February 21, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Two prominent scholars will speak on affirmative action as part of a national round table being held in Amherst from Sunday, March 3, through Tuesday, March 5. Both talks are open to the public at no charge.

Gary Orfield, director of the Harvard Project on School Desegregation and co-director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, will lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College.

Juliet Garcia, president of the University of Texas at Brownsville, will speak at 8:00 p.m. Monday, March 4, in the Cole Assembly Room.

A professor of education and social policy at Harvard, Orfield is especially interested in civil rights, education policy, urban policy and minority opportunity. He recently has written about standardized tests, changing patterns of school desegregation and the impact of diversity on the educational experiences of law students. In addition to his scholarly work, Orfield has served as a court-appointed expert in school desegregation cases and has testified in civil rights cases across the U.S. His books include Raising Standards or Raising Barriers?: Inequality and High-Stakes Testing in Public Education (2001) and Chilling Admissions: The Affirmative Action Crisis and Search for Alternatives (1998).

Juliet Garcia was named president of the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) in 1992, after serving for six years as president of Texas Southmost College (TSC), where she was recognized as the first Mexican-American woman in the nation to head an American university. When she was named president of UTB, Garcia was charged with developing a partnership between UTB and TSC, a community college, in order to consolidate resources, increase efficiency, eliminate transfer barriers and provide improved educational opportunities for the people of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The partnership was lauded by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as the first community university of its kind in the south. Today, the community university, known as UTB/TSC, offers a full range of occupational-technical, continuing education and community education programs with certificate and associate degrees traditional in community colleges. UTB/TSC also offers baccalaureate and masters degrees. Students move through the partnership without need to transfer.

Orfield’s and Garcia’s talks are part of the second National Round Table on Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action for Senior Administrative Practitioners in Small Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities. The theme of the round table this year is “Affirmative Action/Diversity/Inclusion: Devising a Relevant Paradigm.” The event is hosted by Amherst College and Five Colleges Inc.