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Should the American Bar Association enforce affirmative action in law schools? The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will pose this question to a panel of experts in a hearing tomorrow. Specifically, the USCCR will question whether the ABA’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Standard 211, which calls for law schools to show “concrete action” towards ensuring diversity among students, faculty and staff, is effective or appropriate.

Panelists will include George Mason University School of Law Professor David E. Bernstein; University of Michigan Law School Professor Richard O. Lempert; University of California Los Angeles School of Law Professor Richard H. Sander; and Steven R. Smith, chairman of the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

— David Pluviose


Univ. of Arkansas Increases Funding for African Studies



The University of Arkansas says it hopes that some additional funding for African-American studies will help increase minority enrollment.

The Fayetteville campus is adding $60,000 to bring the program budget to $311,000 for next fiscal year.

History professor Dr. Charles F. Robinson, who directs the program, says the increase should be the start of a trend. He says the plan is to expand the program 10-fold in coming years. Robinson says he hopes to start an African-American studies major and build a $5 million endowment.

For the 2005 fall semester, 17,821 students were enrolled at the university. Of those, 982 — or 5.5 percent — were Black. Another 372 (2.1 percent) were Hispanic.

University officials have said they would like the student body to mirror the state’s population, in which Blacks make up 15.3 percent and Hispanics account for 4.4 percent.

—  Associated Press

Michigan to Grade State’s Colleges on Diversity, Teaching


The Michigan Board of Education has decided to issue annual grades for the state’s universities and colleges’ schools of education.

The board unanimously approved the measure earlier this week.

Among areas the report cards will cover are programs, graduates passing the teacher certification test, students graduating in six years and recruitment of minority students, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“These factors would tell us collectively about the overall performance of their teachers,” says board vice president John Austin.

The initiative will be phased in over the next three years.

Schools that get failing grades on the new report cards could receive help from the Michigan Department of Education. The results also might affect federal funding or the schools’ certification as teacher training institutions.

— Associated Press

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