Thinking Outside of Race: Are We Ready?


Media contact: Sonia von Gutfeld 212-854-1453 [email protected]
Public Affairs Office 212-854-2650 [email protected]
New York, March 30, 2009 — The same day that Americans elected the first African-American president, Nebraska became the fourth state to pass an initiative to ban public-sector affirmative action, while Colorado voters rejected a similar measure. Columbia Black Law Students Association will host a day-long conference to examine ballot initiatives to end affirmative action, what the election of President Obama means for race relations, and how lawyers can diversify higher education and employment.
WHAT: 15th Annual Paul Robeson Conference
Thinking Outside of Race:  Are We Ready?
A critical look at achieving diversity when considering race is legally barred and socially marred.
WHEN: Friday, April 3, 2009
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Breakfast, 9:30 – 10 a.m.
  • Panel 1, State Ballot Initiatives: Voting for Color Blindness, 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Panel 2, Is Race a Moot Issue in the Era of Obama?, 11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
  • Lunch and keynote speech, 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.
  • Panel 3, Innovative Lawyering: How Practitioners are Achieving Diversity in Higher Education and Employment, 2 – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116 Street, Room 103, between Amsterdam Ave. and Morningside Drive, New York City. Via subway: #1 train to 116 Street (Broadway)/Columbia University.
WHO: John Payton, Director Counsel of the NAACP LDF, will keynote.
Confirmed panelists include Sheila O’Rourke, Assistant Provost, Academic Affairs,
Office for Faculty Equity, University of California Berkeley; Columbia Law School Professor Ted Shaw; Senator Danielle Nantkes of Nebraska; Professor Deirdre Bowen, Seattle University School of Law; Columbia Law School Professor Kendall Thomas; David Troutt, Professor, Rutgers School of Law-Newark; Jonathan Algers, Vice President and General Counsel, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Sheila Boston, Partner, Kaye Scholer LLP; and Sara Reid, Partner, Kelley Drye LLP.
Media interested in attending the event should contact Sonia von Gutfeld in advance at 212-854-1453 or [email protected].

Columbia Law School’s annual Paul Robeson Conference honors alumnus Paul Robeson, Class of 1923, for his courageous stance against oppression and inequality. Now in its 15th year, the conference is hosted by the Black Law Students Association.

Columbia Black Law Students Association is a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association, the largest student-run organization in the United States. The organization’s mission is to facilitate the academic and professional development of African-American students at Columbia and to instill in them a greater commitment to the needs of the black community.

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, and environmental law.