27, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. -- A renewed debate over affirmative action is finding a new battleground in Nebraska.
A petition is circulating that wants to change the state constitution's stance on discrimination and preferential treatment. Protesters said the language bans affirmative action.
Under fire are seven words in the state constitution: "Discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to." Anti-affirmative action advocates are circulating a petition for a ballot initiative that adds these words: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment public education or public contracting."

On Thursday, California businessman Ward Connerly, who is the man behind the proposal, will speak at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Dayton Headlee, the student leader who coordinated the event and chair of the Nebraska College Republicans, said the law allows other ways to help people who need it.
"It allows affirmative action, as it's titled to continue based on socioeconomic status and groups that have typically not been well represented," Headlee said. "Giving somebody a leg up always gives somebody else a leg down. (The proposal) removes discrimination by race or gender from the public sphere."
Protestors argued that the amendment would spell doom for University of Nebraska outreach and athletic programs that help develop minority youth. The opposition brought its own big names, including former Health and Human Service Secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan.

"We need to do everything to see that all of our citizens have the opportunity to develop their talents fully," Sullivan said.
Sullivan and his backers said affirmative action is not preferential treatment, but rather levels an unbalanced playing field.
"Affirmative action is necessary," said the American Association for Affirmative Action's Renee Dunman. "It prevents discrimination."
The Connerly petition needs about 115,000 signatures to make it on the November ballot.
Connerly is scheduled to speak at UNO's Milo Bail Center at 4 p.m. Thursday. Protesters said they will gather there an hour earlier.

Affirmative action dissected

By: Matthew Hansen , Midlands News Service

Two national activists landed in Nebraska on Tuesday, searching out voters and delivering starkly different arguments about the future of affirmative action.

Ward Connerly, the California businessman who's leading an effort to ban affirmative action-style practices in Nebraska and four other states, spoke to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students Tuesday night.Affirmative action isn't necessary in 2008, Connerly said, and demeans the racial minorities and women it's supposed to protect.Connerly's group is seeking to put a proposed constitutional amendment on November's ballot. If passed by voters, it would prohibit all consideration of race, ethnicity and gender in hiring and scholarship decisions made by public agencies such as the University of Nebraska.Pointing to the candidacy of Democrat Barack Obama, Connerly said in an interview: "We have a multiracial man selfidentified as black possibly becoming the next president of the United States. How can you argue that a place like Nebraska is institutionally racist, and therefore needs (affirmative action), when you have this kind of dynamic in the country?''

ReNee Dunman, president of the American Association for Affirmative Action, attended a rally at the Omaha Public Schools' headquarters at 30th and Cuming Streets on Tuesday afternoon.Affirmative action has helped women and minorities enter into traditionally white, male-dominated fields, she said, but the playing field remains uneven, and a government policy that promotes diversity remains a necessity."We've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot of progress to be made,'' Dunman said. "It's the duty of this country to break down barriers that still exist.''

Nebraska voters will likely hear both viewpoints for months to come.Connerly said he is certain that his organization, Super Tuesday for Equal Rights, will get the 115,000 signatures required to place the affirmative action proposal onto November's ballot.Similar ballot measures have passed in California, Washington and Michigan despite opposition from university leaders in each of those states.University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman have come out strongly against the proposed ban, saying it could damage NU's efforts to recruit minority students and endanger outreach programs that help Native Americans and Hispanic business owners.Connerly said that he's used to fighting against university leaders to enact affirmative action bans and that he doesn't expect Nebraska to be any different.Groups affiliated with Connerly are also trying to pass similar bans in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma this year.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


AAAA President ReNee Dunman Visits Omaha and Lincoln, NE February 25 - 28, 2008

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a national membership organization of equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action and diversity professionals, opposes the anti-affirmative action initiatives proposed by Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Institute, inter alia. AAAA President ReNee Dunman is visiting Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska on February 25 – 28, 2008 to discuss AAAA’s views on these so-called civil rights measures. Ms. Dunman will meet with community, higher education and civil rights organizations and will be available to speak with the press. “We are troubled by Mr. Connerly’s scorched-earth campaign to end equal opportunity in America,” said Ms. Dunman. “At a time when we are celebrating the most diverse group of candidates for the nation’s highest office, we are fighting to keep the doors of opportunity open.” AAAA plans to testify at the Public Hearing on LR233CA, before the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. in Lincoln, NE. To schedule an interview, please contact Shirley J. Wilcher, AAAA Executive Director, at 240-893-9475 or by email at Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmation Action (AAAA) is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA helps its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.


American Association for Affirmative Action
888 16th Street, NW,
Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

UC Berkeley Creates Multidisciplinary Chair For Equity and Inclusion

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Michelle J. Nealy
Feb 20, 2008, 21:56

The University of California, Berkeley has created a new $5 million faculty chair to further extend the university’s campus-wide initiative for equity and inclusion.
In addition to research and teaching, the new chair will help generate specific policy recommendations for business, government and communities that will draw on the strengths of diverse demographics and reduce ethnic and racial disparities in areas that include education, the workplace and health care.
The Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion is being established to honor Robert Haas, a UC Berkeley alumnus who recently stepped down as chief executive officer and chairman of San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co.
Dr. Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor of the university, says, “This chair will bring to the campus a world-class scholar who can work in partnership with Gibor Basri, the vice chancellor of equity and inclusion, to ensure that [racial and ethnic diversity] are defining and enduring elements of UC Berkeley’s institutional fabric.”
UC Berkeley is currently the least ethnically and racially diverse campus in the University of California system. Since the demise of affirmative action in 1996, nearly every university in the UC System has experienced steep declines in the admission rates of African-Americans students, particularly UC Berkeley — one of the most selective schools in the system.
In 2006, African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians combined made up only 14 percent of the entire undergraduate population. [To read the entire article, go to:]

Should Colleges Be Sued for Harboring Intolerance?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated February 22, 2008

Gregory A. Love, then a student at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, was beaten in 2002 with a baseball bat by a fellow student in a dormitory shower after Love made what his attacker perceived as a homosexual advance. The attacker was later convicted of aggravated assault and battery.
Love sued Morehouse, arguing that the all-male, historically black institution was liable for his injuries because it had fostered intolerance toward gay students and had "consistently fail[ed] to address complaints of homophobia" and harassment.
Status: In a decision last October, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's dismissal of Love's case. The appellate court held that Love's claims, if supported by evidence, could entitle him to damages from Morehouse. The case will go to trial in the coming months.
Implications for higher education: As landowners, all colleges and universities must take reasonable steps to protect those on their premises against foreseeable threats to their safety. This case takes a hoary principle of negligence law — that if you turn a blind eye to a problem, you may find yourself liable for the consequences — and applies it to a modern concern: the treatment of gay students.
Love claims that Morehouse officials created, or at best willfully ignored, "an atmosphere of hatred and violence" toward gay people or those perceived to be gay. Heterosexuals at Morehouse, he told the court, enjoy "an atmosphere of entitlement and security in knowing that administration, faculty, and staff will neither punish nor reprimand offenders for acts of harassment or intolerance" against gay students.
To Morehouse, this case is not about campus safety, but rather about whether a college can be summoned into court for failing to promote what it calls a "social agenda of tolerance." "[W]hile a college owes a duty of reasonable care to its students," Morehouse wrote in its brief, it does not "bear a heightened duty or responsibility for matters of morals and virtue," which it said were "the true basis of the underlying assault here." Such a duty, it said, would be comparable to "holding the colleges and universities liable that graduated the executives of Enron." [To read the entire article, go to:] (Subscription required)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Supreme Court weighs 5 age bias cases

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Feb 17, 11:09 AM ET

There is only one anti-bias law — the one against discrimination based on age — that would cover all nine Supreme Court justices, if such laws applied to them.
The justices, ranging in age from 53 to 87, are the last people to worry about such things in their own lives. They have life tenure and no mandatory retirement age.
Yet the justices are confronted by allegations of age discrimination in five cases this term. While the sheer number of cases probably can be explained away as coincidence, the topic is one of growing importance as more people work longer because of economic necessity or by choice.
"The importance of protecting older workers as the work force ages is enormous," said Stu Cohen, AARP's director of legal advocacy. "More older workers remain in the workforce and projections are that the percentage will continue to expand."
The percentage of people 65 and over who continue to work has grown from 10.8 percent in 1985 to 16 percent last year, AARP said. For people 55 to 64, the numbers also are up, from 54.2 percent in 1985 to 63.8 percent in 2007.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to workers who are at least 40. It prohibits discrimination based on age in hiring and firing, promotions and pay.
"Literally every employee at some point is going to be protected by it because all of us get older. It's true whether you are a male, female, minority or not. It's not true for any other statute. It's a very broad class of protected people," said Steven R. Wall, a partner at the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm in Philadelphia.
The cases at the court this year include what kind of evidence an employee may present to bolster an age discrimination claim; whether retirement-age workers are entitled to disability payments; and whether federal workers who complain about age discrimination are protected from retaliation.
The last issue is the subject of oral arguments Tuesday in a case involving a postal worker in Puerto Rico who complained of both discrimination and retaliation. Federal courts dismissed the retaliation claim, saying there is nothing in the age discrimination law that allows such claims by federal employees.
Other anti-discrimination laws do provide protection from retaliation for government workers, said Eric Dreiband, former general counsel to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The language in the laws are different "and it would appear deliberately different," Dreiband said.
The AARP and the National Treasury Employees Union are backing the employee.
The most important case from employers' perspective involves "me-too" evidence in a lawsuit filed by a woman who was 51 when she was laid off by a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel Corp.
The fight at the Supreme Court is over whether she should be able to introduce testimony from other employees who also say they were victims of age discrimination, even though they worked for other supervisors.
The employee, Ellen Mendelsohn, argued that such evidence is critical to establishing a culture of discrimination. [To read the entire article, go to:;_ylt=AkUAEr7l1rht0V4USX6YyheyFz4D]

Monday, February 18, 2008

Whites to be minority in US by 2050: study

Yahoo News
Mon Feb 11, 11:50 AM ET

Immigration will drive the population of the United States sharply upward between now and 2050, and will push whites into a minority, projections by the Pew Research Center showed Monday.
"If current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005," an increase of nearly 50 percent, the study by the Washington-based think-tank said.
More than 80 percent of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving in the country and their US-born children, who will make up nearly one in five Americans by 2050 compared with one in eight in 2005, it said.
Whites, who currently make up around two-thirds of the US population, will become a minority (47 percent) by 2050, the report said.
The Hispanic population, currently the largest minority group, will triple in size and double in percentage terms from 14 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2050, the report said.
The Asian population will roughly double in percentage terms, from five percent to nine percent, while the black population will remain static at around 13 percent.
The projections are based on trends over the past 50 years, during which legal and illegal immigration have played an increasing role in US population growth, the report said.
From 1960 to 2005, new immigrants and their US-born descendants accounted for 51 percent of population increase, and for 58 percent from 1980 to 2005, the report said.
But, the report warned, "possible future changes in immigration policy" could impact the projections.;_ylt=Ahynkvab0zeGEDTNHIndw_Ws0NUE

Register for New AAAA Webinar: "Navigating the Cross-Currents: ADA/FMLA/Workers Compensation."

Register for New AAAA Webinar: "Navigating the Cross-Currents: ADA/FMLA/Workers Compensation."

AAAA is pleased to announce the second of the 2008 bimonthly webinar series scheduled for March 25, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. The subject of this one-hour webinar is "Navigating the Cross-Currents: ADA/FMLA/Workers Compensation." The presenter for th is webinar is Robert Gregg, Esq., of the Boardman Law Firm, Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Gregg is a popular member of the AAAA Professional Development and Training Institute faculty and teaches EEO Law and other subjects. For a detailed description and to register for the March 25th webinar, go to: more information, contact

Study Challenges Assumptions About Affirmative-Action Bans

Chronicle of Higher Education
February 8, 2008

The results of a new study on the impact of bans on race-conscious admissions policies seem to confirm what many critics of affirmative action have long suspected: It is Asian-Americans, rather than whites, who are most disadvantaged by elite universities' consideration of ethnicity and race.
Left unanswered are the likely political ramifications of its finding that Asian-American enrollment has surged — and whites' share of enrollment has actually declined — at elite universities that were forced to abandon affirmative-action preferences.
The study, the results of which are to be published this week in InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, was based on an analysis of enrollment data from selective universities in three states: California, where voters passed a 1996 referendum barring institutions from considering applicants' race or ethnicity; Florida, where Gov. Jeb Bush persuaded the state university system to abandon race-conscious admissions in 2000; and Texas, where race-conscious admissions were prohibited under a 1996 federal court decision that remained in effect until the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of such policies in 2003.
The researchers behind the study, who characterize themselves as supporters of affirmative action, say in the report on their findings that the absence of any white enrollment surge at the institutions examined "can hardly be satisfying" to "those who campaigned for the elimination of affirmative action in the belief that it would advantage the admission of white students." Their report predicts a white backlash against race-neutral admissions policies if Asian-Americans continue to make gains.
In the past, many affirmative-action advocates have denounced assertions that Asian-Americans are harmed by race-conscious admissions policies. They say such claims are motivated by a desire to erode Asian-American support for affirmative action and drive a wedge between Asian-Americans and other minority groups.
On the other side of the issue, Roger B. Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and a leading opponent of race-conscious admissions policies, said he suspected the new report was an attempt to undermine white opposition to affirmative-action preferences and to drive a wedge between whites and Asian Americans.
"Those of us who are campaigning against racial preferences are not doing so out of a desire to see an increase in the numbers for this or that group," Mr. Clegg said. "We are doing so because we think discrimination against members of any racial or ethnic group is wrong." [To read the entire article, go to: (subscription required)]

Wage and Hour Division Publishes Proposed Rules on FMLA

On February 11, 2008, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments by 12:00 midnight, April 11, 2008. The Federal Register Notice, instructions for submitting comments and related documents are available at Wage and Hour's FMLA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking website. The Department is also seeking final comment on proposed regulations involving military leave.

Among other issues, these proposed regulations address the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ragsdale v. Wolverine Worldwide, Inc., 535 U.S. 81 (2002), in which the Court ruled that the penalty provision in the regulations which states that if an employee takes leave and the employer does not designate the leave as FMLA leave, the leave taken does not count towards the 12 week FMLA leave. The Court found that any categorical penalty for a violation of the statute would exceed the Department's statutory authority.

Senators urge SBA to redo set-aside rules for women

The Business Journal
Kent Hoover Washington Bureau Chief
February 11, 2008

The Small Business Administration should scrap its regulations establishing federal contracting set-asides for women-owned businesses and start over, according to a Senate committee that oversees the agency.
Seven years after Congress told the SBA to set up the program, the agency finally issued proposed regulations for it. The proposal limits the program to only four industries. It also requires agencies to determine whether they have discriminated against women-owned businesses in these industries before they set aside contracts for them.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who chairs the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said the proposed rule "is beyond inadequate."
"It is an affront to anyone who believes that women ought to have an equal opportunity to sell their goods and services to the federal government," he said.
He called on SBA Administrator Steven Preston "to go back to the drawing board and put forward a realistic, workable rule this Congress can get behind."
The committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, said the SBA had an opportunity to "hit a home run" with the women's procurement program, but instead issued "a rule that would have little, if any, measurable benefit."
Kerry accused the SBA of using "the narrowest possible" methodology to determine where women have been underrepresented in federal contracting.
[To read the entire article, go to:]

Affirmative Action Bans Hurt Male Student Enrollment

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Michelle J.Nealy
Feb 18, 2008, 22:47

According to a new study, released by the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA), college admission rates of Asian American students at select public universities have thrived in the absence of affirmative action, whereas the admission rates of Black, Hispanic and White students have declined.
In a review of enrollment statistics from three states where affirmative action bans are in effect — California, Florida and Texas — the report also revealed that across all races, the male population drops in schools with blind admissions processes. Researchers examined admissions at five select institutions — the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA, the University of California, San Diego; the University of Florida; and the University of Texas at Austin.
The results of affirmative action bans such as Proposition 209 in California, which prohibits university admission offices from considering race, sex or ethnicity in its decisions, varied from state to state. However, general trends emerged to confirm that Asian American students are disadvantaged in a race-conscious admission system, according to the study which was published in InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies.
At UC, Berkeley, Asian American enrollment jumped from 37 percent in 1995 to 43 percent in 2000. In Texas, the number of Asian American college students rose from 14 percent in 1995 to 17 percent in 2000. While modest, Florida also experienced gains. The Asian American student population in the University of Florida system grew from 7.5 percent to 7.8 percent.
California was hit hardest in its loss of Black and Hispanic students and did the least legislatively to retain diversity. Texas and Florida were able to suppress such steep population shifts by implementing programs to ensure public university admission to high-achieving high school students.
Texas, which lost a court challenge to its affirmative action policy in 1996, adopted a law in 1997 that guaranteed acceptance at all state-funded universities to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class.
Similarly, Florida instituted the Talented 20 Program that offers automatic admission to the top 20 percent of public high school graduates, regardless of standardized test scores. Students, however, were not necessarily admitted to the school of their choice.
The number of Black students admitted to UC, Berkeley, dropped from 562 in the fall of 1997 to 191 in the fall of 1998. Hispanic admission numbers plunged as well, from 1,266 to 600. Since 1997, the percentage of Black and Hispanic students admitted to the university has dropped 6.5 percent, while the percentage of Asian Americans admitted jumped 6.2 percent.
The enrollment of Black men suffered the most under California’s ban. At UC, San Diego, for instance, the freshman class of 2005 had just 19 Black men, up from 12 in 2000.
To address the lack of diversity in UC schools, UC system officials in 2002 designed an admission policy known as comprehensive review in order “to improve the quality and fairness” of the UC admission process by mandating that campuses consider a full range of students’ accomplishments, experiences and circumstances, while prohibiting the consideration of race.
[To read the entire article, go to:]

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Statement from LDF Director-Counsel and President Ted Shaw regarding Cantrell v. Granholm.

February 6, 2008
Statement from LDF Director-Counsel and President Ted Shaw regarding Cantrell v. Granholm.

On Wednesday, February 6, oral arguments were heard in Cantrell v. Granholm, a lawsuit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), the ACLU, and the Detroit State Conference of the NAACP challenging Proposal 2 in Michigan. Proposal 2 effectively denies access to higher education for people of color who are applying to the state's public universities. Unfortunately this is part of a national assault on efforts to provide access to higher education for students of color. "Proposal 2 is a wolf in sheep's clothing, cutting off the pathways towards a higher education for many students of color. As the Supreme Court held in Grutter, which upheld efforts to ensure equal opportunity at the University of Michigan: 'effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our nation is essential if the dream of one nation, indivisible, is to be realized.' If left in place, Proposal 2 would curtail the participation of students in Michigan's institutions of higher education." "Some claim that we've moved beyond race in our nation, but this case is a stark reminder that issues of race still matter, especially when equal opportunity is not being afforded to all. Here, Proposal 2 fundamentally alters the structure of Michigan's political process so that the only way to achieve the 'dream of one nation, indivisible' in higher education is to amend the State's Constitution." "The Supreme Court has long held that such barriers violate the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The Court should uphold these core constitutional principles and strike down Proposal 2."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fired black worker claims white boss put noose on him
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- A black former hotel worker who claims his white supervisor put a noose around his neck at an event on one of the country's oldest plantations said he was fired when he complained about it.
John Green, 62, said he was scared and embarrassed by his boss's actions at the Charleston Place Hotel function at Boone Hall Plantation in October.
Green and his attorney, Ed Brown, said a complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's office in Savannah, Georgia. However, Mason Barrett, director of that office, said he would not confirm whether his office had received a complaint.
The hotel's general manager said in a statement he had not seen a complaint from the commission and that Green was fired for violating company rules. Those rules were not specified.
Green, a former event supervisor at the hotel, said his boss laughed about the incident and "he thought it was funny."
"He was actually showing another guy from another country how to make a hangman's noose," Green said. "He sneaked up from behind me and slipped the noose over my neck and began tightening the noose."
Green said he was fired about a month later when he complained to hotel managers.
He said he recorded a meeting with hotel managers after he was fired, and when he told them about the recording, Green's boss was fired.
Pippa Isbell, vice president of corporate communications for Orient-Express Hotels, which owns Charleston Place, confirmed that the supervisor was fired "as a direct result of the incident with the noose."
Hotel general manager Paul Stracey said in a statement the company has a strong policy against discrimination. [To see the entire article, go to:]

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Policy In Effect to Increase Number of Minority Head College Football Coaches

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Sarah Lake
Feb 11, 2008, 22:51

A new minority-interviewing rule, similar to the “Rooney Rule” currently used in the National Football League, is being implemented at all Division I-A football programs, in hopes of boosting the number of minority head coaches.

The policy states that any team with a head coaching vacancy must interview at least one minority candidate for the position. It also instructs each program to have a list of possible minority candidates at all times, even when there is no vacancy within the organization. Athletic directors at the 120 Division I-A schools were sent the new policy by the Division I-A Athletic Directors’ Association last month.

The new policy, however, does not specify penalties for programs that don’t meet the terms of the new guideline. The lack of penalties for noncompliance differs from the NFL’s minority-hiring rule known as the “Rooney Rule,” which was named after the chairman of the league’s workplace diversity committee and Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney. Although there is no penalty for noncompliance, advocates consider the rule to be a step forward in gaining equity on NCAA sidelines. [To read the entire story, go to:]

Friday, February 8, 2008

India state starts business quotas for low castes

International Herald Tribune
By Sharat PradhanReuters
Friday, February 8, 2008

LUCKNOW, India: The head of India's most populous state, the so-called "queen of the untouchables", is tentatively extending lower-caste quotas into the private sector, a move that may have major political and economic repercussions.
India's lower castes and indigenous tribes already claim about half of government and public sector jobs, a scheme of affirmative action aimed at redressing the imbalance of Hinduism's ancient caste system.
But Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and champion of Dalits or "untouchables," is expanding this into any private projects undertaken with the state, a booming sector as India spends billions of dollars on infrastructure such as highways.
Most leading businesses have shunned the idea of quotas, worried it will worsen their competitiveness in a global market.
Mayawati's government issued a circular this week to ensure departments implemented the quota system and took out full-page advertisements in prominent daily newspapers, with the title "New Positive Reservation Initiatives".
"Because of the anti-reservation mentality of the ruling classes the full benefits of reservation is not reaching the people," the advert said.
It is the first prominent policy in India to include private business into the quota system, analysts say, and highlights the role caste politics will play in 2009 general elections.
"There is increasingly a competitive race politically over who is doing what with reservations," said T.K. Bhaumik, chief economist of Reliance Industries Ltd, India's largest business conglomerate. "There are elections ahead."
Under the scheme, quotas will be introduced in public-private partnership enterprises, as well as in private companies doing outsourced state government work.
[To read the entire article, go to:]

A single presidency would not signify discrimination's end

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Friday, February 08, 2008
Letter to the Editor:

Carl Maltba wrote, in his letter Tuesday titled "Historic call to end affirmative action," that if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, "affirmative-action programs granting privileged status to members of minority groups would have to end." This is factually and logically incorrect.
Affirmative-action programs provide equal opportunity for qualified individuals to remedy historic and ongoing discrimination against women and minorities in our nation and our communities. The "privileged status" that Maltba claims affirmative-action programs give to minorities is, in reality, a remedy for the ongoing "preferential treatment" received by Caucasian citizens, particularly white males, in our society. I have benefitted from this preferential treatment, as a white male, all of my life.
One woman or a single black male becoming president does not equate to the end of discrimination in the United States. Ignoring that the previous 42 presidents were all white males and that the vast majority of all leadership positions in our nation, whether in government or business, continue to be held by white males is not an honest evaluation of discrimination or reality.
I'll recognize the end of racial and gender discrimination when the percentages of women and minorities in leadership positions in this country mirror their percentages in our population.
Michael J. Gaynier
Cleveland Heights

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Next Generation President

Inside Higher Education
February 7, 2008

Next Generation President
Some high profile appointments — most notably Drew Faust at Harvard University last year — have created a sense that the college and university presidency is diversifying. Actually, while the numbers of women leading campuses have been increasing, the rate of growth has slowed, and the increases for non-white presidents have become minimal. In fact, the most dramatic change among college presidents in recent years may not be increased diversity, but increased longevity in office.
Since that means presidents are increasingly likely to be hitting retirement years, two higher education groups wanted to check out the demographics of the people likely to be in the next generation of presidents — those serving as provosts and in other positions that are frequently held immediately prior to a presidency. The results — released Wednesday by the American Council on Education and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources — found that these higher education employees are more likely than those in the presidential suite to be female, but are not likely to be much more diverse in other ways.
As a result, the two groups are planning new campaigns to get more minority candidates into presidential pools. The data released Wednesday illustrate, officials said, why more ambitious efforts are needed if academics expect to see more diversity in the upper ranks of college administration.
To start, here are the demographics for college presidents in 2006 and a comparison from 20 years earlier. While the comparison suggests substantial progress, most of that took place early in the 20 years, and diversification has been more minimal recently.
Demographics of College Presidents, 2006 and 1986
Demographic characteristic
Asian American
American Indian
Other or multiple race
All minority
Age 50 or younger
Age 51-60
Age 61 or older
Average years in position
A report on the data, “On the Pathway to the Presidency: Characteristics of Higher Education’s Senior Leadership,” notes that the advancing age and longer tenures of current presidents “may present an opportunity” to diversify the presidency in the years ahead, as more presidents retire.
But as Jacqueline E. King, assistant vice president of the American Council on Education, noted in a press briefing, that is only the case if those preparing to move into presidencies are younger than current presidents and more diverse. The first bit of good news, King said, is that those in the positions that are feeder positions for presidencies are in fact younger — so there will be someone to take over. But on the question of whether the next generation will be more diverse, she said the answer was “Yes, with respect to gender.”
[To read the entire article, go to:]

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Valentine's Dinner Reservation for Ward Connerly and Ms. Magazine

Chronicle News Blog
February 5, 2008

The latest issue of Ms. Magazine, published by the Feminist Majority Foundation, has a package of stories criticizing Ward Connerly and his campaigns against the use of affirmative-action preferences in public education, public employment, and public contracting. The general tone of the articles is evident in their headlines: “Good Ole Boys,” “Contracting Connerly,” and “A Preference for Deception.”
The magazine argues that while much of the news-media coverage of Mr. Connerly’s campaigns has focused on their impact on public colleges, at core his efforts are driven by a desire to help companies owned by white men gain an upper hand in the competition for government contracts. In “Contracting Connerly,” it alleges extensive financial ties between Mr. Connerly and building-industry trade associations that have supported his campaigns.
In a statement e-mailed to The Chronicle, Mr. Connerly dismissed as “totally bogus” the magazine’s assertions that his campaigns were heavily financed by construction associations with a vested interest in the elimination of affirmative-action preferences.
“While it is true that such entities generally oppose preferential treatment for women and ‘minorities,’ it is not true that I am aligned with them or received anything more than token financial support from such sources in our campaigns,” he wrote.
—Peter Schmidt
[Go to for the entire blog post.]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Avoid Getting Sued: Risks and Rewards in Recruitment Record Keeping

Workforce Management

Employers received a harsh reminder of the importance of consistent recruitment practices and record-keeping policies when an administrative law judge approved a consent decree requiring Goodyear Tire & Rubber to pay $925,000 in back wages to 800 female job applicants who alleged hiring discrimination. Solid data collection practices during the hiring process can ensure compliance with federal regulations and help track recruiting results. By Fay Hansen

Employers received a harsh reminder of the importance of consistent recruitment practices and record-keeping policies in January when an administrative law judge approved a consent decree requiring Goodyear Tire & Rubber to pay $925,000 in back wages to 800 female job applicants who alleged hiring discrimination at a Goodyear plant in Virginia. Goodyear also agreed to hire 60 of the women, conduct annual training for plant managers and provide semiannual reports to document compliance.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed the complaint against Goodyear in June 2006. The OFCCP completed nearly 4,000 compliance evaluations in 2006 and recovered $51.5 million for workers subjected to unlawful discrimination, an increase of 14 percent from 2005 and a 78 percent increase compared with 2001.
This significant jump in monitoring and enforcement activity was fueled in part by the OFCCP’s new active case management system, which uses statistical tools to prioritize reviews of recruiting and employment practices at companies with federal contracts. The OFCCP is reviewing a much larger portion of the federal contractor universe than it has in the past.
In addition to increased monitoring from the OFCCP for federal contractors, recruitment-related record-keeping requirements for all companies may fall under scrutiny from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when applicants allege discrimination.
As recruiters face greater time-to-fill pressures and employers increase Internet and recruitment agency sourcing, the risks arising from poor record-keeping practices grows. At the same time, careful record keeping throughout the recruitment process can produce valuable data that helps move employers beyond compliance and into the realm of better business intelligence.
Clarity and consistency "It’s important to have the right process for gathering applications," cautions W. Christopher Arbery, a partner specializing in employment law in the Atlanta office of Hunton & Williams. "Employers must correct any lack of clarity stemming from multiple methods for applicants to express interest."
Legal experts agree that one of the largest record-keeping risks arises when employers assume that they are not responsible for records on applicants that the recruiting agencies screen out. "In addition, employers need to ensure that their recruiters and the agencies they use are gathering the right information, whether they are using a separate tear-off or form or a set of fields for applicants to self-identify," Arbery notes.
Employers must carefully review the record-keeping practices of any recruiting agencies employed. [To read the entire article, go to:]

Study Reveals Gender Gap in Pension Benefits

Workforce Management
January 28, 2008
Study Reveals Gender Gap in Pension Benefits

Employment-based pensions received by men typically are much higher than pensions received by women, but the gap is likely to narrow somewhat in the future, according to a study released Thursday.
The study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington found that 44.6 percent of men age 65 and older received an employment-based pension during 2006, with a median benefit of $17,200 annually. By contrast, only 28.4 percent of women received a pension, with a median benefit of $11,142 a year.
The reason for this gender disparity is that older women tend to spend less time in the workforce than their male counterparts, as well as have lower-paying jobs, according to the EBRI study. Those circumstances directly affect the size of their pension, since the benefit is largely based on income and years of service. Additionally, defined-benefit plans typically require employees to work five years before they are fully vested in a benefit.
While younger women still, on average, spend less time in the labor force than younger men and tend to earn less, today’s younger women on average will work longer than women who were 50 or older in 2006, according to the study.
As a result, younger women will be more likely to earn a pension and the amount they earn will increase over time as younger generations of women retire, the study found.
Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

Ward Connerly's Super Tuesday for Segregation Ward Connerly's Super Tuesday for Segregation
by David A. Love Thursday Jan 31st, 2008 10:50 AM

"Supporting segregation need not be racist. One can believe in segregation and believe in equality of the races." - Ward Connerly, on CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports," Dec. 13, 2002 Ward Connerly, that high profile opponent for affirmative action and Black water carrier for the new Jim Crow, has returned. He wants to eliminate affirmative action everywhere, and make a buck at the same time. And with the help of corporate philanthropy and hate groups, he wants to take us back to the future we know too well. Connerly is plotting and planning for what he calls a Super Tuesday for Equal Rights. The purpose of his campaign is to promote ballot initiatives throughout the country that would eliminate tax dollars to affirmative action programs based on race and gender. Following similar initiatives in California, Michigan and Washington, he has targeted five states for this year's November ballot - Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Targeting states with relatively low numbers of people of color - and undoubtedly relying on the longstanding effectiveness of racial scapegoating, particularly in hard economic times, Connerly might very well succeed in the absence of a determined and coordinated campaign to quash his efforts. Although the anti-affirmative action forces seek to eliminate public funding of diversity based on gender as well as race, thereby harming White women as well, it is the so-called "racial preferences" that stick in the minds of people. Part of the time-tested Southern Strategy, anti-diversity campaigns is to appeal to disaffected Whites, who will act against their own interests, if it means the elimination of programs they believe are unfairly benefiting Black and Brown folks. Destroying the King Legacy is Profitable So, what's in it for Connerly? The dollars, of course. Apparently, there is much money to be made in dismantling the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, and Connerly is first in line to get paid. In 1993, he was given a platform by California Gov. Pete Wilson with a seat on the California Board of Regents. Soon, he became a crusader against all that is important to Black people. That crusade was made possible through the support of extreme right-wing corporate philanthropy and alliances with White supremacist hate groups. Certainly, behind every puppet there is a puppet master who controls the strings, and Ward Connerly is no exception. In 1996, Connerly, himself a beneficiary of affirmative action through a California set-aside program for minority contractors, was responsible for the passage of Proposition 209, which eliminated the use of affirmative action by the state government in hiring and university admissions. On the eve of Dr. King's birthday in 1997, thanks to the generosity of the ultra-conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and others, he formed the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI). (The Bradley Foundation has funded organizations that seek to destroy civil rights, such as the Center for Individual Rights. Charles Murray, author of the infamous book The Bell Curve, is a Bradley fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.) That same year, Connerly also formed the American Civil Rights Coalition (ACRC), the lobbying arm of ACRI. In true Orwellian fashion, these organizations embrace the antithesis of what their names suggest. The Equal Justice Society reports that in 2003, based on IRS records, Connerly received $1 million in compensation for his anti-civil rights efforts at ACRI and ACRC. This does not include compensation he received as CEO of Connerly & Associates, his Sacramento-based real estate business. The group Media Transparency has detailed the bankrolling of Ward Connerly's segregationist operations by the Bradley, Olin and Scaife Foundations. When he was unwilling to disclose the funding sources of his failed Proposition 54 - which would have prevented California from collecting important racial data, thereby crippling any efforts to address racial disparities in healthcare and education - a coalition of civil rights organizations sued him. Connerly, who raised $1.6 million for the 2003 Prop 54 effort, was fined $95,000 for breaking campaign financing disclosure laws. According to the Equal Justice Society, some of his largest contributors included John Moores, Sr., University of California Regents board member and owner of the San Diego Padres ($400,000); Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News ($300,000); Joseph Coors, the late Colorado beer baron and founding partner of the Heritage Foundation ($250,000), and William J. Hume, head of the anti-labor San Francisco-based company Basic American Foods ($200,000). White Supremacist Support for Anti-Affirmative Action Efforts If people are judged by the company they keep, then history will not show kindness to Connerly and the foes of civil rights. In his successful campaign to eliminate affirmative action in Michigan, he allied himself with Rev. John Raternik, head of the Michigan chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). The CCC, a White supremacist organization, descended from the White Citizens' Councils of the Jim Crow era and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC, which has made the issue of non-White immigration a top priority, has declared America "a European country," opposes "all efforts to mix the races" and refers to Black people as "a retrograde species of humanity." Well-known figures with ties to the CCC include Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (R-AR), ex-Senator Trent Lott (R-MI), Governor Haley Barbor (R-MI), the late Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, former Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice, and former Alabama Governor Guy Hunt. Connerly, who supports segregation, welcomed the support of White racist groups in his fight against affirmative action. "If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them," said Connerly. "Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied, instead of hate." Dishonoring the movement Conservatives will point to individuals such as Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly and others who are viewed as "brave" and "courageous" for bucking the Black establishment and taking unpopular views. But there is no bravery in what Connerly does, which is to cynically misappropriate Dr. King's vision for a colorblind society, in order to strike a blow against the nation's civil rights protections. There is no honor in desecrating the graves of the truly courageous martyrs, those such as Viola Liuzzo, a mother of five from Detroit who was gunned down like a dog by the KKK in Alabama in 1965, all for fighting for civil rights. There is no honor in spitting on the memory of voting rights crusader Fannie Lou Hamer, who was jailed and beaten nearly to death by police in Mississippi, and never recovered from her wounds. Nor is there any glory in dishonoring and mocking the name of Vernon Dahmer, who was killed in a terrorist bombing, not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in his home in Hattiesbug, Mississippi, after volunteering to pay for Black voters' poll taxes. [To read the entire article, go to:]

Insight Center Launches "InBiz", Inclusive Business Initiative

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development (Insight Center) has launched “InBiz,” the Inclusive Business Initiative to promote policies and programs in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that enhance minority and women-owned business development.

The components of the Initiative include a research report series entitled “Best Practices, Imperfections, and Challenges in State Inclusive Business Programs” which looks at the trend and impact of affirmative action procurement and targeted small development at the state level, as well as a website designed to provide information to states and local governments, as well as diverse small businesses and their advocates, in order to further the inclusive business programs of public agencies. Both the research reports and the state-searchable database on the website provide information that is not otherwise available. Other components will be added to the Initiative next year and beyond.

“This is the first time that so much information has been available in one place regarding state inclusive business programs,’ said Tim Lohrentz, Program Manager at the Insight Center. ‘We will continue to add new data and information on a continual basis. In addition, the website features the InBiz Blog and a discussion forum for inclusive business practitioners.’

Roger Clay Jr., President of the Insight Center added, “This initiative is a key component of the Insight Center's work to advance strategies that build family and community assets and help overcome the racial wealth gap.”

The research report series includes:
Executive Summary: The Evolution of Affirmative Action (Nov. 2007, PDF, 359KB) - An accessible summary of the two full-length studies in this series
State Policies and Programs for Minority- and Women-Business Development (Dec. 2007, PDF, 924 KB) - a thorough scan of the inclusive business programs carried out by all 50 states and D.C. related to M/WBE procurement and to M/WBE financing and business development services.
The Impact of State Affirmative Procurement Policies on Minority- and Women- Owned Businesses in Five States (Oct. 2007, PDF, 625 KB) - By examining business outcomes in 5 states, including California post-Proposition 209, this study concludes that state procurement policies do have an impact on businesses owned by women and persons of color.
The Insight Center for Community Economic Development, formerly the National Economic Development and Law Center (NEDLC), is a national research, consulting and legal organization dedicated to helping people and communities become, and remain, economically secure. The Insight Center's multidisciplinary approach utilizes a wide array of community economic development strategies including industry-focused workforce development, individual and community asset building, establishing the link between early care and education and economic development, and advocating for the adoption of the Self-Sufficiency Standard as a measurement of wage adequacy and an alternative to the Federal Poverty Line.

Legislator: Ban affirmative action (Wisconsin)

The Badger Herald
by Beth Mueller
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A state lawmaker said Monday he will aim to ban the practice of considering race for hiring or admissions.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, plans to introduce legislation that would lead to a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action in Wisconsin.
“As time goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that the forces of affirmative action are trying to expand the role of preferences in Wisconsin,” Grothman said. “It is time to go back the other way.”
Grothman cited one state agency he is involved with that requires law firms to list the number of “so-called minorities” they employ before considering doing business with them.
“I think [affirmative action] is incredibly divisive and will eventually destroy this country,” Grothman said. “We cannot keep telling people to view themselves as members of an ethnic group; they have to be Americans first.”
The issue of affirmative action was debated at length in the Legislature last session in a special committee.
Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, worked with Grothman then and said the two could not disagree more on the issue.
“I’ve tried to make it very clear that I’m vehemently against a constitutional amendment or any other proposal that would limit affirmative action,” Grigsby said.
Grigsby added she does not think such a proposal would make much progress in the Democratic state Senate. [To read the entire article, go to:]

U.S. Education Department to Probe Program for Black Men on 16 CUNY Campuses

Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
February 4, 2008

The U.S. Department of Education has opened investigations at 16 campuses of the City University of New York to determine whether a program to improve the enrollment and graduation rates of black men violates federal civil-rights law.
In April 2006, the New York Civil Rights Coalition filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about CUNY’s proposed “Black Male Initiative,” which the civil-rights group charged would offer “remedial and differential treatment” to students based on race and gender. The group argued that such a segregated pedagogy violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The Office for Civil Rights received that complaint in May 2006, followed by a second complaint from the same group, in June 2006, charging discrimination in the hiring of staff members for the program.
“In order to investigate the allegation in the most thorough and appropriate manner, OCR determined it would open individual complaints against each of the 16 colleges,” said Jim Bradshaw, a Department of Education spokesman.
In 2006 a CUNY spokesman told The Chronicle that the system was not planning any race-exclusive programs, but that it was considering the promotion of gender-focused programs to help black men. The program under attack was part of a four-year master plan called the “Initiative on the Black Male in Education,” approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees in 2004.
“We will, of course, continue to fully cooperate with the Office for Civil Rights,” Jay Hershenson, a CUNY spokesman, said today. “CUNY is confident that [the program] will be recognized for its great work in fostering access and success to the benefits of education, including to those who are underrepresented in higher education.”
According to the civil-rights group, the CUNY institutions that are under investigation are the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Kingsborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Lehman College, College of Staten Island, Medgar Evers College, Hostos Community College, Hunter College, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, York College, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, and the New York City College of Technology.
—JJ HermesPosted on Monday February 4, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Family and Medical Leave Act Amendments Signed into Law

Information from the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Website:

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA), Pub. L. 110-181. Among other things, section 585 of the NDAA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to permit a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.”
The provisions in the NDAA providing this leave are effective as of the date of the President’s signing. The Department of Labor is working quickly to prepare more comprehensive guidance regarding rights and responsibilities under this new legislation. In the interim, WHD will require employers to act in good faith in providing leave under the new legislation. Because the NDAA amends the FMLA, FMLA-type procedures should be used as may be appropriate (for example, procedures regarding substitution of paid leave and notice).
The NDAA also permits an employee to take FMLA leave for “any qualifying exigency (as the Secretary [of Labor] shall, by regulation, determine) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.” By its express terms, this provision of the NDAA is not effective until the Secretary of Labor issues final regulations defining “any qualifying exigency.” DOL is expeditiously preparing such regulations. In the interim, DOL encourages employers to provide this type of leave to qualifying employees.
DOL will update this page as additional guidance is developed and published.
To view the amended Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act:
Title I of the FMLA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008
The information at the link below may also be of interest:
Compliance Assistance – Family and Medical Leave Act