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Minority Matters March 2014

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America is a nation of demographics, gender, race, and socioeconomics.  There are many lines that either unite or divide us. In this episode we will talk about diversity, especially as it relates to our public institutions. How important is diversity and what steps are important when seeking to achieve it.

TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC]

WELCOME TO MINORITY MATTERS, I'M YOUR SOUTHEAST SYLVESTER SMITH. AMERICA IS A NATION OF DEMOGRAPHICS, GENDER, RACE, SOCIO/EBG NO,  SOCIOECONOMICS. TODAY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PUBLIC DIVERSITY AND OUR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AND WHAT STEPS TO STAKE WHEN SEEKING TO ACHIEVE IT. JOINING ME ARE MICHAEL HUNTER SCHWARTZ, PROFESSOR OF LAW AT PRACTICING ATTORNEY AND GRADUATE OF THE BOWEN SCHOOL OF LAW AND DOCTOR LEARMOND CHAPMAN, PROFESS SO ARE OF SOCIOLOGY AT PHILANDER SMITH COLLEGE. GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT TOPIC. I HAVE TO SAY, JUST AS A POINT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE, I'M SWELLED WITH PRIDE BECAUSE I AM AN /AEU /HRUPL OF BOTH YOUR INSTITUTIONS. LET'S TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY. IS DIVERSITY STILL IMPORTANT TODAY? AND I THINK I'LL START WITH YOU PROFESSOR.

I'VE INDICATED IN PREVIOUS CONVERSATION, I THINK IT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TODAY. WE HAVEN'T ACHIEVED THE KIND OF EQUALITY THAT WE STARTED OUT TO ACHIEVE WHEN WE INTRODUCED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND AS A CONSEQUENCE, OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND ALL OF US WHO ARE INTERESTED IN FAIRNESS NEED TO SEE THE NEED FOR IT AND DO ALL IN OUR POWER TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THE EQUALITY WE TALK ABOUT COULD BE EXPERIENCED IN REALITY.

CORY?

YEAH, TOTALLY AGREE WITH PROFESSOR CHAPMAN. IT'S DEFINITELY SOMETHING THAT'S STILL NECESSARY. UNTIL WE'VE REACHED THAT CRITICAL MASS IN ALL AREAS OF SOCIETY, AND I DON'T JUDGE THAT BY SIMPLY HAVING AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. WE NEED TO LOOK  ALL AREAS OF SOCIETY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND THEN WE CAN DISCUSS WHETHER IT'S NECESSARY AND I'M SURE WE'RE A LONG WAY OFF FROM THAT.

I AGREE.

I THINK AT THIS POINT WE'RE STILL IN A SOCIETY WHERE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN ARKANSAS, 8 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES, BUT THEY MAKE UP 40 PERCENT OF PRISON POPULATION AND 60 PERCENT OF THE DEATH ROW POPULATION. AND THE MOST RECENT STUDIES FROM SEVEN SOUTHERN STATES FOUND THAT BLACKS WERE STILL SYSTEMATICALLY EXCLUDED FROM JURIES, WHICH IS PARTICULARLY OUTRAGEOUS BECAUSE RESEARCH SHOWS THAT DIVERSE JURIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO MAKE ACCURATE CONCLUSIONS. WE HAVE ONE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE ENTIRE STATE THAT ISN'T WHITE. WE ARE THAT FAR OFF FROM ANY KIND OF GENUINE EQUALITY, WE DEFINITELY NEED TO BE STILL THINKING ABOUT DIVERSITY ISSUES.

AS WE START GETTING INTO THE MEAT OF THIS DISCUSSION, ONE OF OF THE ROLES I ALWAYS PLAY IS THAT OF  DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, SO I'M GOING TO HAVE TO CHALLENGE YOU GENTLEMEN AND I'LL START WITH YOU PROFESSOR. YOU SAID WE HAVE NOT ACHIEVED THE KIND OF DIVERSITY WE SOUGHT OUT  WHEN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS CREATED. THE FIRST AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM FEDERALLY THAT I CAN THINK OF WAS THE FEDERAL PURCHASING THAT WAS CREATED BY PRESIDENT NIXON. WELL, HERE IN 2014 WE HAVE AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT, AS CORY POINTED OUT. SO WHEN THERE'S AN AFRICAN AMERICAN THAT HOLDS THE MOST POWERFUL OFFICE IN OUR COUNTRY, ARGUABLY THE MOST POWERFUL POSITION IN THE FREE WORLD, HOW CAN WE SAY THAT WE HAVEN'T ACHIEVED OUR GOAL WHEN IT COMES TO DIVERSITY?

BECAUSE AT PRESENT, TOO MANY MINORITIES -- THIS IS AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANICS, WOMEN, ASIANS -- THEY ARE FAR REMOVED FROM THE KIND OF EQUALITY THAT THE DOMINANT CULTURE EXPERIENCES. MATTER OF FACT, ONE POINT I OBSERVED WHILE THINKING ABOUT THIS TOPIC HAD TO DO WITH THE NUMBER OF SPACES AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS OF THE DOMINANT CULTURE WHO WENT TO IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES. CERTAIN SPACES ARE RESERVED FOR THEM, AND ABOUT 40 PERCENT OF THOSE SPACES ARE ALREADY PREPARED FOR THOSE CHILDREN OF INDIVIDUALS WHO MADE GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THOSE COLLEGES OR ATTENDED THOSE COLLEGES. AS A CONSEQUENCE, FEWER PLACES ARE LEFT FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO MUST GO THROUGH THE SYSTEM, THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM TO ACHIEVE THE AMERICAN DREAM. THEY CAN'T GET IT ANY OTHER WAY, AND SO SPACES MUST BE PROVIDED FOR THEM TO CONTINUE TO AT LEAST MOVE FROM LOWER LEVEL TO A HIGHER LEVEL.

YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT'S A FAIR POINT AND THAT ALMOST SOUND -- THIS WHOLE THING OF SETTING ASIDE SEATS SOUNDS LIKE THE REVERSE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, BUT WOULDN'T YOU AGREE /P YOU'RE MAKING A CONTRIBUTION TO A PRIVATE ORGANIZATION, THAT THAT CONTRIBUTION SHOULD MEAN YOUR FAMILY SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THAT ORGANIZATION. THE EXAMPLE HE USED WAS A PRIVATE SCHOOL THAT MAYBE SOMEONE MADE A $1 MILLION CONTRIBUTION AND IN EXCHANGE THEY WANT A SEAT FOR THEIR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD. DOES THAT NOT MAKE SENSE?

WELL, NO. IT'S UNFAIR TO BE ABLE TO BUY PRIVILEGE, AS YOU STATE, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY THAT CAN'T BUY THE SAME PRIVILEGE.

THERE YOU GO.

SO YOU'RE CREATED, EXACERBATING, INCREASING THE PROBLEM, MULTIPLYING THE PROBLEM IF YOU CONTINUE TO ALLOW THAT.

AND I THINK THAT IT SORT OF KILLS THE MYTH THAT THINGS ARE BEING DECIDED ASIDE FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SOLELY BASED ON MERIT. AND IT'S STRIKING TO ME THAT ALL WE'VE JUST DECIDED IS THAT MONEY MERIT IS JUST AS GOOD AS, YOU KNOW, CAPABILITY MERIT AND FOR ME THAT FEELS /EUR RATIONAL. IRRATIONAL.

LET ME READ THE STATEMENT AS I PUT IT TOGETHER WHEN I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS PROGRAM. IT SAYS IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT A NUMBER OF POSITIONS AT THESE INSTITUTIONS HAVE GRANTED TO STUDENTS SIMPLY ON THE BASE SAY THAT THEY ALREADY OCCUPY ELITE POSITIONS BY BIRTH. IT IS ESTIMATED IN A RECENT ANALYSIS BY IVY LEAGUE INSTITUTIONS, THAT AS MANY OF 40 PERCENT OF THE CURRENT ADMISSION SPOTS FOR THESE SCHOOLS ARE RESERVED FOR THE CHILDREN OF FORMER GRADUATES AND  DONORS. THESE ARE CALLED LEGACIES. I'M SAYING THESE ARE A SORT OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM FOR THE RICH. IF THEY HAVE IT AND THE POOR HAVE BEEN HANDICAPPED FOR SO LONG, THEN YOU SEE THE NEED FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO CONTINUE TO SEE IF WE CAN LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD.

LET'S TAKE A STEP BACK FOR A MOMENT. I'M DEFINITELY GOING TO WANT TO COME BACK TO YOUR POINT. LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS. I MEAN, WHAT IS IT, GENTLEMEN? WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION?

IT'S -- BECAUSE I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT, SO I CAN'T TALK, SO ANYBODY ELSE CAN JUMP IN. MANDATED GOVERNMENT, MANDATED PROGRAM, DIRECTING SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES AND OTHER SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS TO TAKE PROACTIVE AMERICA  MEASURES TO ENSURE GENDER AND RACIAL BALANCES WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE POPULATIONS. THAT'S WHAT IT IS.

I WANT TO ADD TO THAT. NOBODY'S DISPUTING THERE'S BEEN A HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CERTAIN GROUPS IN THIS COUNTRY. YOU RARELY SEE THAT DISPUTED ANYMORE. SO WHAT PROFESSOR CHAPMAN SAID IS MEANT TO ADDRESS WE ALL AGREE EXISTED ED AT ONE TIME TO HELP THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY UNDERREPRESENTED.

ONE THING I WOULD ADD TO WHAT CORY SAID IS THAT I THINK THAT WE STILL HAVE THOSE PROBLEMS. WE STILL HAVE SUCH A PROBLEM WITH OUR STANDARDIZED TESTING THAT 800 COLLEGES IN THIS COUNTRY, INCLUDING REALLY WELL KNOWN PLACE LIKE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, THEY'VE ABANDONED STANDARDIZED TESTING AS A METHOD FOR ADMISSION. WHY? BECAUSE THEY REALIZE IT'S NOT PRODUCING RATIONAL RESULTS THAT CORRELATE WITH STUDENT GRADE. IN LAW SCHOOL, THE TESTING IS EVEN WORSE THAN THE SAT OR THE ACT'S IN TERMS OF PREDICTING PERFORMANCE.

I'D HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU THERE. I REMEMBER TAKING THE LSAT AND I WILL NEVER FORGET ONE OF THE QUESTIONS WAS THESE FIVE PEOPLE GET ON A TRAIN. PERSON ONE HAS TO SIT NEXT TO PERSON THREE, PERSON FOUR WILL NOT SIT NEXT TO PERSON TWO, SO ALIGN THEM IN A WAY THAT CORRESPONDS WITH THESE LIMITATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS. THAT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRACTICE OF LAW OR THE STUDY OF IT SO THAT SEEMED ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS TO ME AND CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY IT'S UTILIZED TODAY. BACK TO THE STATEMENT AT HAND, THAT BEING WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, THE TECHNICAL DEFINITION THAT YOU USE, PROFESSOR, IS SOMETHING THAT NO ONE WOULD AGREE WITH AS AN ASPIRATIONAL GOAL. I THINK THE PROBLEM WE HAVE, AND I THINK PUBLIC PERCEPTION IS PROBABLY IN FAVOR OF THIS POSITION, IS THAT ASPIRATIONAL GOALS ARE FINE, AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT PUTTING LEGISLATIVE MANDATE ON A PRIVATE BUSINESS OWNER OR INSTITUTION. THAT THEY HAVE TO ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. DOES ANYONE DISAGREE WITH THAT OR DO YOU AGREE THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE ABLE TO REQUIRE PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS TO IMPLEMENT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAMS.

I THINK THAT PRIVATE BUSINESSES ARE REQUIRING PRIVATE LEGAL EMPLOYERS TO HIRE FOR DIVERSITY AND THEY'RE CHOOSING TO TAKE THEIR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE IF THEY DON'T. SO WE ACTUALLY HAVE PRIVATE POLICING GOING ON. IF THAT'S HAPPENING TO THE DEGREE IT IS HAPPENING, AND I'M CERTAIN IT'S HAPPENING IN LITTLE ROCK BECAUSE I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THAT. I DON'T KNOW. I SORT OF FEEL LIKE WE MAY BE GETTING, AT LEAST AT THE PRIVATE LEVEL -- WE MAY BE FINDING OTHER WAYS THAT WILL PUSH LEGAL EMPLOYERS TO CHANGE THEIR PRACTICES.

YOU SEE, I KNOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SOME INSTITUTIONS, ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN PRACTICING DISCRIMINATION AND  AS A RESULT, THE GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. LET'S GO BACK TO 1957 AND CENTRAL HIGH RIGHT HERE IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. SEE HOW MUCH PRESSURE HAD TO BE APPLIED FOR REASONABLY THINKING PEOPLE TO MAKE CHANGES TO A SYSTEM THAT HAS BEEN UNFAIR. AND I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT LAST NIGHT AND WAS WONDERING, WERE THOSE STUDENTS -- NINE STUDENTS WHO WENT THERE THE FIRST TIME DEFICIENT IN THEIR PREPARATION TO GO TO HIGH SCHOOL? THEY FOUND NO DEFICIENCIES, BUT THEY WERE KEEPING THEM OUT. THEY CHOSE TO KEEP THEM OUT SO, UNLESS THE POWER OF THE STATE HAD BEEN USED TO HELP US BEGIN TO MOVE IN A DIRECTION TO RECTIFY THESE DISPARITIES, THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ANY EFFORTS.

YEAH, AND I THINK WE HAVE TO ALSO RECOGNIZE -- MY QUESTION WAS ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PUBLIC ORGANIZATION, NOT PRIVATE. THAT BEING A PUBLIC ORGANIZATION, I CERTAINLY AGREE WITH WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. IT SEEMS WITH THE DEAN'S POINT, THERE ARE EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT ARE MARKET DRIVEN FACTORS THAT ARE DIRECTING OR LEADING THESE PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS TO SEEK DIVERSITY. CORY, YOU WORK AT ONE OF THESE PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AT YOUR FIRM?

I AGREE WITH THE DEAN AND MR. CHAPMAN WITH WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT IS SORT OF THE WALMART INITIATIVE, WHERE WALMART CAME OUT AND SAID LOOK, WE'LL MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MINORITY LAWYERS, LAWYERS THAT HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY REPRESENTED AT YOUR FIRM WORKING ON MY CASES AND THAT SORT OF DRIVES DIVERSITY IN THAT AREA. THE FIRST THING THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN LAW IF I RECALLS IN THE STATE AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, I IMAGINE, WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE'S A PROBLEM. I MEAN, I THINK TOO OFTEN WE JUST IGNORE IT. IT'S NO BIG DEAL. OR YOU MAY HERE THE PIPELINE EXCUSE, THERE AREN'T ANY GOOD AFRICAN AMERICANS OR MINORITY LAWYERS OR LAW STUDENTS OUT THERE. THAT IS NOT TRUE. I'M HERE TO SAY THAT'S NOT TRUE. THESE LAW  FIRMS, LAW DEPARTMENTS, BUSINESSES, MUST RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM FIRST AND FOREMOST. THERE IS A PROBLEM OF DIVERSITY.

WELL, JUST AS AN OBJECTIVE THIRD-PARTY, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOUR FIRM IS REALLY WORKING AGGRESSIVELY TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A TEAM THAT LOOKS LIKE ARKANSAS. I JUST WANT TO APPLAUD THEM FOR THAT.

DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY.

CORY MAKES THE POINT, BEING THAT I THINK IS AN APPROPRIATE TRANSITION TO WHAT'S GOING ON AT YOUR UNIVERSITY. HE SAYS THAT SOME OF THESE LEGAL EMPLOYERS SAY THAT WE CAN'T HIRE AFRICAN AMERICAN ATTORNEYS BECAUSE THE UNIVERSITIES ARE NOT PRODUCING. NOW, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? AND BEFORE I ASK THE QUESTION, LETS ME SAY THIS. I KNOW YOU HAVE THIS NEW PROGRAM, LEAP. AND I'D LIKE FOR YOU TO TALK ABOUT THAT AND WHAT IT DOES AND WHAT IT IS. BEFORE YOU DO, I'D LIKE TO SAY THIS. WHEN I APPLY FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS, BOWEN SCHOOL OF LAW, THERE WERE 1685 APPLICANTS OF WHICH 159 WERE SELECTED. WE HAD, WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER TO BE A SMALL GROUP OF AFRICAN AMERICANS THAT WERE IN THAT CLASS. SO TELL US WHAT THE PROBLEM IS, TELL US WHAT LEAP -- THE  GOAL OF LEAP IS AND WHAT IT WOULD DO THE ADDRESS THE ISSUE.

THERE REALLY IS A PROBLEM WITH, NOT THE LAWYERS THAT LAW SCHOOLS ARE PRODUCING, BUT I WOULD SAY THERE'S A PROBLEM WITH LAW SCHOOLS SUCCESSFULLY RECRUITING AND CONVINCING COLLEGE GRADUATES OF COLOR THAT THEY WANT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, THAT IT WILL SERVE THEIR INTERESTS. I THINK WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB. THE TERM WE USE IN OUR FIELD ARE PIPELINE PROGRAMS. DO A BETTER JOB COMMUNICATING THE VALUE PROPOSITION OF THE LAW DEGREE. ASIDE FROM THAT, AND SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE LEAP PROGRAM, SO HERE'S BASICALLY WHERE THIS PROGRAM'S COMING FROM. WHEN YOU LOOK HARD AT THE DATA, ARKANSAS NEEDS TO DIVERSIFY ITS LAWYER POPULATION. WE ARE STILL WAY BEHIND THE NATIONAL LEVEL OF DIVERSE LAWYERS AND THE NATIONAL LEVEL IS, THERE ARE HALF AS MANY LAWYERS OF COLOR AS THERE ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THIS COUNTRY, BY PERCENTAGES. AND ARKANSAS IS EVEN FURTHER THAN THAT BEHIND. AND SO PART OF OUR GOAL WITH LEAP IS, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL THE STUDENTS IN THE CLASS, AND FOR THE BENEFIT OF ARKANSAS, WE NEED TO BE MORE REPRESENTATIVE, BUT NOT JUST REPRESENTATIVE IN TERMS OF EVEN OF COLOR, BUT IN TERMS OF SOCIOECONOMIC BACKGROUND. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE'S A REAL HUGE PROBLEM IN THE STATE GETTING LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR ANYONE IN THE DELTA REGION. AND SO WE'RE NOT REALLY SERVING ARKANSAS AS A PUBLIC INSTITUTION IF WE'RE NOT PRODUCING LAWYERS THAT REPRESENT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF THE STATE.

WELL, YOU KNOW, I'VE TALKED TO LAWYERS OF COLOR, SEVERAL OF THEM THAT ARE AFRICAN AMERICAN AND ASKED THEM, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS EFFORT THAT BOWEN IS MAKING? AND SEVERAL OF THEM ARE MEN AND WOMAN WHO HAVE HUNG OUT AT SHINGLE AND ONE THING I'VE HEARD FROM SEVERAL OF THEM IS I HAD TO MEET THE PREVIOUS STANDARDS, NO ONE OPENED A SPECIAL DOOR FOR ME, SO I DON'T THINK IT'S APPROPRIATE THAT THERE'S A NEW PROGRAM THAT SAYS HEY, WE'RE GOING TO LOWER THE BAR JUST FOR YOU SO THOSE PEOPLE CAN COME OUT AND COMPETE WITH US AS AN AMERICAN ATTORNEY.

GREAT QUESTION. I THINK THAT REFLECTS THE MYTHOLOGY ABOUT THE PREDICTIVE POWER OF THE LSAT. FOR BOWEN LAW SCHOOL, THERE'S ONLY A 0.3 CORRELATION BETWEEN LSAT SCORE AND SUCCESS IN LAW SCHOOL. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT'S SORT OF, LIKE, THE WAY YOU CALCULATE A VARIANT. YOU SCARE THE CORRELATION SO THAT MAKES -- BASICALLY 10 PERCENT OF THE VARIANCE IN STUDENT PERFORMANCE OF LSAT, 90 PERCENT OF THE VARIANCE IS SOMETHING WE'RE NOT MEASURING WITH LSTA OR UNDERGRADUATE GPA. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? THAT MEANS THERE'S SOMETHING GOING ON THAT EXPLAINS WHY -- I BET THIS IS TRUE FOR WHEN YOU WERE IN LAW SCHOOL, THAT THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO DID GREAT, WHO HAD TERRIBLE LSAT SCORES AND PEOPLE WHO DID POORLY WHO HAD GREAT LSAT SCORES AND THAT'S BECAUSE SOMETHING ELSE EXPLAINS IT. HARD WORK, COMMITMENT, INTEGRITY, ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS THAT ARE MUCH BETTER PREDICTORS. ONCE YOU REALIZE -- IN FACT, PEOPLE WHO ADMINISTER THE LSAT IS AN ORGANIZE NATION CALLED THE LAW SCHOOL ADMISSION AND THEY'LL ADMINISTRATORS THEY'RE BOTCHING IT AND OVERRELY ON THE LSAT BECAUSE IT DOESN'T HAVE THAT MUCH PREDICTIVE POWER. WE'RE USING IT AS THE GOD OF ALL DECISION MAKING, WHEN WE KNOW IT DOESN'T HAVE THE GREAT OF PREDICTIVE POWER. WE'RE SAYING COME TO OUR LAW SCHOOL OVER THE SUMMER AND PROVE IT. YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL? WE'LL GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO PROVE THAT YOUR NUMBERS ARE NOT THE RIGHT PREDICTOR. WE'LL PUT YOU IN A LAW SCHOOL CLASS, TEACH YOU HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN LAW SCHOOL, AND IF YOU DO WELL, WE'LL ADMIT YOU.

CORY, DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON IT?

AS A GRADUATE, I AM ON THE ALUMNI BOARD AND FULLY SUPPORT THE DEAN. I THINK IT'S A GREAT NEW PROGRAM. I WOULD TELL THOSE STUDENTS OR LAWYERS NOW THAT GRADUATED AND WOULD SAY THAT, THIS IS NOT GOING TO LOWER THE STANDARDS FOR THE LAW SCHOOL. IN THE SENSE THAT THESE STUDENTS HAVE TO PROVE THEMSELVES. THIS MAY BE -- THIS IS BETTER FOR THE LAW SCHOOL IN THE LONG RUN IN THE SENSE IF THEY MAKE IT THROUGH THIS RIGOROUS PROGRAM AND START LAW SCHOOL -- I STARTED LAW SCHOOL COLD THE FIRST DAY. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO. THESE STUDENTS WILL. THEY'LL HAVE A LEG UP OVER ME AND PEOPLE LIKE ME SO I THINK THAT'LL MAKE THE LAW SCHOOL BETTER. AND THESE STUDENTS ARE GOING TO GRADUATE AND PASS THE BAR, WHICH AT THE END OF THE DAY, IS THE ULTIMATE PREDICTOR OF HOW GOOD YOUR LAW SCHOOL.

I WANTED TO AGREE WITH THAT. I'M VERY SORRY. BUT I AM IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THAT. IT'S LIKE A BOOT CAMP. YOU GO THERE, YOU PROVE YOURSELF, WE KEEP YOU. YOU DIDN'T PROVE YOURSELF, COME ANOTHER TIME.

I HAVE TO SAY, AS A FORMER LAW STUDENT MYSELF, THAT I CAN CERTAINLY SEE THE BENEFIT OF A PROGRAM THAT GETS YOU READY. I THINK THE QUESTION -- AND I'VE GOTTEN ARTICLES THAT DAN GREENBERG WROTE ABOUT LEAP AND HE SAID IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I THINK THE GOAL AND CONCEPT SOUNDS GREAT. THE QUESTION IS, IS IT CONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE MR. GREENBERG ALLEGES THAT ONE OF THE KEY DETERMINANTS TO ADMISSION INTO THE LEAP PROGRAM IS RACE. AND ONE OF THE THINGS I LEARNED AT YOUR LAW SCHOOL IS THAT THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES WHAT'S CALLED A STRICT SCRUTINY ANAL SAY FOR ANY RACE BASED DETERMINATION AND THAT MEANS THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO HAVE NO OTHER WAY TO ACHIEVE ITS GOAL OTHER THAN TO BRING RACE INTO IT. SO IS MR. GREENBERG CORRECT? IS LEAP UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

AT THE TIME MR. GREENBERG WROTE THAT, HE WAS LOOKING AT A DRAFT PROPOSAL AND ONE OF THE DANGERS -- SEE, ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT HAVING A BLOG IS YOU NEED TO FILL IT. SO HE WAS MEANING TO FILL IT WITH SOMETHING SO HE WROTE ABOUT A PROGRAM THAT THE FACULTY HADN'T EVEN DISCUSSED. WHEN WE DISCUSSED IT WE DECIDED THE BETTER /KOURGS OF ACTION WOULD BE A RACE NEUTRAL PROGRAM. EVEN THOUGH WE THINK THE HISTORY IN ARKANSAS, WE COULD HAVE SURVIVED CONSTITUTIONAL SCRUTINY IF WE HAD HAD A RACE BASED PROGRAM, WE DECIDED THAT FIRST WE HAVE TO TRY A LESS IMPOSING MEAN, A LESS RESTRICTIVE MEANS, TO USE THE CONSTITUTIONAL TERM. WE HAVE DECIDED TO DO A COMPLETELY RACE NEUTRAL PROGRAM. AND THE BASIC IDEA OF A RACE NEUTRAL PROGRAM IS WE ASK EVERY LEAP APPLICANT TO SHOW THAT HE OR SHE HAS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, OVERCOME A CHALLENGE IN LIFE. I CAN IMAGINE, YOU KNOW, MR. GREENBERG'S ALSO AN /AEU ALUMNI OF THE SCHOOL, BUT IF HE HAD APPLIED AND SAID GROWING UP AS THE SON OF A NEWSPAPER EDITOR WAS REALLY TRAUMATIC AND AFFECTED HIS ABILITY TO DO WELL IN SCHOOL, WE WOULD HAVE CONSIDERED THAT, BUT THE BASIC IDEA IS TO LET STUDENTS SHOW US HOW THEIR LIFE EXPERIENCES JUSTIFY US NOT TAKING THEIR NUMBERS AS SERIOUSLY AS WE WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE TAKEN.

JUST TO ADD, HOW ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE DELTA AND HOW THAT  MAY HAVE AFFECTED YOU. YOU COME TO LAW SCHOOL, GO TO THIS PROGRAM, GRADUATE AND GO BACK TO THE DELTA AND FILL IN SOME OF THOSE GAPS AS THE UNDERREPRESENTED LAWYERS AREN'T OVER THERE.

YES. ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS APPLICANTS WILL BE DEMONSTRATING IS THEIR COMMUNITY SERVICE HISTORY. ARE THEY PEOPLE WHO HAVE GONE OUT THERE AND SERVED THEIR COMMUNITIES, SO IF WE'RE TAKING A GAMBLE ON THEM, IT'S A GAMBLE ON SOMEBODY THAT IS A GOOD BET TO SERVE THEIR COMMUNITIES LATER.

MY ROLE IS TO PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE AND I LIKE TO BE FAIR TO FOLKS THAT AREN'T HERE. IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT THE ASSERTIONS MR. GREENBERG MADE, WITHOUT HIS CRITICISM, THE FINAL VERSION WOULD HAVE LACKED -- IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

I'M NOT SURE THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF COLLEGE FACULTIES THAT WOULD LET THEMSELVES BE INFLUENCED BY A BLOGGER IN MAKING THEIR DECISIONS. THEY'RE PRETTY INDEPENDENT MINDED FOLKS .

I GIVE YOU THAT.

I'D BE WILLING TO BET ALL THE MONEY I HAVE THAT IT WASN'T MR. GREENBERG'S ARTICLE THAT GENERATED THE CHANGE. IT HAD TO DO WITH THE NORMAL FACULTY DELIBERATION PROCESS. THE PERSON WHO LED THE INITIAL, LET'S RETHINK THIS DISCUSSION, WAS A FORMER DEAN OF THE LAW SCHOOL WHO'S A CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR. HE SAID I LOOKED AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CASES AND I'M THINKING WE SHOULD GO THE MORE CONSERVATIVE ROUTE SO NOBODY CAN MAKE AN ARGUMENT THAT THIS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

I KNOW IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THIS IS A GREAT CONVERSATION. I THINK WHAT WE'VE COME OUT WITH IS THAT DIVERSITY IS STILL A MARE TORE YOU GOAL AND THERE ARE STILL CHALLENGES, BUT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH A COUPLE CONCEPTS THAT ARE MARKET DRIVEN IF IT'S PUBLIC SECTOR. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY. WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME. WITH THAT, WE SEAL  WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME. [MUSIC]

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