Conferences and Events

Equal Protection’s Grand Promise and Betrayals: Reconstruction, Plessy to Bakke and Beyond: Is there a Way Forward?

February 18 and 19

Speakers include Theodore Shaw, Eric Foner, Eric Holder, Erwin Chemerinsky

Three months following the November 2020 elections and a last-minute appointment to the Supreme Court, the UNC Center for Civil Rights will meet to explore the origins, present status, and future promise of the Equal Protection Clause in these times. The symposium’s premise is that the Supreme Court may well have lost its jurisprudential way, with far-reaching and adverse consequences, especially for people of color, in areas including school desegregation, housing and employment law, access to governmental services, the criminal justice system, voting rights, and higher education. The symposium will give special attention to the 1978 Bakke opinions and the continuing battle over affirmative action policies in higher education. During this two-day journey on February 18-19, 2021, attendees will hear and learn from some of the nation’s foremost legal scholars, attorneys, and advocates, including keynote addresses from Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley, Professor Eric Foner of Columbia, former United States Attorney General Eric Holder, and Professor Ted Shaw of UNC School of Law.

The center also develops and hosts a variety of conferences and workshops each year. Among some of the topics the center’s events have covered include:

  • Affirmative action in higher education
  • Voting Rights Act after Shelby County v. Holder
  • Section 8 of Fair Housing Act
  • Ethics of Representing Community Groups
  • Desegregation Law
  • New Strategies for Civil Rights Advocacy
  • School Integration
  • Environmental Justice
  • Municipal Underbounding
  • Leandro and the Right to an Opportunity to a Sound Basic Education
  • Criminal Justice Debt