LAWRENCE – A debate about affirmative action in university admissions will be the centerpiece of Black History Month events at the University of Kansas School of Law.
Harvard law professor Ron Sullivan will debate on behalf of the Black Law Students Association, and Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, will debate on behalf of the Federalist Society. The debate will take place at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in 203 Green Hall.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will make opening remarks at the event, which is free and open to the public.
The debate topic aligns with Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear regarding the use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions at the University of Texas. It is the latest in a line of cases considering whether and to what extent the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection under the law” permits race to be used as a factor to achieve greater diversity in higher education. In 2003, the court upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s use of race to favor minority applicants in the admissions process in Grutter v. Bollinger.
KU’s Black Law Students Association is celebrating its first Black History Month Campaign throughout the month of February with the slogan “Celebrating a Rich History: Black History is American History.” Other activities include educational presentations that highlight African American history, musicians, authors and artists; a week dedicated to late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, including an event that welcomes high school students to Green Hall to learn about law and Marshall’s legacy; and a closing celebration.
“Black History Month gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate African and African American culture and their contributions to American history and culture,” said Tonda Hill, president of KU’s Black Law Students Association.