Friday, October 31, 2008

Backsliding for Women’s Sports

Inside Higher Ed
October 31, 2008

Most of the major changes in the status of women’s intercollegiate sports came a decade or two ago when, through a combination of tough federal enforcement, court challenges, and enlightened decisions by college leaders, many institutions began to lavish more money and attention in an attempt to give equitable treatment to their women’s teams and female athletes.
Over the last five years or so — even as advocates for lower-profile men’s sports have continued to spar with women’s sports advocates about numbers and politics — the status quo has largely held, with the proportion of college athletes who are women staying relatively flat.
Now, though, it appears as if women are beginning to lose ground. A biennial gender equity report released without fanfare by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday finds that colleges that play Division I sports directed a smaller proportion of athletics spending to women’s teams in 2005-6 than they did in 2003-4. In the 2003-4 academic year, when the NCAA last surveyed its members, Division I sports programs spent an average of $7,285,500 on men’s sports and $4,194,800 on women’s sports, for a 16 percentage point differential (63 to 37 percent). In 2005-6, the year examined in the survey released Thursday, that split had widened to 22 percentage points, 66 percent to 34 percent ($8,653,600 for men’s sports vs. $4,447,900 for women’s teams). [Full story:]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Record Retrospective: Obama on affirmative action

Harvard Law Record
Issue date: 10/30/08 Section: Etc.

In five days, Senator Barack Obama '91 could become the the first African-American and the second Harvard Law School graduate (after Rutherford B. Hayes, Class of 1845) to be elected President of the United States.

If Obama is elected next Tuesday, it will not be his first historic election. Obama was the first African-American to be elected President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990. Obama's tenure as Law Review President was not without controversy. Indeed, an unusually low number of women were selected to be Review editors from the class of 1992, leading to considerable debate about the Law Review's selection policies and the importance of its affirmative action program, which at the time, was limited to consideration of race and physical handicap.
Obama personally responded to the controversy by writing a lengthy letter explaining both the Review's selection policy and his personal experience with affirmative action. The letter was published in Volume 91, Number 7 (November 16, 1990) of the Harvard Law Record. It is reprinted below in its entirety.

Review President Explains Affirmative Action Policy
To the Editor:
Since the merits of the Law Review's selection policy has been the subject of commentary for the last three issues, I'd like to take the time to clarify exactly how our selection process works.
As our Treasurer, Lisa Hay, explained in your first article on our selection policy (October 12th), all students who wish to become editors of the Law Review participate in a writing competition at the end of their first year. The entire writing competition is conducted on a double-blind basis, to ensure absolute anonymity. Each submission is graded by at least three different Review editors to help decrease the effects that any particular editor's subjective opinions may have on the final scores. ...

Let me end by emphasizing that the Review is committed to including the widest range of viewpoints on its editorial staff, and strongly encourages 1L women and men of all backgrounds and ideological stripes to participate in this year's writing competition.
I'd also like to add one personal note, in response to the letter from Mr. Jim Chen which was published in the October 26 issue of the RECORD, and which articulated broad objections to the Review's general affirmative action policy. I respect Mr. Chen's personal concern over the possible stigmatizing effects of affirmative action, and do not question the depth or sincerity of his feelings. I must say, however, that as someone who has undoubtedly benefited from affirmative action programs during my academic career, and as someone who may have benefited from the Law Review's affirmative action policy when I was selected to join the Review last year, I have not personally felt stigmatized either within the broader law school community or as a staff member of the Review. Indeed, my election last year as President of the Review would seem to indicate that at least among Review staff, and hopefully for the majority of professors at Harvard, affirmative action in no way tarnishes the accomplishments of those who are members of historically underrepresented groups.
I would therefore agree with the suggestion that in the future, our concern in this area ia [sic] most appropriately directed at any employer who would even insinuate that someone with Mr. Chen's extraordinary record of academic success might be somehow unqualified for work in a corporate law firm, or that such success might be somehow undeserved. Such attributes speak less to the merits or problems of affirmative action policies, and more to the tragically deep-rooted ignorance and bias that exists in the legal community and our society at large.

Barack Obama President, Harvard Law Review Published November 16, 1990
[To read the entire story, go to:

Justice O'Connor: affirmative action should continue

Harvard Law Record
By: Matt Hutchins
Posted: 10/30/08

At the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute's annual conference on October 17th, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sandra Day O'Connor spoke about her journey to become the first woman on the High Court and her role in the Gratz and Grutter decisions, which approved the use of race-based affirmative action in university admissions processes.
Dean Kagan introduced Justice O'Connor by praising her for demonstrating incredible judgment, independence, and courage during her 24 years on the Court. She also noted that Justice O'Connor was recently honored by induction into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and that since leaving the Court, Justice O'Connor has become involved in the development of video games to get children thinking about government, "Because one third of Americans can name a Supreme Court Justice, and two thirds can name an American Idol judge."
In her keynote address, O'Connor outlined the continuing need for initiatives like affirmative action that can help heal the inequalities created by racial discrimination, but emphasized that such race-based systems are a bandage, not a cure. O'Connor stated that the integration of educational and professional opportunities is important to social advancement, but such a system should not impose arbitrary racial preferences. The case of Michigan's two systems was an opportunity to highlight this distinction: the point system considered in Gratz was too arbitrary, but in Grutter the opposite conclusion was reached because Michigan Law School's admissions considered race as one of many factors.
While affirmative action can play a role in the development of a more inclusive society, O'Connor made pains to point out the many other areas in which progress can be made toward the creation of a better education system which provides opportunities from early childhood. She pointed to a comprehensive view of racial issues as the path toward greater justice, and pointed to the high percentage of black men in prison and who will be convicted of a crime during their lifetime. In addition, although the no child left behind program has made some progress in core areas, civics and history have been cast aside with disastrous results. She believes that without a basic education in the nature of American government, children will only grow into disengaged adults with no sense of their place in society as active citizens. [To read the entire story, go to:]

Three Quinnipiac students arrested in threats

The New Haven Register
One charged with hate crime, held on $100,000 bail
Thursday, October 30, 2008 5:12 AM EDT
By Ed Stannard, Register Metro Editor

HAMDEN — Police have arrested three Quinnipiac University students for allegedly making threatening phone calls, including a freshman who has been charged with a hate crime, according to Capt. Ronald Smith.
Charles Merritt, 18, of Clifton, Maine, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly making threatening and harassing telephone calls to three black basketball players on Monday, Smith said. Merritt is a roommate of two of the athletes and knows the third, Smith said.
Merritt was charged with three counts each of intimidation based on bigotry and bias, first-degree harassment and disorderly conduct. Smith said the threats rose to the level of a hate crime because they involved the victims’ ethnicity.
Just before midnight Tuesday, police arrested Emily Loschiavo, 19, of West Newbury, Vt., and Courtney Stellwag, 19, of Newburgh, N.Y. They were both charged with first-degree harassment, conspiracy to commit first-degree harassment and disorderly conduct.
According to Smith, two friends of the women’s intended victim answered the telephone in a Quinnipiac dorm room and were threatened with bodily harm. The intended victim, a resident assistant, was not at home at the time, he said. Smith said he did not know the race of the R.A.Quinnipiac security, assisted by Hamden police, determined who allegedly made the threatening telephone call.Quinnipiac’s administration turned the case over to police Monday. They followed the discovery of racially bigoted words written outside dorm rooms and on a board outside the victims’ dorm.According to a statement by Quinnipiac President John L. Lahey, all three were expelled from the university."All of us are grateful for the work of the Hamden Police Department which resulted in these arrests," Lahey said. "While they are significant achievements, the investigation continues in connection with the recent hate speech/crimes. I also want to extend my appreciation for the excellent police work by our own security officers."I cannot state strongly enough that this university has absolutely no tolerance for acts of this kind and will do everything in its power to prevent them."Merritt, who was being held at police headquarters on $100,000 bail, is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Meriden on Nov. 6. Stellwag and Loschiavo were released after posting $2,500 bail. They are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 12. [To read the entire story, go to:]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shelia Johnson to direct ISU affirmative action

Indiana Statesman
By: Jake Sutterfield
Posted: 10/29/08

Sheila Johnson was recently chosen as the new director of affirmative action, an internal search was done to find the best candidate. Johnson, who is currently the employee relations and immigration coordinator in the human relations office at ISU, said she is excited about her new position."I'm really looking forward to building relationships with not only the staff, but also the student body and organizations," Johnson said. "I am planning on actively participating in student activities." The position of director of diversity and affirmative action was recently reorganized into an affirmative action compliance position and a diversity position, according to ISU media relations."Johnson was chosen for the position by an internal search committee," said Melony Sacopulos, the university's attorney. "We decided she was a successful candidate, and she was right for the job." Affirmative action is something that is very important to Indiana State University, Sacopulos said.As the director of affirmative action, Johnson will be responsible for investigating all affirmative action-related complaints and updating the university's affirmative action plan, which is updated annually, Sacopulos said.Johnson will also be responsible for making sure that the pool of applicants is diverse for both students and faculty. The committees searching for future Indiana State students and faculty also need to be as diverse as possible, Johnson said."This is a great opportunity to enhance Indiana State University's affirmative action program," Johnson said.
[To read the entire story, go to:

Racial amnesia may be the cure

The Boston Globe
By Anita F. Hill October 29, 2008

MANY OF US who advocate for civil rights lament the fact that the country seems to have forgotten the role race has played in the American experience. We even accuse America of suffering from racial amnesia. Yet, racial amnesia may help Barack Obama and other Democrats on Election Day.
When some Americans remember race, they are reminded of why they and their parents started voting Republican. As President Lyndon Johnson predicted, the exodus began when he supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even as many in the country were pushing back from racist behavior, those who rejected the federal government's authority to usher in social change captured a portion of the country's political imagination. For them, the laws enacted in the 1960s represented unwarranted government interference on many fronts, and actually contributed to the racial divisions.
States throughout the South abandoned the Democratic Party. Border states and states in the Midwest followed suit, ending histories of straight Democratic Party line representation. Economic concerns played a part as well. But as Sam Gibbons, a Democrat from Florida, observed in 1994, "Republicans have been able to capitalize on [race], creating what is, in effect, an all-white party."
With some, the 1960s' concept of race's relationship to their political choices still holds sway. In 2004, George W. Bush slightly altered the party's racial profile by capturing 44 percent of the Latino vote, but many questioned whether that was an anomaly.
Not surprisingly, because my reality was different, my recollections from the 1960s differ from those who fled the party. I recall a country that rejected Jim Crow laws and committed government resources to assist underfunded and outmanned civil rights champions in overturning centuries of neglect and oppression.
The booming economy of the period played a critical role in encouraging feelings of benevolence. We could afford to put aside racial differences and spread resources like jobs and education. Still, we are yet to come to a consensus on what the reality of race was even then.
Today, as the economy continues to slide, government intervention is not only necessary, it is also desirable. In this context, many are ready to put race aside.
Nearly two generations since that initial shift in voting patterns, some racial memories are either fading or being altered. In a recent CNN poll, 7 out of 10 said that race is not a factor in their decision in the presidential election.
Obama is poised to change America's electoral map by being the first Democratic nominee in decades to win in Virginia, Iowa, and Indiana. Hispanic voters, who helped Bush capture Colorado and New Mexico, favor Obama over John McCain. Democrats in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama may take congressional seats even though Obama may not carry the states.
Regardless of one's political leaning, most would acknowledge that the country is aware of its racial and ethnic diversity, and that for most Americans the stark contrast between the "black experience" and the "white experience" no longer exists. [To read the entire editorial, go to:]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Opposing Views: Do We Still Need Affirmative Action?

Opposing Views:
Online Debate on Affirmative Action

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King spoke these words in 1963, and they still resonate today. Affirmative action programs were established to create this very type of equality, but have they brought us closer to Dr. King’s dream or only hindered it?

AAAA participates in this online debate on Affirmative Action sponsored by "Opposing Views" at Other "debaters" include BAMN, the Center for Equal Opportunity and Gary Orfield. Please go to the debate and "weigh in." Thanks!

Affirmative action must stay - Zuma

Cape Argus
October 27, 2008
Edition 1

It was still too early to end affirmative action, ANC president Jacob Zuma said at the weekend. In a speech prepared for delivery at an investors' lunch in New York, he also said the ANC was confident of a decisive victory in next year's general election. Zuma, who earlier this week met top US officials in Washington, said black people and women were still largely excluded from upper and middle management. The Employment Equity Commission had noted in 2007 that whites continued to dominate senior management at 65%, with blacks at 18%, and that the bulk of new recruits were white as well. "The employment equity figures clearly indicate that it is still early days to call for an end of affirmative action in South Africa," Zuma said. President Kgalema Motlanthe, then still a minister in the presidency, said in August that the government would consider phasing out the programme, but only after careful consideration. In the same month, ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa lamented the fact that the departure of whites from the public service had left a skills vacuum in certain areas.


EEOC Settles Suit for Young Men Who Were Sexually Abused

SEATTLE - Hotel giant WorldMark by Wyndham will pay $370,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the company failed to stop the manager of its Birch Bay Resort in Blaine, Wash., from sexually harassing young male employees.
According to the EEOC’s investigation, the resort manager, male and in his 40s, repeatedly subjected young male employees between the ages of 17 and 25 to unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, comments about their physical appearance, and sexually charged situations.
One of the former employees said, “I was humiliated by what was happening to me at work -- everyone knew and many people just laughed about it. It was really hard to talk about what happened to me, reporting it to the EEOC, but it was worth it. At least now I know it’s not going to happen again to another teenager.”
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed the suit (EEOC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation d/b/a WorldMark by Wyndham, formerly Trendwest Resorts, Inc., No. C07-1531 RSM; Western District of Washington at Seattle) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Under a consent decree filed with the federal court, WorldMark by Wyndham agreed to pay a total of $370,000 to four former employees. The company also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training for managers, supervisors and employees at Birch Bay Resort and to establish policies and procedures to address sexual harassment issues. Wyndham will also report any future discrimination complaints to the EEOC and allow agency to monitor the work site for the next three years.
“The facts in this case are shocking,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Bill Tamayo. “The manager abused his power and exploited the vulnerabilities of a young male staff. Putting teens at risk in this way can devastate their lives and destroy the company’s own credibility. We trust this case sends a message that the EEOC will not tolerate this type of abuse."
EEOC San Francisco District Director Mike Baldonado noted, “The treatment that these young men experienced was inexcusable. I am glad the EEOC was able to ensure that the company has protections in place so this will not happen in the future.”
In September 2004, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp (then vice chair) launched the federal agency’s national Youth@Work Initiative -- a comprehensive outreach and education campaign designed to inform teens about their employment rights and responsibilities and to help employers create positive first work experiences for young adults. The EEOC has held more than 3,700 Youth@Work events nationwide since the program was launched, reaching more than 229,000 students, education professionals, and employers. Further information about the Youth@Work campaign, including how to schedule a free Youth@Work outreach presentation, is available on the agency’s web site at Specific EEOC-related information for teens is available on the Youth@Work web site at
WorldMark by Wyndham (formerly Trendwest) employs several thousand individuals and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE:WYN), the world’s largest hotel franchisor, vacation ownership company and vacation exchange network, which includes chains like Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ramada Inn, Howard Johnson, and others.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC Says County Attempted to Force Out Senior Marine Bureau Police Officers
October 23, 2008

NEW YORK - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that Nassau County on Long Island will pay $450,000 and agree to significant injunctive relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of several police officers in the Marine Bureau.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC asserted that Nassau County discriminated against Lawrence Coleman, Arthur D’Alessandro, Robert Macaulay, and Joseph Petrella (charging parties) in violation of the Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA). Specifically, EEOC states that on or about July 27, 2006, the county transferred the charging parties out of their Marine Bureau positions and into precincts that were less desirable and replaced them with younger officers.
As a result of the discriminatory transfers, Coleman and Macaulay were forced out of their jobs (constructively discharged) and D’Alessandro and Petrella continued to work in precincts that were less favorable to them. The charging parties’ files contained numerous positive commendations from the public throughout their employment with Nassau County. Moreover, their files contained no negative performance evaluations prior to their transfer or at any time.
“Employers must be mindful of age discrimination and take steps to prevent it, particularly with the graying of the labor force,” said EEOC New York District Director Spencer Lewis. “All individuals deserve the freedom to compete in the workplace based on merit and ability, regardless of age.”
The consent decree resolving the litigation provides $450,000 in total for the charging parties as well as injunctive relief, including anti-discrimination training for more than 400 supervisors and managers in the Nassau County Police Department. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on September 24, 2007 (Civil Action No. 07 CV 3980), after the EEOC investigated the case, found that discrimination had occurred, and attempted to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.
“The EEOC hopes this settlement encourages employers to think twice before subtly or overtly pushing senior employees towards retirement in order to save money, or for any other illegal purpose based on age,” said Sunu P. Chandy, the EEOC attorney on the case.
Arthur D’Alessandro, one of the charging parties added, “This experience has been disheartening and embarrassing to our reputations. We all dedicated our lives to this profession and we deserve to be treated with dignity instead of being humiliated in this way. We appreciate the efforts of the EEOC staff that spent many hours resolving our case. It is good to know that because of the efforts of this agency, others in our position will not be treated this way.”
During Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 19,103 age discrimination charge filings, a 15% increase from the prior year and the largest annual increase since FY 2002. The Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.
The EEOC also enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin and disability. Further information is available on EEOC’s web site at


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
October 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced the federal agency will hold a symposium with the National Partnership for Women and Families to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA) at 1201 16th St., NW.

The keynote address on the history of the PDA will be presented by Wendy Williams, a law professor at Georgetown University. Professor Williams is well known for her work in the area of gender and law, especially concerning issues of work and family, and is the co-author of a recent casebook on gender and law. She helped draft and testified before Congressional committees on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Her address will be followed by two moderated panel discussions:
Panel I – “Pregnancy Discrimination Today”Kevin Russell, ModeratorPartner, Howe & Russell, P.C.; instructor, Stanford University Law School, SupremeCourt Litigation Clinic, and the Harvard Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
“Current PDA Litigation”Elizabeth GrossmanRegional Attorney, New York District Office, EEOC
“Statistical Analysis of Pregnancy Discrimination Charges”Jocelyn FryeGeneral Counsel, National Partnership for Women & Families
“Stereotypes of Pregnant Women/Use of Testers in the PDA”Eden KingProfessor, George Mason University
Panel II – “Future Issues in Pregnancy Discrimination”Carolyn Wheeler, ModeratorAssistant General Counsel, Appellate Services DivisionOffice of General Counsel, EEOC
“The Face to the Case – Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination”Melvina FordExecutive Director, D.C. Employment Justice Center
“Caregiving Discrimination”Cynthia CalvertCo-Director, Project on Attorney Retention, Deputy Director & General Counsel of WorkLifeLaw at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, and solo practitioner inMaryland counseling small businesses.
“Work-Life Family Balance”Donna KleinCEO, Corporate Voices for Working Families, a national business membership organizationrepresenting the private sector on public policy issues involving working families.
“Future Legal Issues”Jocelyn SamuelsVice President, Educational and Employment OpportunitiesNational Women’s Law Center
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the Commission is available on its web site at
Founded in 1971, the National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses public education and advocacy to promote fairness in the workplace, quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family.

Minority Firms Vying for Piece of Bailout

Treasury Department to review use of firms as it doles out work
Sheri Qualters

Minority- and women-owned law firms are vying for work from the $250 billion bailout plan approved by Congress as the U.S. Treasury Department meets a congressional directive to farm out work to minority and women contractors.Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the Treasury Department will buy loans from banks across the United States under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). It has the authority to appoint companies to manage portfolios of troubled assets.The Treasury Department will evaluate companies applying to manage portfolios of troubled assets partly on how they plan to utilize women- and minority-owned vendors -- including law firms -- as subcontractors, said department spokeswoman Jennifer Zuccarelli."From there we'd determine where we'd need to hire [more] minority- and women-owned firms," Zuccarelli said.Although the act contains no target contracting percentage for minority- and women-owned businesses, it directs the department to develop procedures for including such businesses "to the maximum extent practicable." The Treasury Department hired New York's Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as a legal adviser for the overall implementation of the act. It's unclear at this point whether the department will directly hire minority- and women-owned businesses or mirror the process it is using for the asset managers by requiring Simpson Thacher to find its own subcontractors. [To see the entire story, go to:]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Study Shows Brain’s Reaction Racial Stress

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Current News
Study Shows Brain’s Reaction Racial Stress
By Robin Chen Delos
Oct 24, 2008, 00:36

Racial mistrust affects the brain of Whites and Blacks differently. A new University of South Carolina study finds Black peoples’ brains register stress in response to neutral facial expressions of Whites.

Study researchers Dr. Tawanda Greer and Dr. Jennifer Vendemia used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the brain’s response to stimuli. They specifically targeted areas of the brain that process emotional reactions and decisions.

Researchers showed their participants a series of White and Black adult faces with happy, hostile or neutral expressions. The question for the participants for each photo: can you trust this person to give you directions? Researchers monitored brain activity as they waited for the response from their participants, 11 Blacks and nine Whites.

Blacks and Whites had no major differences in their reactions to happy and hostile faces. But Black participants showed a very high level of stress in the brain when they looked at Whites’ neutral facial expressions.

“The African-American participants pored over the photos of neutral White faces looking for visual cues that would suggest that they could trust the person,” Greer says. “The more intently they looked, the more their stress level increased.”

Greer says “ambiguous” situations involving Whites has been associated with race-related distress for Blacks. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Minority Report

Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated October 24, 2008

I am an African-American woman who has been in academe for approximately 15 years. I have been affiliated with seven predominantly white institutions (two universities in the Ivy League, another private university, a state university, and three junior colleges) in three Northeastern states. The majority of those institutions offered various employment incentives to African-Americans and faculty members from other underrepresented groups in an attempt to diversify their campuses. However, even colleges and universities that take such steps to eliminate racist hiring practices often fail — or refuse — to understand the complexity of retaining faculty members from underrepresented groups. Missing from the institutions' attempts to diversify the campus population is consideration of the lives of those faculty members beyond the classroom and the office.
My own experience is an example. At one point, I was teaching part time at one university while commuting two hours, each way, to a tenured, full-time job at another university. When a position became available at the institution that was closer to home, even though I would have had to apply for tenure again, I was interested in the job because I was eager to end my years of commuting. I met with the department chair over lunch, and she highlighted two incentives for me: a higher salary than I was earning at my current full-time position, and a "promise" that I would get the job because I am black. Although I never like having my race, rather than my Ivy League credentials or my respectable publishing record, considered to be my strongest selling point, I applied for the position and was hired.
And then the institution pretty much washed its hands of me. Other than inviting me to sit on a number of committees that dealt with diversity, the university took a huge step back and allowed me to "settle in" on my own.
I already lived in the area, so unlike many African-American professors who change jobs, I did not face resistance from neighbors when moving into a predominantly white neighborhood, nor was I steered away from those neighborhoods by real-estate agents. But I know that few institutional mechanisms exist to help faculty members like me find housing that is affordable, appropriate, and safe.
I have experienced another common problem: antagonism from white students who feel threatened by professors from minority groups. Some students — both in groups and individually — have confronted me in class, typically with a great deal of hostility and a complete lack of respect. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Supreme Court’s future may hinge on election

Christian Science Monitor
The next president is expected to name at least one new justice to the closely divided court.
October 22, 2008 edition

Whoever is elected president on Nov. 4 is expected to name at least one new justice to the US Supreme Court, and perhaps as many as three.
With the nine-member court closely divided on hot-button issues like abortion, affirmative action, and the death penalty, a change in personnel could set the stage for big changes in the law. Despite such high stakes, the future of the court has yet to emerge as a central election issue.
The justices most likely to retire during the next four years, legal analysts say, are all members of the court’s liberal wing: John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter. That means should John McCain replace a sitting liberal justice with a conservative justice, the balance of power on the court could shift decisively to the right on key issues. On the other hand, should Barack Obama replace a sitting liberal justice with a liberal nominee, the balance of power on the court would likely remain largely unchanged.
But Senator Obama’s first appointment need not be a mere place holder, some analysts say. He could use the nomination to appoint a relatively young, progressive justice capable of going head-to-head with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts for the next 20 to 30 years.
“The long-term trajectory of the court is in play,” says Richard Garnett, a constitutional law professor at Notre Dame. “[Obama] is going to want to appoint the next [William] Brennan or a left-leaning version of John Roberts.”
A list of those mentioned as potential Obama nominees is growing. Among the youngest on that list are Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Harvard Law Prof. Cass Sunstein, and Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Employers Sending More Women on International Assignments

Workforce Management
Gina Ruiz

Employers are sending more female workers on international assignments than ever before, according to a report from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The study looked at 100 multinational companies with about 17,000 male and female employees working overseas. By Gina Ruiz mployers are sending more female workers on international assignments than ever before, according to a report from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The study looked at 100 multinational companies with about 17,000 male and female employees working overseas.
This trend reflects the increasingly global nature of modern companies. Nowhere is this dynamic more palpable than it is in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly China, which reports the greatest rise in number of female assignees.
Survey respondents in the Asia-Pacific region say they have 16 times more females on assignment this year than they did in 2001, according to Mercer principal Yvonne Sonsino.
But this is not the only region experiencing a boom in the number of female assignees. Respondents from North America report having nearly four times as many female assignees, while their European counterparts say they have twice as many.
The trend is expected to continue. Fifty-five percent of respondents anticipate that the number of female assignees will increase steadily over the next five years. Only 4 percent of the survey participants believe the number of female assignees will decline.
For their part, female workers are willing to take on assignments overseas because they can open opportunities for professional advancement. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Poll Shows Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative Should Pass In Colorado


OMAHA, Neb. -- A new poll indicates that a measure on Colorado ballots to end affirmative action will pass by a wide margin.
A similar measure will be on the Nebraska ballot on Nov. 4.
A telephone poll of about 1,000 likely voters taken in October by Quinnipiac University showed the affirmative action question would pass 63 percent to 21 percent.
The measure would bar the state from considering race or gender in any spending or decisions, including college admissions. Similar measures have been passed in California, Michigan and Washington state.
The poll was conducted Oct. 8-12 and has a margin of error of 3 percent.

U-M African-American enrollment increases in wake of Prop. 2

October 20, 2008

Nearly two years after Michigan voters banned the use of affirmative action in college admissions, University of Michigan’s incoming class shows a marked increase of African-Americans — even at a time it has also shrunk the size of its freshman class.
The reason?
Targeted recruitment of underrepresented minorities, said senior vice provost Lester Monts.
“Proposal 2 doesn’t prohibit targeted outreach,” Monts said. “You can target high schools, you can target neighborhoods, and you can even target minority groups,” he said.
Meanwhile, other minority groups lost ground and the portion of white freshman from the United States increased slightly from 65.2 % of the freshman class of 5,783 to 68.5 %.
According to numbers released today, the numbers of African-American students grew from 334 to 374, an increase of 12% at the same time the university, fearing its freshman class had grown too much over the years, thinned its class this year from 5,992 to 5,783.
U-M was ground zero for the debate over Proposal 2 in 2006 because it openly considered race in its admissions process. The measure, passed in 2006, went into effect in January 2007 and — halfway through the admissions process for the fall 2007 class — admissions officers had to stop considering race or gender as a factor.
Opponents of Proposal 2 feared sharp declines in enrollment of underrepresented minorities, but proponents had called the use of affirmative action considerations unfair, saying universities can find other ways to diversity their student bodies.
University officials have said they have been in good position to search for diverse applicants because its admissions process had become increasingly sophisticated over the years, asking candidates things like: Do you work to support your family? Are you a first-generation college student? Do you have dependent children?
They also target specific areas of Michigan.
[To read the entire story, go to: ]

GAO Issues Report On EEOC and OFCCP Pay Discrimination Enforcement

On August 11, 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of the enforcement of pay discrimination laws by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The report entitled, "Women's Earnings: Federal Agencies Should Better Monitor Their Performance in Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Laws," analyzed the equal employment opportunity laws enforced by the EEOC and OFCCP that are intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of compensation, among other prohibited bases. Noting that in 2000, the gender wage gap was 80 percent, and that a portion of that gap was due to discrimination, GAO examined "(1) how EEOC enforces laws addressing gender pay disparities among private sector employers and provides outreach and what is known about its performance, and (2) how Labor enforces laws addressing gender pay disparities among federal contractors and provides outreach and what is known about its performance."

As for EEOC, GAO concluded: "EEOC does not monitor gender pay enforcement efforts under another statute that covers multiple discrimination topics and under which more than half of gender pay charges are filed. As a result, EEOC does not make complete use of available information to help identify trends related to gender pay cases, set agency priorities, or understand how its gender pay enforcement efforts are contributing to overall performance goals relative to other efforts." Similarly, regarding OFCCP, the GAO made the following observations, among others: "[R]egulations require contractors to conduct a self-evaluation of their compensation systems to identify and address gender pay disparities. However, OFCCP's guidance on this is found in different source documents that are not cross-referenced, and its data system lacks a unique code to help the agency easily determine the extent to which contractors are complying with the self-evaluation requirement."

The GAO's recommendations are as follows:

Recommendations for Executive Action
Recommendation: To gauge how well EEOC is carrying out its responsibilities regarding gender pay discrimination, the Chair of the EEOC should devise a cost-effective method to improve its ability to monitor the performance of its gender pay enforcement efforts relative to other areas, using information already captured in its databases and supplementing information already reported.Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To strengthen OFCCP's enforcement and outreach efforts and gauge the performance of those efforts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to evaluate the Westat mathematical model and incorporate lessons learned from the prior model to ensure contractors are appropriately being selected for compliance evaluations and to maximize limited enforcement resources.Agency Affected: Department of Labor Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To strengthen OFCCP's enforcement and outreach efforts and gauge the performance of those efforts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to improve oversight of compliance evaluations for contractors by establishing linkages between relevant and current guidance on conducting compensation self-evaluations and devising a unique violation code to document any non-compliance with the compensation self evaluation requirement.Agency Affected: Department of Labor Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To strengthen OFCCP's enforcement and outreach efforts and gauge the performance of those efforts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to ensure the planned new data system incorporates standardized data entry instructions and adequate internal controls to screen for erroneous, inconsistent, or missing data, and ensures violation codes are correctly entered.Agency Affected: Department of Labor Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To strengthen OFCCP's enforcement and outreach efforts and gauge the performance of those efforts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to develop a cost-effective means for monitoring performance of gender pay enforcement efforts relative to other areas, using information generally already captured in existing databases, once determined reliable.Agency Affected: Department of Labor Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Recommendation: To strengthen OFCCP's enforcement and outreach efforts and gauge the performance of those efforts, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of OFCCP to devise a method for systematically collecting feedback from recipients of outreach and technical assistance and using this information to measure and monitor outreach performance.Agency Affected: Department of Labor Status: In process Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

To read the entire report, go to:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Department of Labor Honors Five for EEO Best Practices

The U.S. Department of Labor hosted its 25th Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Award (EVE) ceremony on October 16, 2008. The EVE awards celebrate efforts to ensure equal employment opportunity in the American workplace. The Exemplary Public Interest Contribution (EPIC) award was established in 1994 to recognize public interest organizations that support equal employment opportunity. The Secretary of Labor's Opportunity Award annually honors one Federal contractor that institutes a comprehensive workforce strategy to ensure equal employment opportunity.

This year, the awardees were:

F-E-G-S Health and Human Services System of New York, is the largest and most diversified private, not-for-profit health-related and human service organization in the United States. This organization was recognized for its innovative EEO Support programs, including the WeCare Division, which helps disabled public assistance applicants and recipients, including veterans, find employment.

Buffalo-Area Engineering Awareness for Minorities, Inc. (BEAM), Buffalo, New York was created to address the projected shortage of minorities and females in the engineering and technical professions. BEAM works with students in four environments including School Clubs, Saturday Academies, Summer Programs and Career Days. BEAM works with 300 to 400 students each year. Many of BEAM's students have gone on to college and careers in the engineering professions.

EVE Awards
CDW Corporation, Vernon Hills, IL, is a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government and educational institutions. CDW has instituted a "comprehensive strategy for creating, fostering and leveraging diversity." CDW's diversity and inclusion initiative, Connections@CDW, aims to create a diverse workforce reflecting CDW's markets, foster an inclusive work environment and leverage diverse perspectives for a competitive advantage. CDW has also formed formal network groups and its recruitment and outreach group is designed to reach diverse audiences. As part of its recruitment efforts, CDW has an applicant tracking system to monitor the tracking and reporting of diversity initiatives.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, ranks among the top academic medical centers in the world. Nearly half of the Center's 10,474 employees are members of minority groups. To increase its diversity at the upper management level, UT Southwestern established a minority internship program to recruit high-caliber college students. UT Southwestern makes good faith efforts to utilize Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). It is ranked as the best medical school for Hispanics in 2007 by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Secretary of Labor's Opportunity Award
Johns Hopkins Health System, founded in 1986 to coordinate its wholly-owned subsidiaries, invests in the careers of its staff and its career programs have led to the promotions of numerous women and minorities while also meeting urgent skills shortages. The System also boasts a program to enable students with disabilities to transition from school to work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Snowe Outraged by Final SBA Women’s Contracting Rule

September 29, 2008
Washington, D.C. -

U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today expressed her deep disappointment and dismay that the Small Business Administration (SBA) will this week publish a final rule that will not effectively implement the congressionally-mandated Women’s Procurement Program
"I find it inexcusable that after wasting nearly eight years before issuing a deeply flawed proposed rule, the SBA has now finalized a rule that will not implement the Women’s Procurement Program as Congress intended," said Senator Snowe. "By issuing a final rule that will potentially assist women-owned businesses in just 31 of 140 industries, the SBA’s final rule amounts to little more than a fig leaf. Women entrepreneurs, who contribute so many jobs to our nation’s economy, deserve a final contracting rule that will actually help them receive their fair share of business with the government. The SBA must reexamine the over 1,700 comments I and others made to its original proposal and come back with a plan to properly establish this program."

SBA’s original proposed rule was fundamentally flawed because it would have only applied to 4 out of 140 business industries. Although the SBA’s new rule may ultimately increase the number of eligible business industries from 4 to just 31, this still falls far short of enabling women-owned businesses to fairly and fully compete for federal contracts.

Under present law, the Federal government has a 5 percent women’s contracting goal. To help address the underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs in the government marketplace, Congress in 2000 established the Women’s Procurement Program. For almost eight years, the SBA has failed to appropriately execute this initiative. Notably, in Fiscal Year 2006, women-owned businesses were only awarded 3.4 percent of Federal contracting dollars, resulting in the failure to meet the 5 percent government-wide contracting goal by nearly 33 percent.

On February 7, 2008, Senators Snowe and Dole introduced the "Small Business Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act" (S. 2608), which would amend the Small Business Act to address the fundamental flaws in the SBA’s proposed rule.

Female senators ask SBA to fix women's program

Pacific Business News
Monday, September 29th 2008

All 16 female U.S. senators signed a letter asking the Small Business Administration to either improve or withdraw a proposed regulation establishing a new federal contracting program for women-owned businesses.
The SBA's proposed rule would set aside contracts for women in only four industries and would require federal agencies to find they had discriminated against women in the past. The SBA contends these restrictions are necessary in order for the program to withstand legal scrutiny.
Past court rulings have required that procurement programs benefiting certain groups should be narrowly tailored and apply only to victims of actual discrimination.
Legislation enacted in late 2000 directed the SBA to establish a program that sets aside federal contracts for women-owned businesses in industries where women have been underrepresented.
"I find it inexcusable that after wasting well over seven years before issuing any proposal whatsoever, the SBA is now apparently seeking to finalize a defective rule with few, if any, improvements," said Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the ranking Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. "The SBA should either propose drastic enhancements that reflect the intent of Congress or simply allow the next administration to address this critical issue." [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Closing the gap for equal pay

Equal pay for equal work is supposed to be the law, but hurdles remain for women
By Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 10/13/2008 08:33:46 AM MDT

More than four decades after the Equal Pay Act made it illegal to pay men and women different wages for the same work, the fight over equal pay rages once again.
Although the wage gap has narrowed since the days when full-time working women made 58 cents on average to the dollar earned by men, women's wages have remained stuck at 77 cents to the dollar since 2001, according to government statistics.
"At the rate the pay gap is closing, it will still be decades before women achieve equal pay," said Linda Meric of Westminster, executive director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, who founded the Colorado chapter in 1996. "That is unacceptable. It's time to take action now to close the pay gap."
While the statistics

Click on image to enlarge. on the pay gap come from a variety of sources — including the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — there remain questions about whether the numbers paint a true picture of the pay situation.
"It's misleading and bad for women to be told that they're only making three-quarters of what a man makes," said Carrie Lukas, vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women's Forum in Washington, D.C. "They are being told they're victims of discrimination when often that's not the case."
The wage gap results from personal choices, she believes: women on average take more time out of the labor force; men assume more high-risk jobs than women; and women are less likely than men to negotiate a starting salary and to ask for raises.
A new study on Colorado's wage gap shows that it persists across all education levels, and in jobs held predominantly by men and those held predominantly by women.
And as Lukas suggests, the gap is worse for mothers both in Colorado and nationally. But national statistics compiled by the American Association of University Women also show women start out behind men after college and never make up the ground regardless of whether they have children.
Fresh case sheds new light
The issue of pay equity has been on a long, slow boil for decades — at least among women who either know or suspect they are paid less than their male counterparts.
But it grabbed the limelight recently, in part because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that women who don't learn of the pay disparity until months after they're hired have little legal recourse.
Three pay-equity bills are pending in Congress. Colorado has created the Pay Equity Commission, which recently released a report on the problem and listed some causes and solutions.
Colleen Abdoulah, an executive in Englewood, did not wait for legal action. Twice in her telecom career, she took the course that many experts say women must take if they are going to close the gap: She got the facts and negotiated. [To see the entire story, go to: ]

Monday, October 13, 2008

AAAA's President Advises DiversityInc Magazine on Top Colleges and Universities

In the October 2008 issue, DiversityInc Magazine featured the five top colleges and universities for diversity management. Among the advisors for the survey was AAAA President Renee S. Dunman, who serves as assistant to the president and director of equal opportunity/affirmative action at Old Dominion University. Among the five top colleges and universities are: Cornell, Duke, Kean and Rutgers Universities and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

DiversityInc Magazine expressed disappointment that colleges and universities were "Nowhere near the level of private industry in implementing or measuring diversity management." The magazine surveyed 606 public and private four-year colleges and universities for their diversity management. Only 15 of these institutions completed its 91 question survey. According to Diversityinc., the five institutions "showed a consistent high level commitment to diversity in the four areas surveyed: (1) Human Capital (racial/ethnic/gender demographics of students and faculty); (2) President/Chief Academic Officer commitment; (3) Communications, including diversity training, surveys and employee resource groups; and (4) Supplier Diversity, including percentage and dollar amounts for contractors.

To read the entire story, go to or click on: (subscription required)

The Complex Mandate of a Chief Diversity Officer

The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated September 26, 2008

Perhaps more than any other top campus administrator, the chief diversity officer is a lightning rod for criticism. Of course, some people simply oppose efforts to increase access, equity, multiculturalism, and inclusion. But even people committed to diversity can object to the presence of these officers.
Some critics believe that hiring a chief diversity officer removes the responsibility for diversity and inclusion from the university's president, other leaders, faculty members, and the campus as a whole. The institution now has a "diversity messiah," who is singularly responsible for advancing campus-diversity efforts and is nothing more than a symbolic figurehead.
Others believe that, in the interest of political correctness, the officer will encourage the admission of students who are not well qualified, and the hiring of faculty members whose scholarship does not meet the institution's standards. Many of those criticisms stem from an incomplete or misguided understanding of the context, mission, and role of the chief diversity officer.
It seems likely that change and diversity will be permanent characteristics of the 21st century. The rise of the global economy has led to corporations' seeking employees from different backgrounds and experiences who can work with and lead diverse groups. Social-science research reveals changing demographics and demonstrates the importance of diversity to learning and organizational performance.
Campus-diversity efforts are no longer important simply because they are morally right, a continuation of the civil-rights movement. Diversity efforts are important because they are fundamental to quality and excellence in the world in which we live today. Moreover, diversity is more than a black-and-white binary; it now includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, religion, and a host of other dimensions.
Indeed, if we apply that broad definition of diversity, an examination of many academic institutions shows dozens if not hundreds of offices, initiatives, programs, courses, and scholarships designed to reach ever-expanding institutional diversity goals. To maximize those efforts, the strategic leadership of a chief diversity officer is more important than ever.
One of the key findings of our research on the role of campus diversity officers is that no officer alone can singularly direct campus-diversity efforts; collaboration is essential. Anyone who envisions the officer as leading a cavalry charge like John Wayne is missing the importance of building a consensus and relationships. While some officers may have several units under their direct authority, none has full responsibility for all academic hiring, curriculum development, and the myriad of other areas related to an institution's diversity agenda. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Diversity and Merit: How One University Rewards Faculty Work That Promotes Equity

The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated September 26, 2008

Any university that is seriously committed to equity must value faculty contributions to diversity made through teaching, research, and service. If diversity is truly part of the core academic mission, it should be included in the criteria used to evaluate and reward faculty achievement. Toward this end, the faculty of the University of California's 10-campus system, through the Academic Senate, has recently developed amendments to the instructions for faculty-review committees that give recognition to faculty work promoting diversity and equal opportunity.
The system's policy on faculty appointment and promotion calls for the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service. The amended policy states: "The University of California is committed to excellence and equity in every facet of its mission. Teaching, research, professional and public service contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity are to be encouraged and given recognition in the evaluation of the candidate's qualifications."
The policy articulates examples in each area of faculty evaluation, stating: "These contributions to diversity and equal opportunity can take a variety of forms, including efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the needs of California's diverse population, or research in a scholar's area of expertise that highlights inequalities."
The new policy language acknowledges the history of exclusion that has created lasting disparities in higher education and society as a whole. It recognizes that these disparities are public problems that can and should be addressed by the teaching, research, and service work of the University of California's faculty members.
Some faculty members have objected to considering contributions to diversity in the evaluation process, citing the imposition of "political correctness" and limitations on academic freedom. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Why There Still Aren't Enough Asian-American College Presidents

The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated September 26, 2008

At age 5, my grandson understood fair play. If he didn't get his turn, he'd cry, "No fair!" As caring adults, we intercede when we see children ignore or gang up on another child — we tell them, "No fair!"
Nearly 10 years ago, I wrote an essay for The Chronicle on the underrepresentation of Asian-Americans in academic leadership, especially in institutions and disciplines that have a high percentage of students and faculty members of Asian or Pacific Island ancestry. There have been changes over the past 10 years, but have things changed much for Asian-Americans? What I have found is disappointing. No fair?
Our history has many unfortunate examples of unfairness, in spite of our American democratic ideals. The anti-Asian laws of the 1800s and 1900s are an example. I first experienced discrimination as a toddler, when I was incarcerated along with about 120,000 other citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Our Constitutional rights were suspended, and we lost everything because of who we were, not what we had done. After the war, we returned to shame, hatred, angry neighbors, and people unwilling to hire us, and we had to start all over again. We had lost homes, cars, household goods, photo albums, and family heirlooms. My father's response was this: "Get an education. Nobody can take that away from you."
Then came the wars in Korea and Vietnam. All three Asian wars created a population of war-affected families and communities. It is easy to hate or suspect anybody who looks like the enemy.
We are still looked upon as foreigners by many, and as being homogeneous. The Committee of 100, a Chinese organization, did a survey in 2000 to find out if people could differentiate among the major Asian groups in the United States. They could not. No matter what your country or culture of origin, you are simply an Asian. Now there is much greater diversity within the Asian demographic category, with people from Southeast Asia, the Asian subcontinent, and other areas. Many in the newer groups are still working through first-generation language, cultural, and economic issues. I am pleased with the changes that resulted from the civil-rights struggles of the 1960s, but that work is never finished. ...

In the fall of 2007, 18.3 percent of California State's 358,531 undergraduate students identified themselves as being of Asian/Filipino/Pacific Island ethnicity. Yet none of the system's 23 presidents fell into that category as of August 2008. (There was one such president back in 1999.) There are three African-American and four Hispanic/Latino presidents. Asian groups are likewise underrepresented in the upper academic posts that typically lead to presidencies — there are no academic vice presidents from their ranks, although there are three nonacademic vice presidents. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Asian-Americans: the Unbearable Whiteness of Being?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated September 26, 2008

In his memoir, the author Eric Liu reflects on being the bearer of a strange new status — "white, by acclamation." He writes in The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker (Random House, 1998), "Some are born white, others achieve whiteness, still others have whiteness thrust upon them."
Asian-Americans, it seems, are experiencing the last fate. Just as previous "outsiders" — such as the Irish and the Jews — have been incorporated into our collective notions of who is white, some scholars and policy makers believe that Asian-Americans are following such a trajectory of inclusion under an expanded definition of "whiteness."
The sociologist George Yancey, in Who Is White? Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack Divide (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003), argues that Asian-Americans, along with some Latinos, are undergoing significant levels of structural, marital, and identificational assimilation. He draws upon survey data to illustrate that the social attitudes of Asian-Americans on a number of issues are closer to those of whites than blacks. Yancey believes that a black/nonblack divide is emerging in the United States as Asian-Americans and Latinos become "white" and blacks continue to endure a specific form of what he calls racial "alienation."
The question of whether Asian-Americans are becoming white is a complex one. Ostensibly regarded as a "racial minority," Asian-Americans are nonetheless not seen as a "disadvantaged" or "underrepresented" one. The popular belief is that Asian-Americans do not directly experience racial discrimination nor incur social disadvantages by race. Drawing upon select social and economic indicators, it is argued that Asian-Americans have achieved parity with whites with respect to income and levels of education and, correspondingly, have distanced themselves from other groups of color.
Higher education proves an oft-cited example: While Asian-Americans compose less than 5 percent of the U.S. population, a sizable and increasingly visible percentage of students at elite private and public universities throughout the country are Asian-American. In California, such students make up 24 percent of the undergraduate population at Stanford, 39 percent at UCLA, and 42 percent at Berkeley.
While the reported averages for median family income, rates of poverty, and levels of education are relatively high for Asian-Americans compared with other groups, the indicators mask the internal diversity within the socially constructed group. Asian-Americans exhibit a bimodal pattern; some Asian ethnic groups (notably East Asians like Chinese and Japanese) are doing quite well economically, but others (Southeast Asians like the Hmong and Cambodians) are mired in poverty. Such heterogeneity, however, is often glossed over in the literature in favor of deploying a broad, panethnic category.
Of the key social and cultural indicators evoked, the most popularly cited indicator that Asian-Americans are becoming "white" has been the high rates of Asian-American intermarriage with whites. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Too early for affirmative action to come to an end

The Times (South Africa)
Jimmy Manyi
October 12, 2008

It is not uncommon to hear the critics of affirmative action citing the continued plight of the rural poor, and the disproportionate benefit that a few of the elite have gained from the process, as indications that employment equity programmes are failing.
The purpose of employment equity is to achieve racial diversity in the workplace in such a way that it reflects the demographics and values of the wider society. Employment equity is not a medicine for all the social and economic ills of the country.
Yes, indeed, affirmative action may be a race-based strategy, but it is aimed at achieving a race-blind end. If you remove the race criteria of affirmative action, it would be tantamount to denying that apartheid targeted black people.
For the purposes of the Employment Equity Act, the end state has been defined to mean the equitable representation of an economic active population (EAP) in terms of all the race groups.
In the September 2007 Labour Force Survey, the EAP within the various race groups was as follows: Africans (74,8%) coloureds (10,3%), Indians (2,8%) and whites (12,1%). Within these numbers, the act requires that gender be tracked separately, which resulted in the following EAPs for women: Africans (34,4%), coloureds (5,0%), Indians (1,0%) and whites (5,4%).
In terms of the provisions of the act, these percentages should be reflected at all levels and across all categories.
It is against this background that the 2007 snapshot of progress, or lack thereof, should be measured.
In understanding this data, it is crucial to point out that it is only designated employers — both public and private sector — that are participants in this game. These are sizeable employers with a prescribed number of employees and turnover. Needless to point out, the act does not apply to spaza shops, street hawkers and one-man-band operations .
If one draws a trend line from 2003 to 2007/8, it is very depressing to note that at the level of top management, Africans are 18,8% against an EAP of 74,8%; coloureds are at 3,9% against an EAP of 10,3%; Indians are 6,1% against an EAP of 2,8%; and whites dominate at a whopping 68% against an EAP of only 12,1%.
It therefore defies logic that a sunset clause on affirmative action is even being discussed.
Figures also show that white women, in particular, have been the main beneficiaries of the act. This over-representation of white women leads one to conclude that because the gatekeepers are almost exclusively white, perhaps they can only see merit in their own kind. [To see the entire article, go to: ]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Is Affirmative Action in Decline or Out of Control?

October 9, 2008

With voters in Colorado and Nebraska preparing to vote on proposals to bar affirmative action, supporters and defenders of the consideration of race in admissions decisions are releasing new research to bolster their positions.
The Center for Equal Opportunity — a group that has worked for years to bar the consideration of race and ethnicity — on Wednesday issued findings about admissions to the law school at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Those data show significant race and ethnicity gaps in the LSAT scores and college grades of applicants who were admitted in recent years to the law school.
At the same time, two sociologists have just published an analysis suggesting that affirmative action is in decline — and has never been as widespread as some imagine in states that have barred the use of race in admissions decisions.
‘The Declining Significance of Race’
For all the debate about the consideration of race in admissions, and the Supreme Court’s ruling that colleges may continue to do so (in some circumstances), a new article in the American Journal of Education (University of Chicago Press) builds on earlier research by the authors to show that affirmative action is in decline in American higher education.
Eric Grodsky of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Demetra Kalogrides of the University of California at Davis have been analyzing data from the College Board on colleges’ admissions policies and have previously documented that since 1995, the percentage of colleges considering race has been falling — regardless of the impact of various state bans on affirmative action.
Their new study builds on this research, and finds that affirmative action — far from being as widespread in higher education as its critics portray — isn’t the norm. By 2003, only about one third of private colleges nationally and of public institutions without legal prohibitions on affirmative action said that they considered race in admissions, the study finds.
In addition, they note that the prevalence of affirmative action isn’t necessarily a cause for the movement to abolish it. In 1986, prior to the state bans that started to appear because of court rulings and referendums, 44 percent of colleges in states that would eventually ban affirmative action said that they considered race in admissions. In the rest of the country, that percentage was 57 percent.
That institutions pulled back in both groups of states isn’t surprising, the authors write, even though colleges in most states didn’t face the direct necessity to do so. “As the legal environment changes, or even as it is perceived to change, risk-averse institutions may simply abandon or repackage their affirmative action programs to avoid scrutiny, abandoning race-conscious admissions as one component of a broader effort to continue to attract diverse classes of students.” [To read the entire story, go to: ]

NU officials dispute anti-affirmative action report

The University of Nebraska College of Law discriminates against white students because it has admitted black and Hispanic students with inferior grades and test scores, concludes a study by an anti-affirmative action group. The report, released Wednesday by the Center for Equal Opportunity, says a minority student with a score of 150 on the standard law school entrance exam has a markedly higher chance of admission than a white student with that score."Most Americans don't like discrimination . . . whether it's of the old-fashioned variety or discrimination of the politically correct variety, as well,'' said Roger Clegg, president of the Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity.School leaders scoff at that conclusion, noting that the vast majority of NU law students are white -- for example, six black students are in the first-year law class of 146. The school also gives preferences to rural Nebraskans, those who speak two languages and applicants involved in music and art, they say."We can better discuss foreign affairs if we admit students from other countries,'' said Steve Willborn, the law school's dean. "We can better discuss sports law if we admit a college athlete. And we can better discuss race-based police practices if we admit African Americans."We cheat all our students if we aren't allowed to take these sorts of things into consideration,'' he said.The skirmish over the law school's admissions practices is one battleground in a higher education war over whether universities should ever weigh a student's race and gender when giving out scholarships and admitting students.Nebraska voters are likely to decide the outcome on Election Day, when the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, which would ban race-, ethnicity- and genderbased affirmative action, will be on the ballot.If the ban passes, university officials worry that numerous university programs to recruit and improve the academic standing of minority and female students will need to be changed or discontinued.An NU Medical Center summer institute for black Virginia college students could be in jeopardy, a UNMC vice chancellor says. A University of Nebraska at Omaha program that pairs black students with local businesspeople would need to be altered or ended, says the UNO business school dean. And all reference to race, ethnicity and gender would have to be deleted. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

New Law to Prosecute Civil-Rights Era Crimes

Washington Afro
October 2008

Legislation that would empower the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute Civil Rights-era crimes was signed into law Tuesday.

The bill, known as the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, was named after an African-American teenager who was mutilated and murdered for allegedly whistling at a White woman while on a summer vacation in Money, Miss., in 1955. The case remains unsolved today and his death helped propel the modern Civil Rights Movement.
After passing the House 422-2 in June 2007, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Sept. 24 and was signed Tuesday by President Bush. The unprecedented bill authorizes the attorney general to spend $10 million annually over 10 years to investigate and prosecute cold cases from past years.
Deborah J. Vagins of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Legislative Counsel said the bill comes at a time when “witnesses and suspects are aging and physical evidence may be scant,” but proves that justice will be delayed and not denied in the resolution of civil rights crimes and violations. [To read the entire story, go to: ]

Friday, October 10, 2008

AAAA WEBINAR: "The EEOC, OFCCP and 'Systemic Discrimination': New Enforcement Techniques and How Employers Should Respond"

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

The EEOC, OFCCP and “Systemic Discrimination”: New Enforcement Techniques and How Employers Should Respond

Mickey Silberman
Attorney at Law
Jackson Lewis LLP

For years, the OFCCP has been changing its focus from affirmative action compliance to “systemic discrimination.” That transformation recently was formalized with the OFCCP’s new Active Case Management Directive, published a few weeks ago. And the OFCCP is not alone - the EEOC has greatly increased its focus on systemic discrimination. The EEOC’s Systemic Discrimination Task Force report – published in 2005 and implemented during 2007 and 2008 – already is having a profound impact on the way EEOC investigates discrimination charges and changes the way employers need to respond. This webinar will explain the recent enforcement developments and provide practical, “real world” strategies for responding to those changes.




Justices Decline to Review Jury Award in EEOC Case on Behalf of Deaf Worker
October 8, 2008

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that the Supreme Court has denied a petition for review by Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding a $100,000 punitive damages award in an EEOC lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of a deaf package handler.

On March 2, 2006, a federal jury in Baltimore found in favor of the EEOC in its lawsuit against FedEx for violating the ADA. The EEOC had charged the Memphis, Tenn.-based global shipping giant with failing to provide reasonable accommodations to Ronald Lockhart, a profoundly deaf employee who worked as a package handler at the company's Baltimore Ramp, which is located at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The EEOC’s suit charged FedEx with violating the ADA by failing to provide Lockhart with American Sign Language interpreters and notes for mandatory employee meetings and trainings, despite his repeated requests for these accommodations.

The evidence at trial showed that FedEx delayed for nearly two years in providing reasonable accommodations to Lockhart, refusing to do so even for meetings in which critical safety information was provided shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax attacks. The evidence also showed that although FedEx eventually provided Lockhart with some accommodations after he filed a charge of disability discrimination with the EEOC, the company never provided accommodations in a consistent or reliable manner.

The jury found FedEx liable for punitive damages in the amount of $100,000 as well as compensatory damages to Lockhart of $8,000. The EEOC's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Maryland on September 30, 2004 (Case No. 04 CV-3129), after the agency first attempted to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

The Fourth Circuit, in a unanimous decision published at 513 F.2d 360, upheld the jury’s punitive damages award on January 23, 2008. The court held that the jury was entitled to find that FedEx acted with reckless indifference to Lockhart’s federal protected rights, thereby satisfying the standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Kolstad v. American Dental Association, 527 U.S. 526 (1999). The Fourth Circuit further held that “the mere existence of an ADA compliance policy will not alone insulate an employer from punitive damages liability.”

FedEx filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court on April 22, 2008. In opposing Supreme Court review on the EEOC’s behalf, the Solicitor General said in the federal government’s brief that the Fourth Circuit “properly reviewed” the punitive damages award “within the parameters” of Kolstad and that the appeals court’s approach “is also consistent with that used in other circuits.”

“As the Court recognized in Kolstad, the recklessness standard ensures that employers will not be held liable for punitive damages when they attempt in good faith to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law,” the federal government’s brief said. In this case, however, the jury specifically found that FedEx managers did not respond in “good faith” when Lockhart requested accommodations, the government pointed out. “[U]nder Kolstad, a jury may find that an employer that is fully aware of the ADA's requirements, but disregards the risk that its inaction will violate those requirements, has acted recklessly and is therefore susceptible to punitive damages,” the government said. “The court of appeals properly applied that principle here.”

Proceedings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit were handled by Assistant General Counsel Lorraine C. Davis and Appellate Attorneys Davis L. Kim and Susan R. Oxford of the EEOC Office of General Counsel’s Appellate Services Division. The EEOC was represented in the U.S. Supreme Court by the Office of the Solicitor General.

“The jury verdict in this case, the unanimous Fourth Circuit decision upholding the verdict, and the Supreme’s Court’s decision that further review is unwarranted, amply demonstrate that employers risk exposure to punitive damages when they ignore the ADA’s requirement to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair of the agency’s Philadelphia District. McNair headed the trial team along with EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Debra M. Lawrence and Trial Attorneys Maria Luisa Morocco and Stephanie Marino.

Title I of the ADA, enforced by the EEOC, prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments. In Fiscal Year 2007, the EEOC received 17,734 charge filings alleging disability discrimination, up 14% from the prior year to the highest level in a decade. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Falling Behind

Inside Higher Ed
October 9, 2008

The latest generation of adults in the United States may be the first since World War II, and possibly before that, not to attain higher levels of education than the previous generations. While white and Asian American young people are outpacing previous generations, the gaps for other minority groups are large enough that the current generation is, on average, heading toward being less educated than its predecessor.

These data are among the most dramatic in “Minorities in Higher Education 2008,” which is being released today by the American Council on Education as the 23rd annual status report on the diversification of American colleges and universities.

Most of the data in the report are not themselves new, and come from the various reports issued over the year by the U.S. Education Department and other government and private sources. The educational attainment data, for example, are from census figures. But the report groups various statistics together in ways that are designed to promote a fuller understanding of the way demographics are changing — or not.

“We are at a tipping point in our nation’s history,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the ACE, in reference to these findings. She said that “the alarm bells should be going off” all over the country over this analysis, given the historic pattern of successive generations outperforming one another.

Educational Attainment: Percentage of Adults With Associate Degree or Higher, 2006

Ages 25-29
Ages 30 and Up





Asian American

American Indians

Broad noted that the data also point to a growing gender gap in educational attainment, which is consistent with all of the reports about gender gaps in enrollments. For black and Latino women, for example, the most recent generation outperformed the prior ones, but the opposite is true for men. And across racial and ethnic groups, women are achieving a higher level of education than men.

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Supreme Court Hears Environmental, Employment Discrimination Cases

Thursday October 9, 3:02 am ET
Tony Mauro, Legal Times

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in what may be its top environmental and employment discrimination cases of the term, and from the tenor of the debates, the verdict seems to be: whales, dolphins and employers will lose....

[I]n the employment case, Crawford v. Nashville and Davidson County, lawyers for a Nashville, Tenn., school employee and for the Bush administration appeared to persuade the Court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from retaliation even when they complain about sexual harassment during an internal investigation -- before any formal charges are made....

In the employment case, the Court has in recent years been favorable to claims by those who suffer retaliation for complaining about Title VII workplace discrimination in the context of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigations. But the case before the Court involves the firing of someone who complained about sexual harassment during an internal investigation before any EEOC charges were filed -- a not uncommon scenario.

Vicky Crawford, the Nashville school employee in the case, complained about a supervisor's lewd behavior in an interview with a human resources department official, but made no formal charges and was later fired. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that she was not protected from retaliation because her complaints did not amount to the kind of "active opposition" to school policies that Title VII requires.

University of Washington School of Law professor Eric Schnapper, a veteran advocate for employees in civil rights cases, argued strenuously that the law covers Crawford's situation because in making her complaints, she was actively objecting to her employers' conduct....

Noting that Crawford had told her harasser to "get the hell out of my office," [Justice] Stevens said, "That's an active opposition, it seems."

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“Racism Without Racists” Is Twisted Logic

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
October 9, 2008
By Dr. Pamela Reed

There is an astonishing theoretical perspective taking hold in the American academy, and working its way down into the mainstream. And if it remains unchallenged, it seems that it is well on its way to becoming an accepted tenet. It is the bizarre idea that, while racism is alive and well in America — to the continued detriment of non-White peoples and the entire nation — most of the people who continue to perpetuate the discriminatory practices necessary for racism to persist — be they political, social, economic or otherwise — are not racists. They just subconsciously harbor racist sentiments and consistently practice racism.

This may be a notion that defies logic, but it is, nonetheless, the face of today’s decidedly amorphous racial discrimination. This perplexing theory of human behavior is laid out in the 2006 book by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, and is referenced by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in his recent column, “Racism without Racists.” Psychologists call this phenomenon “aversive racism.”

The Kristof piece opens with the following declaration: “One of the fallacies this election season is that if Barack Obama is paying an electoral price for his skin tone, it must be because of racists. On the contrary, the evidence is that Senator Obama is facing what scholars have dubbed ‘racism without racists (emphasis added).’”

To make his point, Kristof directs attention to the recently completed joint study by Stanford University, Yahoo and The Associated Press. He reasons that most White people, like the three in ten Democrats who indicated that they will vote for John McCain — basically because they cannot bring themselves to vote for a Black man for President — are “well-meaning Whites who believe in racial equality … yet who discriminate unconsciously.” They are not to be confused with the “dyed-in-the-wool racists” who comprise an estimated 10 percent of the American populace. What a puzzling concept.

Nicholas Kristof is a brilliant columnist, and no doubt a fine man, but this must be one of the biggest accommodations ever, albeit unconscious. And this brings to the fore what I believe is the existential dilemma that will ultimately determine the fate of this great nation. Fundamentally, either we believe in racial equality or we don’t. Exclamation point.

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