Center on Race and Social Problems to host discussion panel

By Alexa Bakalarski / News Editor

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Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems will bring national experts together on Tuesday to discuss efforts to reduce racial disparities in higher education.

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling that university admissions offices can take race into consideration to form a diverse student body, the “Diversity and Racial Justice in the 21st Century University” panel will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the 20th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. After a morning panel discussion, experts will break out into afternoon panels on supporting faculty of color, affirmative action and K-12 supports.

James Huguley, a social work professor at Pitt, organized the event.

“From the Supreme Court decision to the growing number of student protests, we’ve seen that how we manage racial issues at higher-education institutions is of extreme [importance] to our mission and to our constituents,” Huguley said in a release. “We’ve collected some of the best researchers and practitioners to speak to best practices in access, retention, and the success of students and faculty members of color.”

Penn State’s Liliana Garces, University of Texas at Austin’s Richard Reddick, Pitt Education Professor Gina Garcia and Jason Lee from the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program will form the expert panel, moderated by Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education’s Karina Chavez.

The Supreme Court case – Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin –  involved Abigail Fisher, a White woman who sued UT Austin after being denied admission there in 2008. Fisher claimed the admissions office discriminated against her because of her race. The University takes race into consideration as part of the admissions process in its efforts to increase minority enrollment. The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that considering race as part of UT Austin’s admissions practice was constitutional.

Kedra Ishop, formerly the director of admissions at The University of Texas at Austin, will be the keynote speaker at the event. Ishop is currently the associate vice president for enrollment management at the University of Michigan.
Registration for  the event is $149, and can be done online. Six continuing-education credits are also available for students.

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