Monday, February 27, 2012

AAAA Regions Host National Briefing on Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion

Dear Colleagues:

We're pleased to be able to share with you this invitation to attend a significant educational event exploring current legal challenges to affirmative action, diversity and inclusion in education and employment. The briefing is scheduled for March 21, 2012, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, at Ohio Northern University, Claude W. Petit College of Law, Ada, Ohio. As you know, the U.S. Supreme Court has just decided to hear a challenge to affirmative action in admissions from the 5th Circuit in the case known as Fisher v. Texas. The Court's decision will be its most significant ruling affecting college and university admission practices in a decade, since it made its 2003 rulings in the Michigan cases. In addition to the Fisher case, there are 2 other notable cases that have reached the federal circuit court level: BAMN v. University of Michigan Regents in the 6th Circuit, and BAMN v. Brown in the 9th Circuit. Litigation in both of these cases has been led by BAMN with support from the United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund (UEAALDF). Both cases challenge the constitutionality of state referenda, such as Michigan's Proposition 2 and California's Proposition 209. After year's of seeing these statewide referenda successfully attempt to eliminate affirmative action, diversity and inclusion efforts, especially those initiatives that use race as a factor, BAMN brought suit against Michigan's Proposition 2 and their constitutional arguments successfully swayed a panel of judges for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 6th Circuit has jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In July 2011, this 6th Circuit panel ruled in favor of BAMN that Proposition 2 unconstitutionally infringed upon the rights of minority groups by depriving them of equal protection of law as required by the 14th Amendment. That decision is currently under appeal with an en banc hearing scheduled before the court on March 7th in Cincinnati, Ohio.

California's Proposition 209, notorious for being the first state constitutional ban on race and gender conscious affirmative action, has been the law of California since 1996. Although UEAALDF and BAMN have been mobilizing and fighting against Proposition 209 from the beginning, they raised the intensity of their struggle with a lawsuit that was filed in February 2010. The lawsuit, as did their case against Proposition 2 in Michigan, raises the same 14th Amendment constitutional arguments that were successful in the 6th Circuit. The 9th Circuit, with jurisdiction over the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Washington, as well as the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, is the nation's largest federal court. BAMN presented its oral arguments before this court in a hearing on February 13th and presently awaits its decision.

We are especially pleased that the presenters for this National Briefing are two of our nations most knowledgeable and articulate individuals on the cases presently before the courts. Shanta Driver, Esq. is the National Chair for BAMN, National Director for UEAALDF, and head of the legal team in the cases before the 6th and the 9th Circuits. An attorney with Scheff, Washington & Driver, a leading Detroit civil rights and labor law firm, Ms. Driver has been organizing and fighting for civil and human rights for 35 years. Shirley Wilcher, JD is nationally known for her background in EEO and affirmative action law. For nearly seven years during the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor in charge of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP is the federal agency charged with enforcing Executive Order 11246, as amended, and requires non discrimination and affirmative action by companies doing business with the federal government. Presently, she is the Executive Director of the American Association for Affirmative Action and President of Wilcher Global, LLC., a consulting firm that specializes in diversity management, affirmative action, contract compliance, and government relations.

There is no question that this National Briefing comes at a most propitious time given the current legal landscape for affirmative action, diversity and inclusion initiatives in colleges and universities, state and local governments, but also for all other segments of our society that will be impacted by these courts' decisions. The National Briefing will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Pettit College of Law on the campus of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. We are confident that you will find this National Briefing worthy of your time and consideration, and we hope that you will join us for this consequential event.

P.S. We want to also make you aware of an important diversity conference that will be held Thursday, March 22, 2012, in Lima, Ohio on the campus of Rhode State College. Lima is only 17 miles from the campus of Ohio Northern University in Ada. The 16th Annual State-of-the-State Conference will also feature Ms. Wilcher and Ms. Driver and offer conferees a choice of 18 breakout sessions. For more information please visit the conference website at:

Marshall Rose, Region V Director
Huda N. Melky, Region IV Director
American Association for Affirmative Action
888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800 888 16th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006 Washington, D.C. 20006
(Tel) 202-349-9855 * 800-252-8952 * (Fax) 202-355-1399

2262 Grelyn Drive
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services
Toledo, Ohio 43615 Western Kentucky University
Phone: 419/557-2754 Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270/745-5121


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