Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quinnipiac's female athletes granted class action status
Michael P. Mayko, Staff Writer
Published: 10:53 p.m., Monday, May 24, 2010

BRIDGEPORT -- The discrimination case brought against Quinnipiac University by female athletes got bigger Monday.
U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill made it a class action case ruling that "all present, prospective and future female students at Quinnipiac University who have been harmed by and want to end" sex discrimination in the allocation of athletic opportunities, financial assistance or benefits provided to varsity athletes may seek to join the case.
Underhill will try the case, without a jury, on June 21.

Full Story:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hooters Sued for Weight Discrimination

Wall Street Journal Blog
May 24, 2010, 1:28 PM ET
By Nathan Koppel

It’s news to us, but evidently weight discrimination is a cause of action, at least in Michigan.
Hooters was sued today in Michigan for allegedly violating a state law that bars discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, age, sex, height and, yes, weight. (Here’s a copy of the law.)

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'Address affirmative action in pvt sector'

Times of India
Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN, May 26, 2010, 01.23am IST

NEW DELHI: The social justice ministry is unhappy with the lack of movement in bringing affirmative action to the private sector, a flagship promise of Congress in UPA-1. Social justice minister Mukul Wasnik has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a review of efforts made in this direction. In his letter, he outlined steps taken to persuade industry to accept preferential employment policies for SCs/STs which essentially have not counted for much. The PM on Monday told reporters that there was a need to create an atmosphere which would let industry and trade help the government in affirmative action. The comment, however, came in the backdrop of the Centre's failure to bring industry around to join in positive discrimination despite the big assurance of not imposing job reservations by legislation.

Full Story:

Chicago waits for next step in firefighter case

Associated Press

CHICAGO — The city of Chicago says it's ready to hire firefighters in a long-running discrimination case if it's ordered to do so now that the U.S. Supreme Court has found a group of black applicants didn't wait too long to sue.
The Supreme Court's decision Monday sent the case back to a lower court. Mara Georges, the city of Chicago's corporation counsel, said the city plans to hire the would-be firefighters if the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago determines it should. City officials say about 111 recruits could be employed.

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See also: New York Times: "Black Firefighters’ Claim Was Timely, Justices Say", May 24, 2010,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Orkin Pest Control Sued By EEOC For Age And Religious Discrimination In Hiring And Advertising

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Agency Says Company Refused to Hire Older Workers and Advertised for Mormon Applicants
PHOENIX – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing pest control company Orkin of discriminatory hiring practices in denying jobs to older workers and favoring Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) (Mormon) applicants, particularly returned missionaries. The EEOC also charged that Orkin retaliated against an applicant who complained to the company’s corporate headquarters about the alleged discrimination.
According to the EEOC’s suit against of Orkin L.L.C., and Orkin Inc., doing business as Orkin Pest Control, (Case No. ), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Orkin discriminated during the hiring process against Thomas Kokezas, as well as a class of individuals based on their age, over 40, or religion, non-Mormon. The EEOC’s complaint alleges that Orkin advertised on Craig’s List for a recruiter “to assist in hiring LDS missionaries for seasonal employ­ment” and stating that the summer position was great for “RMs,” which stands for “returned missionaries,” who tend to be in their 20s. According to the EEOC, such advertising was illegal because it shows a preference for a particular religion, and also a preference for younger workers. In addition, EEOC alleges that the discrimination apparent from the advertisements became a reality when Orkin filled the summer jobs with applicants in their 20s, most of whom were LDS/Mormon.
The EEOC lawsuit arose out of a charge of discrimination filed by Kokezas, who responded to the Orkin ads on Craig’s List. EEOC alleges that Orkin’s agent asked Kokezas his age, then cut the interview short after learning Kokezas was 51. According to EEOC’s complaint, in a subsequent call, Orkin’s agent admitted that he asked all applicants their age. Kokezas then called Orkin’s corporate office to complain about the company’s discriminatory hiring practices, and was referred to other managers, but was never hired or even allowed to submit an application, which, the EEOC alleges, was in retaliation for his complaints. According to the EEOC, instead of hiring Kokezas, one of Orkin’s agents, Brandon McNeil, selected a group of applicants who were all in their 20s and predominantly LDS members.
Such alleged discrimination violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits age-based discrimination by employers against individuals age 40 or older, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of religion.
“Employers must be vigilant in providing equal employment opportunities for all applicants regardless of their age or religion,” said EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “They must not rely on age-based stereotypes about older workers or act based on favoritism toward appli­cants of a particular religious denomination. Employers cannot recruit and hire employees based upon religion unless the employer is a‘religious organization’ as defined by Title VII, or isseeking employees for ministerial positions.”
EEOC Acting Phoenix District Director Rayford Irvin said, “The explicit discrimination evidenced by these job advertisements is illegal. We hope that by filing this lawsuit we are sending a message that the EEOC will not allow employers to discriminate based on their personal preference for people of a particular age or religion.”
As part of its suit, the EEOC is seeking monetary relief for Kokezas and a class of individuals denied employment based on age or religion, an end to any discriminatory employment practices by Orkin, and other equitable relief. The EEOC filed suit only after exhausting its conciliation efforts to reach a voluntary settlement.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

American Association for Affirmative Action Announces Summit and Annual Meeting


American Association for Affirmative Action Announces
Access, Equity and Diversity Summit and Annual Meeting
Raleigh, North Carolina
June 30 – July 1, 2010

“The Work Goes On, the Cause Endures… and the Dream Shall Never Die”
Outstanding equal opportunity, diversity and civil rights professionals meet in Raleigh, North Carolina to discuss affirmative action and equal opportunity challenges
Three of the “Greensboro Four” who staged historic demonstration at Woolworth’s will receive a special award

For Immediate Release:

May 24, 2010

Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher



Washington, May 25, 2010– The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, announced its Access, Equity and Diversity Summit themed “The Work Goes On, the Cause Endures… and the Dream Shall Never Die.” The Summit is being held at the Raleigh Marriott City Center, 500 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, on June 30 – July 1, 2010. The Summit theme is derived from a speech given by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and will acknowledge his legacy as a champion of civil rights. Conferees will also address the progress being made to continue the work for equity, opportunity and inclusion since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other laws.

Featured speakers include Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker; Dr. James Johnson, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center, University of North Carolina; Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University; Pamela Arnold, president, American Institute for Managing Diversity; Motivational Speaker Andres Lara “The Cuban Guy;” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor John Beverly; Amy Hirsh, Job Accommodation Network; and lawyers Valerie Hoffman, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Mickey Silberman, partner with Jackson Lewis LLP. Federal agency officials Evelyn Teague, Regional Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Regional Attorney Katherine “Abby” Coles, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will provide federal agency updates. Michael Leach, Chair of the Raleigh Human Relations Commission; Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President for Human Resources, Duke University; and Tameka Green, Diversity Generalist at Compass Group North America will discuss the critical issue of “Maintaining Diversity in an Era of Downsizing.” To update participants on how to comply with current federal mandates, presenters Julia Mendez Fuentes, Director, Workforce Compliance and Diversity Solutions, Peopleclick Authoria; and David Cohen, President of DCI Consulting Group will join Mickey Silberman.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-in at Woolworth’s, three of the former students who staged the sit-in will receive a special award: Major General Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain and Jibreel Khazan. AAAA will also confer an award for disability rights in recognition of the contributions of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We are excited about the training and educational sessions available,” said AAAA President ReNee Dunman. AAAA will offer two preconference workshops this year. One will address harassment prevention and the other will provide instruction on the federal hate crimes legislation and its implications for higher education. Attorneys Robert “Bob” Gregg, the Boardman Law Firm; and Jacqueline Conforti Barnett, Associate Chief Counsel to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will provide the training. Presenters have been selected to ensure diverse, cutting edge workshops for attendees who include equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity professionals representing every imaginable entity in employment, government, education and the private sector. The conferees will also discuss strategies to promote affirmative action and diversity in the face of economic headwinds and legal challenges to end it. “This conference is filled with opportunities to galvanize and design a proactive plan to advance an agenda of more inclusion and opportunity,” said President Dunman.
The AAAA Summit is open to the press. For more information, go to To register for the Summit, go to:
Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA) is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA assists its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.
888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800 * Washington, D.C. 20006 *202-349-9855 ex 1857 *
800-252-8952 * Fax: 202-355-1399 *
Join “Friends of Affirmative Action”

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Succeeds in Defending Rights of 6,000 African-American Applicants for Chicago Firefighter Jobs

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
News Release
May 24th, 2010

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Succeeds in Defending Rights of 6,000 African-American Applicants for Chicago Firefighter Jobs

The Supreme Court unanimously rejects Chicago's attempt to avoid accountability for hiring discrimination

(New York, NY) - After years fighting for justice, qualified African-American job applicants will finally have a fair opportunity to land a job with the Chicago fire department. Today the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the City of Chicago can be held accountable for each and every time it used a hiring practice that arbitrarily blocked qualified minority applicants from employment.

"Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that job-seekers should not be denied justice based on a technicality," said John Payton, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., (LDF) who argued the case before the Court this past February. "This victory goes well beyond the immediate results in Chicago. It should ensure that no other fire department or employer uses a discriminatory test, and LDF will go the extra mile to make sure that they do not."

The only issue in the case, Lewis v. the City of Chicago,was whether or not the plaintiffs filed their claims of discrimination within the time frame required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - the nation's core equal employment law. Between 1996 and 2002, the City of Chicago hired more than 1,000 firefighters using the results of a test in a manner that unjustifiably excluded qualified African-American applicants. Although the City knew this from the outset, it used the test results for the next six years to hire eleven disproportionately white firefighter classes. After a federal district court found that the City's hiring practice was discriminatory and violated Title VII, the City did not appeal. Instead, the City tried to escape liability for its illegal hiring practice by arguing that the plaintiffs' claims were barred because they did not file their claims within 300 days after the City first announced its hiring plan. Vindicating LDF's arguments, the Court held that the City discriminated each and every time it hired firefighters and, therefore, the plaintiffs' claims were timely.

"I am happy to know that the thousands of qualified firefighters who were denied a fair shot at a job with our department will finally have an opportunity to join our ranks in service to the people of Chicago," said Greg Boggs, President of the African American Firefighters & Paramedics League of Chicago.

LDF represents the Lewis plaintiffs with co-counsel from the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym Ltd.; the Law Office of Patrick O. Patterson, S.C.; Robinson, Curley & Clayton, P.C.; and solo practitioner Bridget Arimond.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) is America's legal counsel on issues of race. Through advocacy and litigation, LDF focuses on issues of education, voter protection, economic justice and criminal justice. We encourage students to embark on careers in the public interest through scholarships and internship programs. LDF pursues racial justice to move our nation toward a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all.

Lawsuit Against Community College Over Racially Charged E-Mail Hits Roadblock

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 21, 2010, 12:14 PM ET

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously on Thursday that Arizona's Maricopa County Community College District did not violate a group of Latino employees' right to be free of workplace harassment when it did nothing to reprimand or otherwise take action against a professor who sent racially incendiary e-mail to a campus distribution list. Walter Kehowski, a mathematics professor, sent e-mails criticizing Día de la Raza, which is celebrated by some Hispanics instead of Columbus Day, as "explicitly racist" and touting the "superiority of Western civilization."

Full Story:

Keeping Your Diversity Program Legal

Workforce Management
By Jaffe D. Dickerson, Grady Murdock Jr. and Sarah Milstein

It’s fine for an organization to tout goals of diversity and inclusion. It’s the actual implementation of the plan that can draw criticism and legal challenges. The key to today’s legally defensible diversity initiatives is to concentrate diversity efforts on expanding the pipeline of candidates to include as many diverse candidates as possible. Here are some best-practice suggestions.
TOOL: Sample Anti-Discrimination Policy
Employee Testing After Ricci: What to Do Now
Discriminatory Twist in Networking Sites Puts Recruiters in Peril

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Tea Party Senate Candidate Rand Paul Draws Fire over Civil Rights Criticism

The Afro
Originally published May 23, 2010
by AFRO Staff

The Tea Party supported, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky has come under fire for comments he recently made about segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.During the week of May 17, Paul questioned the federal government’s right to desegregate private businesses under the act decades ago. This had been a part of his campaign platform promoting greater restrictions on the federal government’s reach. He nevertheless later said he would have voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act.“I’m opposed to any form of governmental racism or discrimination or segregation,” he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. But he said the question of imposing standards on private businesses was “still a valid discussion.”

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Department of Defense Issues Interim Final Rule on Mandatory Arbitration

On May 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued in Interim Final Rule barring the use of mandatory arbitration by contractors receiving federally appropriated funds in excess of one million dollars. Section 8116 of the DOD's appropriation for 2010, offered by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, restricts the use of mandatory arbitration agreements when using funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this DoD Appropriations Act to award contracts that exceed $1 million. It allows the Secretary of Defense to waive applicability to a particular contractor or subcontractor, if determined necessary to avoid harm to national security. Specifically, federally appropriated funds may not be used " if the contractor restricts its employees to arbitration for claims under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention. ...''

On February 17, 201, the department issued an instruction to the contracting agencies about the Franken Amendment. The Memorandum entitled "Class Deviation to Implement Additional Contractor Requirements and Responsibilities Implementing Mandatory Arbitration Agreements" instructs agencies to bar the use of Fiscal Year 2010 funds unless the contractor agrees not to enter into any agreement with employees or independent contractors that requires the employees or contractors to resolve any claims arising out of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through mandatory arbitration. To see the DOD instruction, go to:

The DOD Interim Final Rule may be found at:

New Tool Helps Small Businesses Understand Disability Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Services (ODEP), has released a new tool to aid employers understand their responsibilities under the various federal disability employment laws. The Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor reportedly helps employers understand which laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, apply to employers.

According to the Department:
"To do this, the Advisor asks a few relevant questions, such as nature of business, size of staff and whether the business receives federal funds." Depending upon the responses, the tool generates a list of federal laws that most likely apply. The Department notes that the tool will be useful to employers, employees and applicants applying for or participating in federally funded activities.

For more information, go to:

New Texas School Curriculum Re-Writes History

Originally published May 23, 2010

The Texas Board of Education on May 21 voted to change the state curriculum of social studies and history classes to reflect a more positive view of capitalism, the military, Christianity and modern Republican figures on American history.The reform was approved in a 9-5 vote, which split along party lines. Supporters believe the move merely evens out textbooks which were already “left-leaning.” Conservative board member, Cynthia Dunbar told those who attended the vote that the changes need to be made because America was founded as “a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”However, many think the curriculum is a re-write of history and removes truth from Texas classrooms.“It’s outrageous,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said in a conference call. “It’s going to lock kids into the dark ages, where the whole world’s been turned upside down—where Thomas Jefferson is not a founding father, there’s no good reason to talk about Thurgood Marshall, and Joe McCarthy is a hero."

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Five myths about college admissions

The Washington Post
By Richard D. Kahlenberg
Sunday, May 23, 2010

This spring, more than 3 million students will graduate from America's high schools, and more than 2 million of them will head off to college in the fall. At the top colleges, competition has been increasingly fierce, leaving many high school seniors licking their wounds and wondering what they did "wrong." But do selective colleges and universities do a good job of identifying the best and brightest? And is the concern about who gets into the best colleges justified?
1. Admissions officers have figured out how to reward merit above wealth and connections.
A 2004 Century Foundation study found that at the most selective universities and colleges, 74 percent of students come from the richest quarter of the population, while just 3 percent come from the bottom quarter. Rich kids can't possibly be 25 times as likely to be smart as poor kids, so wealth and connections must still matter.
Leading schools have two main admissions policies that favor wealthy students. The more glaring of these is legacy preferences -- an admissions boost for the children of alumni.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

City IG says minority, women firms shorted 15 percent on contracts

Chicago Tribune
May 20, 2010
Posted by John Byrne at 2:08 p.m.

Minority- and women-owned businesses were paid $19 million less than they were supposed to get under city contracts two years ago because of widespread fraud, abuse and mismanagement of the city's affirmative action program, according to a report released today by the city inspector general’s office.That represented a 15 percent shortfall during 2008, the report stated. If that kind of shortfall were extended over 15 years, starting in 1995, minority- and women-owned businesses would have lost $400 million, it concluded.

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Arizona violating treaty ratified by U.S.
By Chandra Bhatnagar, Special to CNN
May 21, 2010 10:51 a.m. EDT

Chandra Bhatnagar: Experts say Arizona law will lead to increased racial profiling
Law violates Constitution as it makes any Latino a potential criminal suspect, he says
Bhatnagar: It's also a blatant violation of U.N. rights treaty, signed and ratified by the U.S.
He says it's time for U.S. to extend rights it expects from other nations to its own people

Editor's note: Chandra Bhatnagar is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program and principal author of "The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States," recently submitted to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
(CNN) -- On the heels of the passage of Arizona's racial profiling law, tens of thousands of people from all over the country have marched in support of human rights and against the legislation.
That law, SB 1070, requires Arizona law enforcement agents to determine the citizenship status of people they stop if the officer has an undefined "reasonable suspicion" that the person is not in this country lawfully.

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Harassment or Free Speech?

Inside Higher Ed
May 21, 2010
Overturning the ruling of a lower court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted Arizona’s Maricopa Community College District immunity from a lawsuit filed by a group of Latino professors who charged that college officials had not sufficiently disciplined a colleague who sent e-mails they viewed as discriminatory.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s opinion Thursday on behalf of a three-judge panel is a strong endorsement of academic freedom. It argues that “courts must defer to colleges’ decision to err on the side of academic freedom.” In doing so, the opinion defends the decision by Glendale Community College and Maricopa Community College District officials not to discipline or dismiss Walter Kehowski, a Glendale mathematics professor who “sent three racially charged emails” via the institution-maintained distribution list.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

N.C. County School Board Ends Diversity Policy

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Nicole Norfleet, Associated Press , May 20, 2010

RALEIGH N.C. – A North Carolina school district once considered a model for diversifying its classrooms ended its busing policy Tuesday in favor of keeping students in schools close to their homes. The final, official vote by the Wake County school board was expected and followed a similar decision made at a far more contentious meeting in March.

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Half-century later, UT to reconsider naming of dorm for Klansman
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz
Updated: 1:31 a.m. Thursday, May 20, 2010
Published: 9:22 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, 2010

William Stewart Simkins organized KKK in Florida before becoming a law professor in Texas

Simkins Residence Hall is the last all-male dormitory at the University of Texas. Tucked into a quiet corner of campus along Waller Creek, it was the first men's dorm with air conditioning.
It is notable for another reason as well: Simkins is named for a UT law professor who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
William Stewart Simkins, who taught at the School of Law for 30 years until his death in 1929, organized the Klan in Florida after the Civil War along with his brother, Eldred, who later became a member of the UT System Board of Regents.

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Jury awards $250 million in Novartis discrimination case

May 19, 2010, 2:10 p.m. EDT
By Val Brickates Kennedy, MarketWatch

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- A federal jury in New York City ruled Wednesday that Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG must pay $250 million in punitive damages in a class-action sexual discrimination suit brought by about 5,600 female employees.
The award comes two days after the U.S. District Court jury awarded 12 of the women who testified in the trial $3.36 million in compensatory damages. Separate proceedings will determine if the remaining women are also entitled to compensatory damages, such as for pain and suffering.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AAAA 2010 Training - LAST CHANCE to register for the Faculty and Student Diversity webinar!

From the “virtual classroom” to the 2010 Access, Equity and Diversity Summit, AAAA is proud to host several exciting professional development training and networking events in affirmative action, equal employment opportunity and diversity.

** AAAA is accepting registrations for the fourth installment of the 2010 Webinar Series scheduled for Thursday, May 20, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. During this sixty-minute presentation, Jonathan Alger, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will address the current legal developments and challenges faced by colleges and universities seeking faculty and student diversity. The webinar will cover federal agency initiatives under the Obama Administration, the Fisher case in Texas and other recent litigation, best practices in faculty hiring initiatives and state ballot initiatives.
THE UNIVERSITY CENTER525 South State StreetChicago, IL 60605 The Summer 2010 PDTI session is scheduled for June 13-19, 2010 in Chicago! Don't miss an opportunity to be trained by leading EEO and Affirmative Action experts. Receive the latest information regarding EEO/AA laws and EEO compensation analysis or prepare for your next OFCCP audit by learning how to develop an affirmative action program! Or, advance your research and data analysis skills with a course in basic statistics and applications!
Go to for course details and to register for exciting courses that lead to the completion of the Certified Affirmative Action Professional (CAAP) certification. Or take advantage of special topics course offerings (no prerequisite is required to register). Registrants for the entire CAAP certification receive $150.00 OFF the entire certification track. You must be registered and complete all three CAAP courses in the same session (June) for this discount to apply.
500 Fayetteville Street Raleigh, NC 27601 June 30-July 1, 2010 AAAA is still accepting registrations for the AAAA Access, Equity and Diversity Summit and Annual Meeting. The Regular Registration deadline is May 17, 2010. On-line registration for the Summit is available via the following link: You may register as a Member or Non-Member.
Sending three or more members from your organization? You pay only $175 per person if the organization is a member of AAAA; $200 per person if a non-member. For more information about PDTI, Webinars or other AAAA programs, please call us toll-free at 1-800-252-8952 or visit

Clinton aides speak out on Kagan

By JOSH GERSTEIN 5/19/10 2:15 PM EDT

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was simply trying to carry out President Bill Clinton’s policies when she served as an adviser in his White House and wasn’t necessarily advancing her own policy views, former Clinton aides argued Wednesday in a conference call organized by the Obama White House.
“Her role was really to implement policies that were set by President Clinton,” former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta said.
The comments from the Clinton aides appeared intended to counter a series of news reports about White House memos from the Clinton era that appeared to show Kagan on the centrist side of policy debates on issues such as abortion and race. ...

Memoranda from the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock suggest that the debate went beyond action versus dialogue. Some of the smattering of documents presently available to the public suggest Kagan urged Clinton to reject efforts to pursue race-conscious policy measures and instead put her weight behind attempts to address racial inequities through broader policies aimed at the poor and disadvantaged.

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A $95,000 question: why are whites five times richer than blacks in the US?
Chris McGreal in Washington
Monday 17 May 2010 19.47 BST

A huge wealth gap has opened up between black and white people in the US over the past quarter of a century – a difference sufficient to put two children through university – because of racial discrimination and economic policies that favour the affluent.
A typical white family is now five times richer than its African-American counterpart of the same class, according to a report released today by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
White families typically have assets worth $100,000 (£69,000), up from $22,000 in the mid-1980s. African-American families' assets stand at just $5,000, up from around $2,000.
A quarter of black families have no assets at all. The study monitored more than 2,000 families since 1984.

Full Story:
To see Brandeis study, go to: (Press Release) and (Research Brief)

To purchase "The Hidden Cost of Being African American" go to the AAAA Bookstore, p. 12:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

'Journal of Blacks in Higher Education' to Cease Print Publication

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 17, 2010, 06:40 PM ET

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, a quarterly publication that for 17 years has chronicled the African-American experience at American colleges and universities, has announced that its spring issue, just out to readers, will be its last in print.

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Opinion: Reimagining Diversity in Our Institutions

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Nancy “Rusty” Barceló , May 18, 2010

Social and institutional change is born in struggle. As a Chicana in higher education, I know this from my experience as a diversity educator with deep roots in the cultural borderlands of U.S. society. I also know that access to education for diverse students is a cornerstone of our future as a democratic society.
As our institutions struggle to balance their budgets, institutional leaders are understandably on the lookout for any unit or program that is “underperforming,” “wasteful,” or nonessential. They’re looking for savings that will not diminish their stature, cut into their core mission, or erode “excellence” as it is currently defined.
What I want to argue is that this is not the time to pull back on investments in diversity.

Full Opinion:

How Much Extra Time?

Inside Higher Ed
May 18, 2010

Another fight over extra time on exams has been temporarily resolved, leaving unanswered the questions of to what extent colleges should grant accommodations to students with learning disabilities -- and who decides what adjustments are appropriate.
This time the battleground was Princeton University, where first-year student Diane E. Metcalf-Leggette sued the university last fall, charging that it stood in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act by declining to give her twice as much time as most other students to complete exams -- Metcalf-Leggette has been diagnosed with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Metcalf-Leggette later registered a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in February alleging that “the university retaliated by seeking additional information about [her] disability, questioning whether the student was qualified to attend the university and pursuing certain disciplinary action against the student,” according to department records.

Full Story:

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Powerful Voice: Not Stilled, Still Heard

The Defenders Online
Posted By The Editors
May 17th, 2010
By Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.

Earlier this spring the New York state legislature enacted and Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation designating May 17 at Thurgood Marshall Day. May 17, of course, is also the anniversary of the day on which the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 issued its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the case that, in declaring racially-segregated schooling unconstitutional, destroyed the legal foundations of Jim Crow in America. So, it is entirely appropriate to join the anniversary of Brown with a day that honors the life and achievements of an individual who played a central role in leading the Court and the American people to that decision and the righting of a grievous wrong. In 1993 Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. delivered one of the eulogies at the funeral of Thurgood Marshall, which was held in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Jordan, a member of the board of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., which Marshall had founded, wrote about the meaning of that event for him in his 2008 book, Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out. We include both reflections here.
The passing of Thurgood Marshall, whose casket rested before me in the great sanctuary of the Washington National Cathedral, was a sad contrast to the sense of revitalization, hope and relief that just days earlier had attended the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton—the first Democratic administration in a dozen years, and one whose victory and progressive outlook stemmed from the social revolution Thurgood Marshall had played so central a role in forging.
Thurgood Marshall was a guardian of this nation’s greatest treasure. He was a keeper of the flame of the American ideal. Both an advocate and a tribune of freedom, he appeared at a critical historical moment to help rescue from the dustbin of hypocrisy that glorious declaration of the Constitution: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.

Full Obituary:

Why elites do belong on the Supreme Court

The Washington Post
By Christopher Edley Jr.Sunday, May 16, 2010

Judges should be able to understand and empathize with just about anyone, because the law is about everyone. With that in mind, is what's good for Harvard and Yale good for America?
If Elena Kagan is confirmed, we will have an entire Supreme Court educated at Harvard and Yale law schools, demonstrating again the grip that academic elites have on the levers of power. Some worry this homogeneity is too anti-democratic, even for our most anti-democratic of institutions. I don't hear a claim that even knuckleheads deserve a spot on the court, but surely some brilliant possibilities attended, say, Berkeley? Or Tulane?

Full Editorial:

AAAA meets with Federal agency officials and Federal EEO employee representatives

On May 13th, representatives from the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), board members John Gonzales, Julia Fuentes, Gregory Chambers, former Professional Development and Training Institute Chair Marjorie Powell and AAAA Executive Director Shirley Wilcher, met with representatives from three of the federal civil rights enforcement agencies: the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). AAAA also met with representatives of the federal EEO employees’ organization. This is part of an ongoing effort to introduce AAAA to the new leadership of the civil rights enforcement agencies since the election of President Barack Obama.

At the OFCCP, AAAA visited with OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. Director Shiu noted the emphasis that the agency is placing on the affirmative action issues facing veterans and individuals with disabilities. The agency is also meeting with stakeholder groups on the construction regulations. Director Shiu has called for a moratorium on the Functional Affirmative Action Plan program while the agency reviews its efficacy. The Functional Affirmative Action Plans requests for renewal or for approval (for new requests) are put on hold upon further review of what is going to be done with the FAAP program. The DOL is also continuing the emphasis on compensation issues/equal pay. OFCCP is reviewing the Federal Contract Compliance Manual as well. Director Shiu urged AAAA to comment on the proposed regulations when they are published and thought that the organization could be helpful with linkages. As for the publication of formulae on adverse impact and compensation, she noted that this was a DOL policy issue and would have to be decided at that level. AAAA offered to serve as a resource and to engage in “reverse compliance assistance” where possible on higher education. OFCCP will conduct a webinar for AAAA in the coming months.

AAAA noted the anecdotal data that show the diminishing presence of EEO and Affirmative Action officers in the workplace. Director Shiu expressed an interest in seeing the results of any survey that AAAA conducts to further research the extent of this phenomenon.

At the EEOC, the AAAA representatives met with EEOC Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru and discussed the E-Race Initiative begun during the administration of Naomi Earp. He noted that issues of race discrimination continued to need emphasis, even while EEOC takes on other important issues. Other issues that Commissioner Ishimaru was concerned with include technology, helping younger people to know their rights, the changing demographics and ways to reach different constituencies. It was suggested that EEOC add more resource tools for employers who want to audit themselves and to be proactive in promoting equal employment opportunity.

The issue of diversity in higher education was a major discussion point with the Office for Civil Rights meeting. AAAA met with Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Soto and his colleagues. We urged the agency to clarify the responsibilities of colleges and universities since the Grutter decision on affirmative action, and provide guidance and best practices so that colleges and universities can comply with the new administration’s civil rights enforcement expectations. We also discussed workforce preparation challenges at the K-12 levels and the continuing importance of eliminating barriers to equal education opportunity. DAS Soto noted that OCR has 600 FTEs (staff) and conducts 6300 complaint investigations per year. The goal is to process each complaint within 180 days. In 2010, OCR plans to conduct 38 compliance reviews.

--SJW 5/17/10

Debra M. Lawrence Appointed Regional Attorney Of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Debra M. Lawrence, a veteran trial attorney with the Baltimore office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has been appointed regional attorney of the agency’s Philadelphia District, which includes offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland, the agency announced today.
“I look forward to the continuance of a dynamic and powerful litigation program with Debra overseeing the Philadelphia District,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “She joins a strong and dedicated group of regional attorneys throughout the country.”
“I feel very honored by General Counsel Lopez’s strong support and I look forward to continuing the agency’s mission of eradicating discrimination,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence began her career at the EEOC as a trial attorney, during which she prosecuted numerous cases under the statutes enforced by the agency, recovering millions of dollars. She has tried cases to verdict in jury trials involving age discrim­ination, sexual harassment, race discrimination and harassment, gender wage discrim­ination, religious discrimination and retaliation. She has lectured, trained and written about the various civil rights statutes and has trained newer lawyers on trial and discovery practice. Lawrence was appointed supervisory trial attorney in 2002, and in December 2008, she became acting regional attorney for the Philadelphia District.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Center for Worklife Law Issues Report on Family Responsibilities Discrimination

Family Responsibilities Discrimination: Litigation Update 2010

According to the Center for Worklife Law, UC Hastings College of Law, the number of Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD) cases filed has increased 400% in the last decade, and the average verdict now tops $500,000. The Center defines FRD as:

Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD) is employment discrimination
against workers based on their family caregiving responsibilities. Pregnant
women, mothers and fathers of young children, and employees with aging
parents or sick spouses or partners may encounter FRD. They may be rejected
for hire, passed over for promotion, demoted, harassed, or terminated --
despite good performance -- simply because their employers make personnel
decisions based on stereotypical notions of how they will or should act
given their family responsibilities.

According to the report by Cynthia Thomas Calvert, companies do not yet understand their responsibilities or the liabilities caused by FRD. Pregnancy discrimination, taking family leave to care for an ill parent, age-old stereotypes about pregnant employees' ability to perform are examples of family responsibilities discrimination documented in this report. The report also provides data for employers, lawyers and policymakers about current trends in family responsibilities litigation. Among the data listed is that cases are rising in every state, in every industry and at every level in organizations. New supervisors are often the perpetrators of bias, and women who have a second child are discriminated against as are employees taking time off from work to care for a sick parent.

To read the entire report, go to:

Go to the Center for Worklife Law's website at:

To view the Q and A for employers on FRD:

Gaining the Competitive Edge: The Economics of Retaining Women

Worklife Law: A Center of UC Hastings College of Law
The Center for WorkLife Law (WorkLife Law or WLL) is a:
nonprofit research and advocacy group with a unique "six stakeholder" model
that reflects our belief that many different stakeholders are ready, willing,
and able to play a role in sparking social and organizational change around
work/life issues. WorkLife Law works with employees, employers, plaintiffs'
employment lawyers, management-side employment lawyers, unions, and public
policymakers, to educate each group about the prevalence of family
responsibilities discrimination, and to develop effective measures to eliminate
FRD. WLL also works with social scientists to spark interdisciplinary studies of
bias against caregivers, and works extensively with the press.
WorkLife Law
is housed at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Among its publications is "Gaining the Competitive Edge: The Economics of Retaining Women." On this page, the center notes that attracting and retaining women faculty will only occur if colleges and universities address the "chilly" climate issues and in so addressing these issues, institutions of higher education can be more cost-effective, especially in a time of declining resources and the high cost of attrition:

The High Costs of Attrition. The costs associated with unwanted attrition among faculty — male as well as female — are high. Click on each cost below to learn more:
High Costs of Start-Up Packages
Lost Grants
Reduced Faculty Productivity Due to Time Spent on Search Committees
How to Steal the Best Talent. Top-tier universities and colleges increasingly find themselves competing with lower ranked schools—and losing—as lower-ranked institutions use dual-career hiring policies to attract the most desirable candidates. Click here to learn more.
Half of the Current Tenured Faculty Will Consider Retirement within 10 Years. Currently, 50.5% of tenured faculty members are at least 55 years old.[9] A key question is whether the workforce hired to replace retiring faculty will reproduce the disproportionately low percentage of women and people of color in tenure-track positions.
Increasing Legal Liability for Employment Discrimination Claims. Employment discrimination cases are increasing, along with steep attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and vulnerability to the loss of grant funding. Click here to learn more.

See full commentary:

US Labor Department Office of Disability Employment Policy announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme

News Release
ODEP News Release: [05/13/2010]
Contact Name: Clarisse Young or Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-5051 or x4667
Release Number: 10-0630-NAT
2010 theme celebrates workforce diversity and workers with disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today unveiled the official theme for October's National Disability Employment Awareness Month: "Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity INCLUDES Workers With Disabilities." The theme serves to inform the public that workers with disabilities represent a diverse and vibrant talent pool for hire.
Early announcement of the theme helps communities nationwide plan a series of events, some of which will continue throughout the year beginning in October, such as proclamations, public awareness programs and job fairs that showcase the skills and talents of workers with disabilities.
This theme epitomizes Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis' commitment to "good jobs for everyone."
"The solutions and innovations applicable to the successful employment of workers with disabilities impact the entire workforce, including aging workers, injured workers, at-risk youth, women, people of color, and unemployed and underemployed workers," said Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.
As background, Public Law 176, enacted by the Congress in 1945, designated the first week in October each year as "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." President Harry S. Truman designated the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities to carry out the Act. In 1962, the word "physically" was removed from the week's name to acknowledge the employment needs of all Americans with disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988 and changed its name to "National Disability Awareness Month," which eventually evolved to its current name. The Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy took over responsibility for National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 2001.
Members of the public with questions related to the theme should contact Carol Dunlap at 202-693-7902. Members of the press should contact the individuals named above.

Liu Nomination Advances

The New York Times
May 13, 2010, 1:29 pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, sending him to the full Senate for consideration after a party-line vote of 12 Democrats in favor and seven Republicans opposed.
Mr. Liu, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has drawn more Republican opposition than any of President Obama’s other appeals court nominees because he has been open in expressing strong liberal views – like support for affirmative action and same-sex marriage.

Full Story:

Civil-Rights Panel May Ask Justice Dept. to Pry Title IX Data From Virginia Union U.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 14, 2010
By Eric Kelderman

A lawyer for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said on Friday that the panel may have to ask the U.S. Department of Justice for help in getting admissions data from Virginia Union University as part of an inquiry into its compliance with a key federal gender-equity law.
Virginia Union, a private, historically black college in Richmond, Va., is one of 19 institutions — a mix of public, private, religious, secular, and historically black colleges and universities — that the commission is examining for evidence of gender discrimination in undergraduate admissions.

Full Story:

UNH paid $220,000 to settle sex harassment suit
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
May 17, 2010

DURHAM – The University of New Hampshire quietly paid about $220,000 earlier this year to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former professor, according to documents provided to the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Former assistant marketing professor Amy Kallianpur filed suit last July in federal court in Concord claiming she was the victim of "severe sexual harassment" by her boss, department Chairman Chuck Gross.
A recent review of federal court records found that Kallianpur dismissed her suit in February without any explanation. A subsequent right-to-know request revealed that the school settled the case and paid her $80,000 to cover lost wages, another $80,000 in compensatory damages and $60,000 in attorney fees. UNH also paid Kallianpur's husband Andrew $1.

Full Story:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Calif. bill would block Texas textbook changes

By ROBIN HINDERY Associated Press Writer
Posted: 05/16/2010 10:00:32 AM PDT
Updated: 05/16/2010 11:01:20 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California may soon take a stand against proposed changes to social studies textbooks ordered by the Texas school board, as a way to prevent them from being incorporated in California texts.
Legislation by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, seeks to protect the nation's largest public school population from the revised social studies curriculum approved in March by the Texas Board of Education. Critics say if the changes are incorporated into textbooks, they will be historically inaccurate and dismissive of the contributions of minorities.
The Texas recommendations, which face a final vote by the Republican-dominated board on May 21, include adding language saying the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and a new section on "the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s." That would include positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America, the congressional GOP manifesto from the 1990s.

Full Story:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

EEOC issues advisory opinions on possible disparate impact in credit checks, education requirements
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC
USA May 4 2010

On March 29, 2010, the EEOC’s Office of Legal Counsel released two informal discussion letters addressing disparate impact in credit checks and education requirements.
Disparate Impact of Credit Searches
Although none of the laws enforced by the EEOC directly prohibit discrimination based on credit information, they may be implicated in some circumstances, explains the EEOC’s first informal discussion letter, released March 29, 2009. For example, an employer’s use of credit information that disproportionately excludes African-American and/or Hispanic candidates would be unlawful unless the employer could establish that the practice is needed for it to operate safely or efficiently. The letter addresses the concerns of an individual who wrote to Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru urging that legislation be passed to prohibit the practice of credit checks to screen job applicants. In the letter, Assistant Legal Counsel Dianna B. Johnston responded that while the EEOC has no authority to enact legislation, the EEOC was of the opinion that credit checks have not been shown to be a valid measure of job performance. Johnston did, however, note that some courts have determined that credit checks are appropriate for certain positions, such as where an employee handles large amounts of cash.

Full Story:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Age Discrimination Gets Attention Of Congress

today's workplace
May 14th, 2010 Ellen Simon
Hearings Held On Federal Discrimination Bill To Overturn Gross Decision

Last week, both the House and Senate held hearings on the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) (H.R. 3721, S. 1756). The legislation would overturn the awful Gross v. FBL Financials Services, Inc. case decided by the Supreme Court last year. If passed, the bill will apply retroactively to all cases pending on or after June 17, 2009, the date of the Gross decision.
Simply stated, the Gross decision holds age discrimination plaintiffs to a higher standard of proof than other victims of discrimination by requiring them to prove that their age was the “but for” cause of the employer’s adverse decision instead of “a motivating factor.” I predicted, as did others, that Gross would get a Congressional fix and that’s exactly what POWADA does – and more.

Full Story:

Study: White and black children biased toward lighter skin
May 14, 2010 4:24 p.m. EDT

CNN commissioned study on children's racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences
Study shows black and white children are biased toward lighter skin
Test aimed to re-create landmark Doll Test from 1940s
Study also showed children's ideas on race change little between ages 5 and 10
See the results of the CNN-commissioned study on children's racial beliefs, attitudes and preferences, and see the children as they take the test on a special "AC360°" in front of a live studio audience, tonight at 10pm ET

(CNN) -- A white child looks at a picture of a black child and says she's bad because she's black. A black child says a white child is ugly because he's white. A white child says a black child is dumb because she has dark skin.
This isn't a schoolyard fight that takes a racial turn, not a vestige of the "Jim Crow" South; these are American schoolchildren in 2010.
Nearly 60 years after American schools were desegregated by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and more than a year after the election of the country's first black president, white children have an overwhelming white bias, and black children also have a bias toward white, according to a new study commissioned by CNN.

Full Story:

Oklahoma man sentenced for falsifying Nebraska petitions seeking to ban affirmative action

Ft Smith - Fayetteville, AR
By Associated Press
3:14 PM CDT, May 14, 2010

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 55-year-old Oklahoma man has been sentenced to 160 days time served for falsely swearing to signatures he collected for a ballot proposal in Nebraska.Mark Brown of Tulsa, Okla., had pleaded no contest in Lancaster County District Court to three felony counts of false swearing to a circulator's affidavit. He had been paid per signature to circulate petitions to get a measure to ban affirmative action on the November 2008 ballot.

Full Story:,0,4740717.story

Your Take: Why Elena Kagan is a Good Choice for the Supreme Court

By: Charles J. Ogletree Jr.
Posted: May 12, 2010 at 5:42 PM
Former Harvard Law colleague Charles Ogletree Jr. offers a vigorous defense of the nominee.

I am writing to follow up on some of the concerns I am hearing about my colleague Elena Kagan's civil rights record and whether she would be a fit candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. While it is certainly up to the President to find the ideal person and to look at a number of factors in reaching a decision, I hear criticisms of Elena Kagan that are contrary to my knowledge of her during the last 25 years or so, and that do not adequately represent her record. I share this with you so that you'll have a more complete assessment of Elena Kagan's views on race and civil rights matters.
After graduating from Harvard Law School and clerking in the circuit court, Kagan ultimately clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. I don't think anyone can recall a negative word that Marshall ever said about Elena Kagan, and in fact, when he spoke about her, it was always in glowing terms. Elena taught at the University of Chicago before joining the Harvard Law School faculty. As a result of Kagan's tenacity, focus, and clarity, the university leadership ultimately appointed her as the first woman dean of Harvard Law School.

Full Story:,0

White House circulating pro-Kagan talking points on diversity
Thursday, May 6, 2010 15:19 ET
By Mike Madden

For the moment, the White House hasn't settled on a nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. But that doesn't mean the administration is sitting quietly as the legal and political world speculates about who President Obama's pick might be.
In the last couple of weeks, after Salon's Glenn Greenwald linked to this post by Duke University law professor Guy-Uriel Charles raising questions about the minority hiring rate at Harvard Law School when Elena Kagan was dean there, White House officials started circulating a set of talking points pushing back on the criticism, sending it out to various groups allied with the administration....

Take a look at the talking points here.

Full story:

Diversity as a Strategic Advantage

Bloomberg Business Week
By Alaina Love
Leading with Purpose:
Alaina Love May 14, 2010, 3:15PM EST

Since the establishment of affirmative action in the early 1960s, organizations have struggled with shifting their focus on diversity from a numbers exercise of quota achievement to leveraging the benefits that can be derived from employees with different backgrounds and perspectives in a way that provides a commercial advantage.
While we've seen startling advances in technology and radical shifts on the political, cultural, and demographic fronts over the past 50 years, the utilization of diverse talent in organizations has not kept pace. Leaders often intuitively understand the advantage of a diverse workforce, especially in today's global economy, yet many organizations grapple with how to develop and apply diversity principles in a way that will affect revenue and market position, as well as reputation.
For companies to capitalize successfully on diversity, they must develop a robust and comprehensive strategic framework that not only considers how to attract and retain diverse employees but also is anchored in a culture of inclusion. In the 16 years I have consulted to multinational companies on issues of leadership, including diversity,some common characteristics have emerged among companies that utilize diversity as a strategic lever for growth and innovation. These are the hallmarks of organizations that have successfully moved beyond the numbers...

Full Story:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

White House seeks to defend Kagan's diversity record

By Krissah Thompson and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The White House rushed Tuesday to allay concerns raised by some civil rights groups about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and the hiring record of Harvard Law School when she was dean.
Some black activists were already dismayed that no African American woman has reached President Obama's short list in two searches. The selection of Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general, served to irritate them further, as they described her tenure at Harvard -- which administration officials highlight as evidence of her practicality and her ability to work across ideological lines -- as one lacking in racial inclusion.
Leaders of the NAACP and legal groups discussed their concerns Tuesday with White House officials, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Afterward, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Jarrett had described the role civil rights groups could play in supporting future nominees for solicitor general and district and appellate judges. Kagan's nomination, Sharpton said, "is already made, and most of us are inclined to support it."

Full Story:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Affirmative Action Director: Sam Starks

University of Pennsylvania Almanac
May 11, 2010, Volume 56, No. 33

Vice President of Institutional Affairs Joann Mitchell announced the appointment of Sam Starks as Executive Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, effective May 24, 2010. Mr. Starks has been the Compliance Manager in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services at Vanderbilt University for the past two years. Previously, he held a series of progressively responsible positions at Western Kentucky University, the last of which was assistant to the associate vice president for enrollment management.
Mr. Starks will work in partnership with colleagues across the University to advance Penn’s diversity objectives through the Office’s education, outreach, advisory, and compliance roles. The Office supports the University’s goals of “equalizing opportunity, enriching the educational experience of all students, and educating leaders for all sectors of society,” which are embodied in the Penn Compact.

Full Story:

Lena Horne: Weathering the racial storm

Lena Horne, the sultry singer who died at 92, will forever occupy a unique position in America’s racial history. A great beauty and bullet of talent in an era when black people weren’t allowed to be beautiful stars, she persevered, gaining a foothold because of her light skin. “I’m the kind of black that white people could accept,’’ she once said. While living on the color line in segregated Hollywood was the loneliest of callings, she fought back with her fierce sense of identity as a black woman and leading lady.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Liberals raise affirmative action question
Kagan hired mostly white men while at Harvard.

One concern some liberals have is over Kagan's position on affirmative action. It's unclear what it is, but Kagan did not have a particularly good record of hiring women or minorities while serving as dean of Harvard's law school.
Under her watch, the school hired 29 new professors. All except one were white, and only six were women. A Duke University professor pointed out the track record, prompting the White House to respond that Kagan did put black and Latino candidates in the running for positions, even if they weren't ultimately selected.

Full blog post:

Toobin on high court nominee Kagan
May 10, 2010 11:46 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- President Obama named U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan on Monday as his nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court," talked to about Kagan, his former law school classmate.
CNN: What is Elena Kagan's strength?
Jeffrey Toobin: Elena Kagan is known as a consensus builder. During her time as dean of Harvard Law School, she united a deeply divided faculty. Clearly, the hope from the president is that she will do for the Supreme Court what she did for the Harvard faculty, if that's possible.
CNN: You knew her at Harvard. What is she like?
Toobin: Smart, funny, self-confident, extremely intelligent but not obnoxious about it. She's always been a well-grounded person who brings out the best in others around her.
CNN: Some African-American groups and commentators have criticized her appointments at Harvard, charging that almost all of the people she hired were white and of those, only six were women. Could that be a factor in her confirmation?
Toobin: The upper reaches of the legal profession are still dominated by men, so the talent pool still skews that way. Under Kagan, the diversity of the faculty at Harvard changed, but not as fast as the rest of the country.

Full Interview:

Kagan´s Affirmative Action Achilles Heel

American Chronicle
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
May 10, 2010

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will plop an issue back on the nation´s table that hasn´t been seen or heard from or about in what seems like ages. And that´s affirmative action. Even before her nomination the word furiously circulated in some circles that during her six year tenure as dean of Harvard University Law School, Kagan had an abominable record on recruiting and hiring minority professors. At first glance, her record indeed looks atrocious. There were 29 new hires. They were 23 white men, 5 white women, and one Asian American woman; not one black or Latino professor in the bunch. When the dismal figure was released, the White House quickly pushed back. It issued a detailed fact sheet that essentially said that her zero hire of a black or Latino faculty member was grossly misleading. That Kagan had offered several African-American and Latino candidates visiting offers; visiting offers meaning invites to be a visiting lecturer. That´s not the same as a permanent offer for faculty spot. But the inference was that a visiting offer, if accepted, could lead to an offer of a permanent faculty position. That didn´t happen. The visiting offers were not accepted. That in itself is not a prima facie case to say that Kagan deliberately pushed diversity to the back burner at Harvard. Or even that she did not make a sincere effort to recruit minority faculty members. There are always factors, big, little and unseen in the business of faculty hires at major, even prestigious, universities. But Kagan´s motives and the effort she may have made to get a diverse faculty at Harvard Law in the end or a moot point. Her record on minority hires still stands-- 29 faculty hires, and no black or Latino hires. This is hardly a moot point.

Full Commentary:

US Labor Department helps employers understand responsibilities under disability nondiscrimination laws

U.S. Department of Labor
News Release
OASP News Release: [05/04/2010

Contact Name: Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661
Release Number: 10-0562-NAT
New online tool helps further equality and full access for people with disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today unveiled a new tool to help America's employers ensure their employment policies and practices do not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities.
"Today, we made it easier for employers of all sizes to access the talents of the 36 million Americans with disabilities," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez. "By providing this interactive and easy-to-use online tool, both workers and employers can readily access and understand their rights and responsibilities under our federal disability nondiscrimination laws."
The online Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor, available at, helps employers quickly and simply determine which federal disability nondiscrimination laws apply to their business or organization and their responsibilities under them. It asks users to answer a few relevant questions in order to take into account relevant variables, such as nature of organization, size of staff and whether the business or organization receives federal financial assistance. Based on the responses provided, the advisor then generates a customized list of federal disability nondiscrimination laws that likely apply, along with easy-to-understand information about employers' responsibilities under them.
The laws addressed by the Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor include:
Titles I and II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (as it pertains to federal financial assistance)
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended
The advisor also can help employees, job applicants and people applying for or participating in federally funded programs learn more about their rights under these laws. In addition, it includes a Guide on Employing People with Disabilities that outlines resources available to help employers comply with disability nondiscrimination laws.
The Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor is one of a series of Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses, or "elaws," Advisors developed by the Labor Department's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, working with other department agencies, to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws. To access this set of advisors, visit the elaws website at To learn more about the Labor Department's efforts to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, visit
# # #

Race and Region Often Determine Degree Attainment in Big Cities

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 9, 2010
By Ashley Marchand

College and graduate-school enrollment in the nation's 100 largest cities increased during the 2000s, and often depended upon factors like race and geographic region.
And nationally, a record 35 percent of adults held postsecondary degrees in 2008, an increase from 1990, when the rate was 26 percent.
Those are just some of the findings from the inaugural "State of Metropolitan America: On the Front Lines of Demographic Transformation," a report released on Sunday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization. The report examined a preview of this year's census data for demographic trends in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, including trends in higher education.
The pattern of increasing educational attainment was reflected in growing enrollments. In 2000, 34 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in postsecondary institutions, and that rate rose to 41 percent by 2008. Cities throughout New England had higher rates of enrollment, with more than 50 percent of the region's young adults in college in 2008. Washington, D.C., had the largest rate of bachelor's-degree recipients, with 47 percent of its adult population holding those college degrees. In Bakersfield, Calif., the figure was only 15 percent.

Full Story:

EEOC Chair Testifies Before Senate Committee

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien testified May 6 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about "Ensuring Fairness for Older Workers."

Statement OfJacqueline A. Berrien, ChairU.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionBefore theCommittee On Health, Education, Labor And PensionsUnited States Senate
MAY 6, 2010

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Enzi and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you at this important hearing to discuss the “Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act” (S. 1756), which would supersede the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services.[1]
The Supreme Court in Gross held that “mixed-motives” claims are not cognizable under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and that older workers cannot prevail on a claim of age discrimination unless they prove that age was the “but for” cause of the employment practice at issue. In practice, this means that an ADEA plaintiff will no longer have a valid claim, and therefore will be entitled to no relief whatsoever – even if a defendant admits that it took an adverse employment action in part because of the plaintiff’s age – unless the plaintiff can show that the defendant would not have made the same decision anyway (i.e., if the employer had not actually taken the victim’s age into account).
The Gross decision was a startling departure from decades of settled precedent developed in federal district and intermediate appellate courts. It erected a new, much higher (and what will often be an insurmountable) legal hurdle for victims of age-based employment decisions. Indeed, recent case law reveals that Gross already is constricting the ability of older workers to vindicate their rights under the ADEA, as well as other anti-discrimination statutes.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) believes that legislation like S.1756 is needed to restore and bolster the basic protections that applied to ADEA claims pre­-Gross. This would more fully effectuate Congress’s original intent in passing the ADEA – to “promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age” and “to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment.”[2]

Full Testimony: Kagan is Obama's pick for top court
May 10, 2010

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will announce Monday that he has selected Solicitor General Elena Kagan as his second nominee to the Supreme Court, according to an administration official.
If confirmed, the former Harvard Law School dean would be the first justice to join the court without prior judicial experience since William Rehnquist nearly four decades ago.
Kagan would be the third woman on the nine-member court and only the fourth woman among 112 justices ever to serve, following Obama’s choice of Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year. She would replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring after 35 years.
At 50, Kagan is among the youngest of the potential nominees who were widely thought to have been seriously considered by Obama for the high court slot.
Kagan has a lengthy pedigree as a Democratic attorney. She served for several years as the deputy director of domestic policy under President Bill Clinton and earlier as an attorney in the White House counsel’s office. She made history by serving for six years as the first female dean of Harvard Law, where Obama had attended years earlier.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

EEOC Collects on $471,000 Jury Award after Winning Appeal from Waterproofing Company In Sex Harassment Case

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Teens Were Among 13 Victims of Abuse at Everdry’s Rochester Location, Agency Charged

NEW YORK – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that Everdry Marketing and Management has paid $471,096 in damages, plus $86,581 in post-judgment interest, to 13 victims of sexual harassment. The payout satisfies a judgment obtained by EEOC against Everdry in October 2006 following a four-week trial in Rochester, N.Y. (case # 01-CV-6329). The individual payouts range from about $24,000 to $56,000, including the interest, which covers the time the women had to wait to receive their jury awards. Everdry was required to pay the substantial interest after the ultimate resolution of the case was delayed by an appeal Everdry filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit challenging various aspects of the jury’s verdict and other district court rulings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict and award of damages.
Cleveland-based Everdry provides basement waterproofing services through various franchises. The case concerned a prolonged period of physical and verbal sexual harassment of mostly teenage telemarketers by male managers and co-workers at Everdry’s Rochester, N.Y., location. The EEOC charged that the harassment included repeated demands for sex, frequent groping, sexual jokes and constant comments about the bodies of women employees. On one occasion, a male manager requested sex from a teenager with the promise of a raise if she consented.
“Many of the victims in this case were young and especially vulnerable,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “We are gratified that the appeals court has now paved the way for these harassment victims to finally receive the relief the jury awarded.”
The jury awards consist of compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages designed to punish and deter Everdry from engaging in further sexual harassment. The payout was made by Everdry’s corporate headquarters.
“The 13 women in this case had to endure vicious sexual harassment and then live it again through their testimony in pre-trial depositions and the trial,” said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Robert D. Rose. “The EEOC appreciates their courage and endurance in seeing this case all the way through. For them, justice was delayed, but ultimately not denied.”
Spencer H Lewis, Jr., district director for the EEOC’s New York District Office, added, “This case demonstrates how the EEOC will not relent in its efforts to redress discrimination wherever it occurs, no matter how long it takes.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws banning workplace discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at