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Lecture focuses on affirmative action

October 29, 2007

Daniel O. Bernstine, president and chief executive officer of the Law School Admissions Council and president emeritus of Portland State University, will speak on “The Continuing Need for Affirmative Action” at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 30, at the Great Hall at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Bernstine is the keynote speaker in the Diversity Scholar Lecture Series sponsored by the Intergroup Relations Center and the College of Law.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bernstine’s address will describe the continuing need for affirmative action in law school admissions and the challenges facing those who continue to support the use of affirmative action to achieve meaningful diversity in law school classrooms.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings have forced law schools to misuse tests,” Bernstine says. “They are placing too much weight on the scores, which makes them less diverse because minority students tend not to score as well as other students.”

Law schools have ceded the ranking to U.S. News & World Report, Bernstine says, and should develop other ranking systems to fight that monopoly.

Bernstine adds that, while diversity has improved in the legal profession, it still lags behind other professions.

In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger explicitly recognized a need for affirmative action practices in admission to law schools. She expected that, within 25 years, affirmative action no longer would be necessary, but Bernstine says law schools are far from that goal.

For more information on the lecture series, call (480) 965-3777 or visit the Web site