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NEWS

UNC to host groundbreaking conference on ‘Resegregation of Southern Schools’

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Civil Rights, a component of the School of Law, will bring together distinguished national experts in civil rights and education policy for a daylong conference Aug. 30.

"The Resegregation of Southern Schools? A Crucial Moment in the History (and the Future) of Public Schooling in America" is co-sponsored by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, the North Carolina Law Review and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

More than 200 individuals, including scholars, civil rights advocates, policy-makers, lawyers and school administrators, are expected to attend the conference. A separate roundtable for education reporters, editors and columnists throughout the nation on new research presented at the conference will be held in conjunction with the event on Aug. 29. Roundtable co-sponsors are the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life and the Office of Distance Education and Executive Education in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

"This is exactly the sort of applied academic work that I have hoped the Center for Civil Rights would be able to undertake," said Gene Nichol, law school dean. "We will examine a crushing legal and social problem, to both North Carolina and the nation, from a variety of disciplines -- to suggest reform. I think it will be the most compelling conference we've ever held here -- a treat for our students and the community. The Center for Civil Rights is off to a great start."

Conference topics will include:

· Demographic and legal trends that suggest resegregation is occurring.

· North Carolina as bellwether for other Southern states.

· Whether racial or class segregation adversely affects academic achievement or school quality.

· The likely effect of the accountability movement on minority children.

· The role courts should play in influencing educational policy.

· Whether "private choice" poses a threat to public education.

· Strategies that offer the best hope for equal educational opportunities in Southern schools.

The newly created UNC Center for Civil Rights is committed to the study of civil rights and social justice, especially in the American South, and is directed by Julius L. Chambers, who graduated from the UNC School of Law, co-founded the nation’s most successful private civil rights law firm and then led the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc. as director-counsel before serving as chancellor of North Carolina Central University. Professor John Charles Boger, who led the Capital Punishment Project and the Poverty & Justice Projects at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund before joining the UNC School of Law in 1990, serves as the center’s deputy director.

Boger said that all affiliated with the center were proud that its work would begin with such an important subject and by the gathering of the nation’s leading authorities to discuss a subject crucial to the future of the nation.

"We expect that from this conference, we can identify strategies that may further the racial diversity in our public schools, which will prove indispensable in the 21st century," he said.

For more information on the center and the upcoming conference, click on www.law.unc.edu/centers/civilrights.

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