Posted on January 2, 2008

Race and Gender Preferences at the Crossroads

California Association of Scholars, n.d.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

8:30am—6:00 pm

University of Southern California, Davidson Center

Registration is $35 (students $20), including continental breakfast and a catered luncheon. Checks can be made out to California Association of Scholars, and sent with completed registration form (download here) to: CAS, 144 Bay Heights, Soquel, CA 95073-3026.

Passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in November 2006 by a wide margin (58 to 42) has dramatically accelerated the pace of the movement started by California’s Proposition 209 to end the use of racial and gender preferences in public education and employment. A direct consequence of the Michigan result has been the introduction of five more state initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Passage of these proposals would signal a decisive change in the outlook for preferences.

The three panels will look at the present state of knowledge and opinion about 1) the harm done by preferences to their intended beneficiaries, to higher education and to society at large; 2) the experience so far of those states that have passed anti-preference initiatives; and 3) the outlook for preferences given a changed national climate that has resulted in the 2008 initiatives.

Our keynote speaker is Ward Connerly, founder and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, a national organization that seeks to inform and educate the public about the need to move beyond race and, specifically, racial and gender preferences. Mr. Connerly has gained national attention and respect as an outspoken advocate of equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, sex, or ethnic background.

Mr. Connerly is supported by a strong and diverse group of speakers that includes many of the most knowledgeable people in the country on this topic: Glynn Custred (Anthropology, CSU East Bay and co-author of Proposition 209), Richard H. Sander (Law, UC Los Angeles), John M. Ellis (Literature, UC Santa Cruz and President of the CAS), Peter Wood (Executive Director of the National Association of Scholars), Thomas Wood (President of Americans Against Discrimination and Preferences, and co-author of Proposition 209), Carl Cohen (Philosophy, University of Michigan), Charles Geshekter (History, CSU Chico and Chairman of the CAS), Gail Heriot (Law, University of San Diego, and a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights), Roger Clegg (President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity), Jennifer Gratz (Executive Director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative), and Joseph R. Hicks (Vice President of Community Advocates Inc.).

The conference has been organized by the California Association of Scholars (CAS) and is co-sponsored by the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) and the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO).

The Davidson Center is located at 3415 Figuera St. on the USC campus. Suggested parking is at the nearby Jefferson East Parking Plaza (PSD) and costs $8 for the day. The Radisson Hotel, Midtown Los Angeles, is affiliated with the University of Southern California and directly across the street from the university campus at 3540 South Figueroa Street. (

[Editor’s Note: A PDF flyer of the program of the conference can be read or downloaded here.]