Nearpass, Gregory R., Albany Law Review
The transformation of an event into a symposium is no small task. It requires not only planning and preparation but also constant dedication, support from peers, and the belief that when all of these variables are added together, the end justifies the means. A symposium traditionally has several goals to fulfill. More than just goals, though, a symposium must represent scholarly thought and enlighten the attendees and participants. The topic of the symposium--which will serve as the guide throughout the rest of the process--must be chosen wisely. It must be captivating, while at the same time controversial--a legal issue at the forefront of contemporary society. The topic must entice participants from varying perspectives, and it must be an issue that not only interests the academia, but also be such that it transcends into everyday life, invigorating people to attend and participate. Through the speakers, a successful Symposium--whatever the topic--presents both sides of each story and displays the conflicting viewpoints so that the audience has a broad understanding of the real issues. This dichotomy of views adds flavor to the symposium, adds passion to the presentations, adds credibility to the symposium, and facilitates a thoughtful and colorful debate. Lastly, the symposium itself must be structured to be timely, informative, and meaningful.
This year's symposium was entitled Confronting Realities: The Legal, Moral, and Constitutional Issues Involving Diversity and featured three panels: Racial Profiling, Immigration Policy, and Affirmative Action. This diversity-centered symposium was as timely as ever, especially in light of racial and ethnic problems that followed the events of September 11th and in light of recent judicial decisions regarding admissions into higher education. Both events have changed people's attitudes towards diversity and have rekindled old debates.
The symposium featured participants from around the country, ranging from renowned professors to leaders of national organizations. Participants in the Racial Profiling panel were Nelson Lund, Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law, Dr. Herbert London, President of the Hudson Institute, and Robert Chang, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. …