AUDIO: Higher Ed Coalition: Include Civil Rights in Higher Education Policy

Education News 08.30,19


Kristen Voorhees, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, [email protected], 202.548.7166
Quyen Dinh, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, [email protected], 202.601.2967
Phoebe Plagens, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., [email protected], 212.965.2200
Gabriela Gomez, UnidosUS, [email protected], 202.776.1732
Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton, NIEA, [email protected], 202.847.0037

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund hosted an ethnic media briefing today to discuss our recently released policy recommendations for incorporating the Higher Education Civil Rights Coalition’s 10 civil rights principles into higher education legislation. Members of The Education Fund’s Higher Ed Civil Rights Coalition emphasized the importance of engaging and educating stakeholders and policymakers to ensure meaningful equal opportunity and success for all students.

“Our future success – and the success of all people in our nation – depends on educating and engaging everyone,” said Liz King, education program director of The Leadership Conference Education Fund. “And yet, our nation’s higher education policy has created barriers that limit opportunity and hinder success for marginalized people – and we’re all paying the price.”

“As students from low-income, refugee communities, Southeast Asian American (SEAA) youth often struggle to bridge the gap between aspiring to attend college and achieving this goal,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. “The Higher Education Act must look beyond the myth of the model minority and ensure that SEAA students and all students can thrive.”

“Public dollars should be used to support institutions and federal programs that expand true access to a quality education for underrepresented students, and Congress should prohibit the flow of federal funds to schools that target marginalized students for high-cost, low-quality programs,” said Nicole Dooley, senior policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. “Through these efforts, Congress can help these students thrive.”

“Native students represent one of the most diverse, unique, and vibrant communities in the United States,” said Adrianne Elliott, legislative analyst of the National Indian Education Association. “They are citizens of sovereign nations, speakers of indigenous languages, and future leaders in their tribes. High-quality academic and cultural education requires a comprehensive approach to improving access to postsecondary opportunity, as outlined in the Civil Rights Principles for Higher Education.”

“Addressing the myriad barriers that Latinx students face in higher education like access, affordability, completion, and student debt is essential to upholding the promise of higher education as a path to the American dream,” said Stephanie Roman, senior policy analyst at UnidosUS. “We cannot lose sight of maintaining and strengthening the civil rights principles of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and ensuring that equity for Latinx and students of color remains at the center of higher education policy.”

The full audio recording of the call can be found here.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit


SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity. Find out more at 


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.


NIEA is the Nation’s most inclusive advocacy organization advancing comprehensive culture-based educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Formed by Native educators in 1969 to encourage a national discourse on education, NIEA adheres to the organization’s founding principles- to convene educators to explore ways to improve schools and the educational systems serving Native children; to promote the maintenance and continued development of language and cultural programs; and to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and decision makers. For more information visit


UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.