March 21 School of Education forum to address challenges to affirmative action
March 21 School of Education forum to address challenges to affirmative actionMarch 17, 2005Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
In response to a growing number of court challenges to affirmative action policies across the country, Syracuse University’s School of Education is sponsoring a forum called “Affirmative Action: A Shared Responsibility” to explore the implications of these challenges. The forum will be held Monday, March 21, from 3-4 p.m. in Rooms 304 A-C of the Schine Student Center.
The forum will be moderated by Vincent Tinto, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Higher Education in the School of Education. “The gains we have made in closing the gap in college access are being threatened,” says Tinto. “If we are to succeed in addressing the issues at which affirmative action policies are aimed, we must all become involved-universities, schools and communities.”
The forum will bring together members of the community and University who have been involved in programs that have helped low-income and underrepresented students in the Syracuse community enter and succeed in college. Forum participants include Virginia Donohue, executive director of On-Point for College; Darlene Williams, former principal, Syracuse City School District; and David C. Smith, vice president of enrollment management at SU.
“Affirmative action today is a very polarizing issue-socially, politically and legally,” says Smith. “The concept of treating people evenly, taking into account their varying circumstances, is actively challenged by the concept of treating people equally in absolute terms. This division clearly poses a threat to the ideals of Affirmative Action.”
The forum will explore the impact affirmative action programs have had on students in the Syracuse community. Audience members will be encouraged to explore the importance of providing broad opportunities in higher education to all members of the community. “This forum can and should be about dialogue,” says Smith. “Communicating on this issue provides the best chance of solutions.”