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Higher Ed in the News

Colleges need to take a broader view of discrimination for institutional success

June 30, 2010

The nation's shifting racial demographics and the growing number of government regulations will force colleges and universities to consider issues of discrimination more broadly than in the past, say higher-education legal experts.

Lawyers representing colleges and those that specialize in higher education are meeting in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, which is marking its 50th anniversary.

In his speech opening the conference, Robert M. O'Neil, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, said racial diversity will be one of the major issues higher education will confront as the nation's non-white minority groups grow to constitute a multihued majority.

"The vision has changed with regards to diversity," said Jonathan Alger, senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers University. In the past, racial diversity began as a mandate only of civil-rights laws, he said, but now economic experts argue that diversity is necessary for institutional success.

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