1995-1996 indexDistributed March 6, 1996
Conference to explore the myths and realities of affirmative action
"Debating Affirmative Action: The Politics of Inclusion," a two-day conference, will take place March 15-16 at the Thayer Street Quadrangle and the Salomon Center for Teaching.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A diverse group of two dozen academic, legal, and political experts will gather at Brown University for a two-day conference on the past, present and future of affirmative action in America. The conference, "Debating Affirmative Action: The Politics of Inclusion," will take place March 15 and 16 at the Thayer Street Quadrangle and the Salomon Center for Teaching. The event is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the New England Desegregation Assistance Center for Equity in Education, and the Rhode Island Coalition for Affirmative Action. All sessions are free and open to the public.
"The political rhetoric we've already begun to hear from several candidates - especially [Pat] Buchanan, but not him alone - highlights the need for an open and honest debate on issues of race," said Fayneese Miller, associate professor of education and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. "When we talk about affirmative action, we ostensibly are talking about race, and to some extent gender."
Chang-Lin Tien, chancellor of the University of California-Berkeley, will give the keynote address on Friday night. The University of California's Board of Regents narrowly passed a ban on race and sex preferences in student admissions and employee hiring to be implemented in 1998.
Another highlight of the conference will be a panel discussion Saturday morning on the topic "Civil Rights, the Federal Government, and Affirmative Action." The panelists will include Dennis Hayashi, President Clinton's appointee as director of the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The conference broadens the issue of affirmative action beyond employment and higher education admission to include a panel that will address the issue from an elementary and secondary school level. According to Miller, "The key issue that has implications for the development of future legislation on affirmative action is desegregation.
"What I hope this conference will do is to allow us to engage in open, honest debate about affirmative action, and provide political candidates with information that will be useful in helping them firm up their platforms on affirmative action," Miller said. "Affirmative action is clearly one of the major political issues this year - what's decided politically about affirmative action is going to have repercussions for many generations, not just the current generation."
"Desegregation, Education and Affirmative Action: Issues for Elementary and Secondary Schools"
Panelists: Carol Camp Yeakey, professor of education, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Gary Orfield, professor of education, Harvard University School of Education and director of the Harvard Project on School Desegregation; Ricardo Fernandez, president of Lehman College; and Philip Tegeler, a lawyer with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Moderator: Dianne Curran, assistant director of the New England Desegregation Assistance Center for Equity in Education, Brown.2:45 - 4:15 p.m. Workshops
"Controlled Choice: A New Approach to Desegregated Education and School Improvement," presented by Charles Willie, professor of education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
"Emerging Legal Issues and Trends in Affirmative Action and Desegregation," presented by John Brittain, law professor, University of Connecticut School of Law6:00 p.m. The Martin Martel Lecture
Keynote Speaker: Chang-Lin Tien, Chancellor, University of California - Berkeley
"Civil Rights, the Federal Government, and Affirmative Action"
Panelists: John Brittain, professor of law, University of Connecticut School of Law; Dennis Hayashi, director of the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Neal Kumar Katyal (invited), U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit, New Haven, Conn.; Gwendolyn Yip, lawyer, National Affairs Pacific American Legal Consortium.10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
"Corporate and Political Responses to Affirmative Action"
Panelists: Stephen Steinberg, professor of urban studies, Queens College - The City University of New York; Derrick Jackson, columnist, The Boston Globe; Dennis Rivera, president, Local 1199 Hospital Workers Union, National Health and Human Services Employees Union; and Hilary Silver, professor of sociology, Brown. Moderator: Darrell West, professor of political science, director of the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory, Brown.2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
"Race and Social Justice Perspectives on Affirmative Action"
Panelists: Faye Crosby, professor of psychology, Smith College; M. Annette Jaimes-Guerrero, College of Humanities and Women's Studies, San Francisco State University; Michael Combs, professor of political science, University of Nebraska at Lincoln; and Charles Willie, professor of education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.######