Lecture makes case for classroom diversity

Professor Patricia Gurin, an expert defense witness in lawsuits challenging the University of Michigan’s race-based admission policies, discusses her research supporting classroom diversity at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Gurin appears at Bates about a month before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Detroit hears arguments in two landmark lawsuits challenging admissions policies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, on the basis that they amount to racial quotas. One suit involved the university’s undergraduate policy and the other, the policy at the university law school.

Chair of the university’s psychology department, Gurin testified in the institution’s defense as an expert witness during the original trials ā€” which last year resulted in divided verdicts as one federal judge upheld the undergraduate policy and the other ruled against the law school policy. In December, under national scrutiny, the appeals court will review those verdicts.

In her lecture at Bates, titled Educational Benefits of Diversity, Gurin will summarize what she and her colleagues learned from the extensive research conducted in preparing her testimony. In particular, she’ll outline the educational benefits of racial and ethnic diversity for undergraduate students in colleges and universities.

Gurin will provide a rationale for two kinds of benefits: the effects of diversity on active thinking and engagement with learning, and the effects of diversity on preparation for citizenship. Gurin will also address critiques of her work that have arisen since last year’s decisions on the cases and will discuss possible responses to a ruling against the university in December.

For more information, please call 207-786-6252.

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