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UGA LAW SCHOOL LECTURER TAKES CRITICAL LOOK AT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Abstract

Monday, February 16, 1998

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172

CONTACT: Prof. Richard Nagareda, (706) 542-5433

UGA LAW SCHOOL LECTURER TAKES CRITICAL LOOK AT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

ATHENS, Ga. -- Does affirmative action advance educational diversity? Not according to Associate Professor Jim Chen of the University of Minnesota Law School, who will present his research findings at the University of Georgia School of Law on Monday, February 23. The lecture, to be held in Room F of the law school at 3:45 p.m., is open free to the public and is sponsored by the Federalist Society, a law student organization.

Chen's talk, "Command Performance: The Soul of Diversity Under Affirmative Action," is based on a forthcoming law review article he is preparing for a symposium on the twentieth anniversary of the Bakke decision. That famous California case permitted the case-by-case consideration of race in university admissions for the purpose of enhancing diversity, but it is being attacked on numerous legal fronts today.

Chen says he will examine and challenge the widespread assumption that racial and ethnic diversity translates into expressive diversity in educational settings.

"Schemes to generate diversity through command-and-control regulation abound in the law of environmental protection and broadcast licensing," Chen said. "The legal record in these contexts demonstrates the implausibility of commanding diversity by manipulating the identity of species in an ecosystem or the identity of speakers in the marketplace of ideas. Similarly coercive efforts to enhance educational diversity through affirmative action have failed and will continue to fail."

Chen has written extensively on affirmative action. A native of Georgia, he is a graduate of Harvard Law School and served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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