History 4321/CS 401

The Chancing Conception of Higher Education

November 16, 2005


I. Public Policy and Education

1. Background Conditions (taxes and 1980s conservatism; philosophical changes; emergence of Religious Right; crack epidemic)


2. Funding Equity (state constitutions; NJ and NH experiences; difficulty in translating decisions into policy)


3. Vouchers (grassroots activism; political changes; effects: court challenge; objections: civil liberties, teachers’ unions, skimming student population; movement toward charter schools; unanswered questions)


II. Beyond Bakke

            1. The Diversity Movement (admissions strategies: life experiences vs. standardized tests; curricular changes: women’s, African-American, Latino studies programs, hiring initiatives; co-curricular changes: speech codes and first-year orientation programs, central role of Student Life offices)


            2. Political Climate (Helms “white hands” ad; Kerry address and affirmative action; California and significance of Asian-Americans; Lowell High School case; Berkeley admissions; Ward Connerly and California Civil Rights Initiative; debate over impact; Washington battle and Initiative 200)


            3. Legal Challenges (how to define diversity; Hoppner and Texas law school affirmative action plan—tension b/w 14th amendment and civil rights act; Johnson and allegation of reverse discrimination; Piscataway Board of Education v. Taxman–involvement of Clinton administration; decision by civil rights groups to settle, role of Alito; alternative grounds for Powell decision?)


III. The “Michigan Muddle”

            1. Background (emergence of CIR; nature of Michigan admissions systems—undergraduates vs. law school, tailoring toward Bakke?; peculiar nature of 6th Circuit, 2001 filibuster; divided decision; on to Supreme Court)


            2. The Parties’ Arguments (University of Michigan: Bakke and stare decisis; importance of academic freedom, diversity as mission and role of “critical mass,” soft variables and need to look beyond test scores; importance of generals’ brief—military and affirmative action; CIR: Title VI of Civil Rights Act, statistical differences, need for strict scrutiny, no compelling state interest)


            3. The Decisions (Gratz and abolition of quotas; Stevens dissent; O’Connor and Grutter—diversity as compelling state interest, time constraint?; Rehnquist and distinction w/o difference; Scalia and defining diversity; Thomas and issue of elitism)


            4. The Effects (O’Connor and question of guidance; conservative response—challenge implementation; higher ed establishment—define diversity as quality)