Northeastern University Hosts Race Relations Conference
Affirmative action and life after the University of Michigan cases dominated discussions last month at a two-day conference at Northeastern University in Boston.
The conference, "Race Relations on College Campuses: New Dimensions of Inclusion," climaxed with a town meeting. The panel included John Alger, legal counsel for the University of Michigan, Dr. Evelyn Hu-DeHart, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, Scott Palmer, attorney with Nixon Peabody, and Dr. Ronald Bailey, professor of African American history at Northeastern University.
Alger expressed that, though the University of Michigan cases were a victory for affirmative action, advocates are far from raising the "mission accomplished' banner.
"Race is still an issue, color blindness doesn't mean being blind to context and history," Alger said. "Until race is looked at in an individual and holistic way we cannot claim to have reached our goal."
According to Alger, even with the recent challenges, affirmative action in higher education is a great success story envied around the world. He stated the policy is not set in stone and should be subject to periodic review in order to keep it effective and growing with a changing society.
Bailey said affirmative action is not a perfect system and that in order to improve the effectiveness there needs to be a movement. "We may not have it together but maybe together we can have it all," Bailey said. …