On November 29th, the Society hosted a campus event with Mr. Lawrence Purdy and Dr. William B. Allen titled "Diversity & the Liberal Arts." The conversation was guided by the following questions: What is "diversity"? How does it contribute to liberal arts education? How have we addressed the lack of diversity, and what are the legal ramifications? After each speaker presented opening remarks, the floor was opened for a Q&A session with the audience. Though sensitive topics such as race and affirmative action policies were discussed, high standards of civility and reasoned discourse were upheld. Professor of Political Science Darel Paul served as moderator.
Mr. Purdy is an of counsel attorney at the Maslon LLP law firm in Minneapolis. He served as pro bono trial counsel to the plaintiffs in Gratz v. Bollinger, et al. and Grutter v. Bollinger, et al., two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning race-conscious admissions practices at the University of Michigan. He has lectured about his experiences in the Michigan cases at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, the University of Minnesota Law School, the Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, and other colleges across the nation.
Dr. William B. Allen is currently Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought & Policy at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has been Professor of Political Philosophy and dean of James Madison College at Michigan State University, and has held visiting professorships at Villanova and Princeton Universities. He was a member of the National Council on the Humanities from 1984-87, and chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-89. As an undergraduate student, Dr. Allen was a frequently attended events hosted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and is currently a member of their Speakers Bureau.
This event was part of the yearlong series on "Race and Democracy" hosted by the W. Ford Schumann '50 Program in Democratic Studies, and sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa, the Class of 1971 Public Affairs Forum, the Department of Political Science, Leadership Studies, and the Williams Forum. Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, eight students were able to dine with Mr. Purdy and Dr. Allen prior to the evening's event.
Embedded below is a video recording of the event and a copy of the promotional flyer: